Ralph Waldo Emerson

A mysterious death in 1941

By Mark Emerson


I’m researching my family history and have come across my second cousin twice removed, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who died from an accidental gun wound in 1941 and was at Hothfield Westwell Hospital. I know the military were there but I can find no record of him in the army and don’t know why a Londoner would be in Hothfield messing around with a gun.

Ralph was a wireless engineer and radio dealer.  As he was born in 1914 he was a few days short of his 27th birthday when he died.  Curiously he had not been conscripted into the army during WWII, so was his profession protected?  Records show that: "Cause of Death - Tetanus resulting from gunshot wound in left armpit and severe haemorrhage. Injury sustained on 23rd July 1941 in a wood at Hothfield when the gun he was carrying was discharged due to him stumbling. Inquest held on 6th August 1941."  He lived at St.John's Terrace NW8 London.  Did he come to the Army camp to repair radios, or supply the army with new ones?  Was he training soldiers to fix their own radios when in the battle field?  or who did he know in Hothfield?

Any local historians able to shed some light on this clumsy chap please?  It looks like he was hunting in the woods and accidentally shot himself.

Thank you,

Mark Emerson, Harrietsham

This page was added by Mark Emerson on 06/07/2018.

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