Diamond War Memorial Project

Private John James Canning

6th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment Regimental Number 2301
Born: ---- Died: 1914-12-31 Aged: 36 Enlisted: Derry

Interred in Derry City Cemetery.

Son of Samuel and Annie Canning. Husband of Catherine Hesson (formerly Canning), 49, Walkers Place, Derry.

On the evening of Friday, January 1, 1915, Mr Coroner Atkinson held an inquest on the body of Private John James Canning, who died suddenly at Portadown Railway Station on the previous night. Mr H. J. Harris, solicitor, appeared for the Great Northern Railway Company.

Daniel Canning, Derry, stated that the deceased was his brother, and that he last saw him alive about three weeks before his death. He had been married about two years previously, and was a soldier in the Royal Irish Regiment. He was thirty-six years of age, and had always had good health.

Evidence having been given by John Niceen, of the Royal Irish Regiment, who, with other soldiers, accompanied the deceased on the railway journey from Fermoy, and by William Topley, ticket collector on the railway, Dr Dougan, J.P., deposed that between five and six o'clock on the previous evening he proceeded to the railway station in answer to an urgent message, and found the deceased lying on his back in the gentlemen's waiting room on the down platform. He was then dead, and blood was oozing from his nose. There were no external marks to account for death, and unless he made a post-mortem examination it would be utterly impossible for him to say what the cause of death was.

The jury directed a post-mortem examination to be made, and the coroner adjourned the inquest.

On the court resuming, Dr Dougan stated that, in conjunction with his son, he had made a post-mortem examination of the deceased. He found the skull free from injury and the brain quite healthy. There were extensive adhesions between the pleura and both lungs, evidently of old standing and apparently the result of some former attack of pleurisy. Both lungs were congested. He found the stomach much enlarged and acutely congested. The stomach was filled with almost a pint of what smelt strongly like fresh spirits. He believed the cause of death was alcoholic poisoning.

Dr George Dougan, junior, gave corroborative evidence.

The Coroner, in the course of his address to the jury, said it was a melancholy thing to think that a certain class of people thought they were doing soldiers a kindness by giving them drink. It would be a great blessing indeed if these people could realise that drink was a great curse, and that at such a time as this it ought not to be given to soldiers.

The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased died from alcoholic poisoning.