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Joseph Benoit Death Inquiry

Excerpt from:

The Western Star

June 16, 1915

The death of young Benoit

An official enquiry into the circumstances associated with the death of Joseph Benoit, of Cape St. George, seaman of the Nfld. Royal Naval Reserve, who had been serving on the steam-drifter Loyal Star, at the time of the accident already referred to in the WESTERN STAR, was held at the Royal Hotel, Ramsgate,the day following the accident.

Seven withnesses were examined, including John Benoit, a cousin of the deceased, who was serving on the same ship and was with Joseph Benoit at the time of the accident. Sub -Lieutenant Lewin, who was in charge of the boat, explained that in order to save a ship from striking a mine, rifles would be fired. He said that their boat carried three such rifles, and added that any seaman might be expected to handle them, He understood that John Benoit was cleaning a rifle when the accident occurred.

Capt. Grace and William Horne, the mate of he Loyal Star, were next examined. The latter had noticed that the boys had been great friends. He had also noticed how the death of Joseph Benoit had affected his companion. He was greatly excited and told the commander that he had the rifle on his knees when it became discharged accidentally. The other witnesses gave similar evidence. John Benoit stated that he was an ordinary seaman of the Loyal Star. He and the deceased had been boys together at Cape St. George, Newfoundland, and were both 18 years of age. They enlisted together, and were always great friends. At the time of the accident he was on watch, and the deceased was with him for company. He was sitting with the rifle on his knee, and the deceased was standing at his left. He did not think it was loaded, and did not know what made it go off, The boat was rolling and he had to move to keep his balance. He did not think his clothing touched the trigger.

The Coroner regretted that this young life given to the service of his country should be lost in such a manner. After a brief deliberation the jury returned a Verdict of " Misadventure."


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