Saturday, 26 March 2011

Unknown burial - Sompting Sussex

“The mystery surrounding some human bones, which were found in a gravel pit at Sompting on Friday, was not cleared up yesterday, when the West Sussex Coroner (Mr. F. W. Butler) held an inquest upon them at Worthing Fire Station.

Evidence was given by Police-constable Abbott, that the bones were found by a man named Dunk about two feet under the ground. The police had made extensive inquiries in the district, but could not form any conclusion as to how the bones came to be there. A German prisoners internment camp was in a meadow adjoining the pit in 1917 and 1918, but Police records showed no prisoners as having escaped from this camp, and two who escaped from a similar camp near by were recaptured. They could not ascertain that any prisoner had died and been buried there, and no person had been missing and unaccounted for in the neighbourhood for the last 40 years, one man who disappeared having been found a week later. There was no information available as to how the remains came to be buried.

Dr. W. O. Pitt, who examined the bones, said they were the remains of two human beings, probably a man and a woman. Their state showed that they could not have been buried for more than ten years, because had they been ancient bones they would have been well preserved or would have crumbled on being handled; actually, they only partly crumbled. One of the jawbones had been fractured, and he believed it to be an old injury, which might have been caused by a blow.

Dr. Pitt added that it would be interesting to have the view of an expert like Sir Arthur Keith.

The Coroner said there was nothing to show the cause of death, or how the bones came to be buried, and made an order for burial. This, it was stated, would probably take place in Sompting Churchyard.”

(Worthing Gazette, 5th March 1930)