The Itchen Stoke Shooting Tragedy, Part 1

George Raymond WALDEN

From the Hampshire Chronicle dated 27th August 1940

Forcing their way into Borough Farm, Itchen Stoke, early on Tuesday morning – after an 18 hours siege and gun battle – police officers found the man who had successfully held them at bay lying helpless with a serious gunshot wound in the head.

The farmer, 65 years’ old George Raymond Walden, died in the Royal Hampshire County Hospital at Winchester during the evening, after lying gravely ill throughout the day.

Nearly all his life Walden, a bachelor, had lived on the farm, which his father worked before him. He kept much to himself, and within the last half-century had scarcely left the neighbourhood. He had been ordered to plough up land by the Hampshire War Agricultural Committee, under the Defence of the Realm Regulations, and failing to do so had been served with an eviction order.

At 11.30 on Monday morning, Police Constable R F Draper, Police Constable Cripps, and officials went to the farm, to put this into effect. Walden, armed, barricaded the doors, and Police Constable Draper was shot in the left leg, right knee, and left arm with a charge of pellets.

The siege began. Throughout the night the police kept watch on the farm house, and it was it was not until the early morning that they managed to force an entry.

Walden was called on to surrender, but failed to do so and was found at the foot of the stairs with a gunshot wound in his head. Police Constable Draper, in the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, is reported to be in a comfortable condition.

Inspector Hatcher, Police Sergeant Longman, Police Sergeant Warren and Police Constable Cripps were all hit with pellets, but fortunately none were seriously wounded.

The inquest was opened by Mr Theo E Brown, MBE, the Winchester City Coroner, at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, on Thursday afternoon. The Head Constable of Winchester (Mr W G Stratton) was present. Mr D S M Scott appeared for the Ministry of Agriculture and for the Hampshire War Agricultural Committee, and Mr R S L Bowker represented the relatives.

Inspector George Hatcher, of the Basingstoke Division watched the proceedings for the police. Only evidence of identification was taken; this was given by Walden’s sister, Mrs Barbara June Rosskilly, a widow, Avenue House, Alresford. She had been keeping house for her brother for the last ten years, and last saw him alive on Monday morning at about 11 o’clock.

His state of health then was quite good, and had in fact been so for some time past. He only had a few headaches now and again. He was not an excitable person, to the contrary, he was very placid. Sometimes when things upset him he was a little nervous.

The inquest was then adjourned until Tuesday next at the Guildhall, Winchester, at 2.30 pm.

Read in Part 2 the Inquest report & verdict.