Western Daily Press 21 Jul 1920 Taunton Circus Fire includes Metford James CADDY and Aaron FOURACRE

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Western Daily Press Wednesday 21 Jul 1920

Page 5 Column 5




In the presence of a large gathering of mourners and sympathisers, the funeral took place yesterday afternoon of two of the victims of the Taunton circus fire disaster, namely, Miss Jane VICKERY (39) of 32, Silver Street, Taunton, and Arthur GRAY, aged 11 years, son of Henry GRAY, of Bishop's Hull.

Impressive scenes were witnesses at St. Mary's Cemetery, where the bodies were laid to rest, also at Bishop's Hull parish church, where the first part of the funeral service for Arthur GRAY was held, the deceased lad having been a member of the choir. The people of Bishop's Hull, a village adjoining the borough, attended in large numbers, whilst the children of the Council School, where he had been a scholar, lined up in the road to salute the cortège.


Bishop's Hull residents have shown their sympathy in a most practical manner by starting a public subscription in the parish for the bereaved family, who are in poor circumstances, the father being an invalid. Already nearly £30 has been subscribed, and five guineas of this money was handed in by Mr W. J. BLATCHFORD, head-master of the Council School, as a contribution from scholars and parents. The school decided to spend no money on wreaths, but the children brought flowers from their own gardens, and three beautiful wreaths were made by the head-master's daughters. As a contribution to the parish fund, Mr JENKS, of Bishop's Hull House, a new resident, generously arranged to pay the whole of the funeral expenses.

The service at Bishop's Hull Church and at the cemetery was conducted by the vicar, the Rev. George RABAN, who was a witness of the circus fire and escaped by crawling under the seats and beneath the canvas just in the nick of time. One of the bearers, Mr Maurice BRUFORD, was the young man who brought out Arthur GRAY from the blazing tent and drove him to the hospital.

Mr RABAN, interview yesterday, said Maurice BRUFORD acted with great courage in helping to rescue children. The vicar also expressed the opinion that Arthur GRAY pobably <sic> fell in the rush for the exit, because other boys from Bishop's Hull escaped without any injury.


The Rev. W. H. ALLEN, curate of St. Mary's, conducted the burial service for Miss VICKERY, and in a few words of sympathy to the bereaved family he paid a tribute to her courage and piety at the hour of death. He was present with her and administered the last Sacrament, which she received with great devotion.

The Mayor of Taunton was represented at each funeral by Councillor W. M. TURNER, Deputy Mayor. There were many floral tributes.


Regimental Sergt.-Major Metford James CADDY, who although severely burnt about the head, hands and legs, is making good progress at Taunton Hospital has been serving for the past seven years in the Ceylon Engineers, and came home early in June on six months' furlough. He has been visited by many who have read of his heroic rescue of children from the fire, among those who have called to see him being Lieut.-Colonel BOLES, M.P., for the Taunton division. Sergt-Major CADDY holds the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (Military Division), which was awarded him last year in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war.

Interviewed yesterday, Sergt. Major CADDY was reluctant to talk about the fire and the brave part he played in saving life. Fortunately he is not burnt at all about the face, but rather severely at the back of the head, whilst his hands and legs are badly injured. It is assumed that he shielded his face in bending down and picking up his own little girl with his teeth, when carrying out two other children, one under each arm. He states that he cannot imagine how his own little girl got burnt, because immediately the fire started he carried her and his little boy (aged eight) out of the tent. He then went back to fetch other children and it was in carrying them out that he got burnt. Mrs CADDY's opinion is that the child Betty, who is only three years of age, ran back after her father, knowing no fear, and that the father picked her up when rushing out the second time. Unhappily the little one is rather badly injured.


All the cases in hospital are reported as making favourable progress, excepting Edward CRABB, aged 78, whose condition remains very critical.

One of the minor cases of injury treated at home is that of Mr Aaron FOURACRE, a well-known local resident, formerly a hotel propriety, living at Elmcroft, Staplegrove Road. Mr FOURACRE was at the circus, and being over three score years and ten had a hard struggle to get out. Just at the entrance he nearly fell down, and saved himself by grasping one of the poles, which was burning. His right hand was painfully hurst, but not severely burnt, was painfully hurt, but not severely burnt. ing holes in his overcoat <sic>. He also suffered much from shock, but has since made a good recovery.

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