Allan James FULLER
Late of Tamworth
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # ????
Stations: ?, Warialda, Tamworth – death
Service: From ? ? 1945 to 2 July 1950 = 5 years Service
Awards: No find on It’s An Honour
Born: ? ? 1923?
Died on: Sunday 2 July 1950
Cause: Motor Vehicle Accident – Motor Cycle Rider – Off Duty – At fault
Event location: New England Hwy near the intersection of Gurnsey St, Scone, NSW
Event date: Sunday 2 July 1950
Funeral date: Tuesday 4 July 1950
Funeral location: Bede’s Church of England, Scone, NSW @ 3.30pm
Buried at: Church of England portion, Werris Creek Cemetery, Werris Creek Rd
Memorial located at: ?
Funeral location: TBA
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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954), Monday 3 July 1950, page 1
Eight Killed In Road Accidents Eight people were killed i road accidents in New South Wales and Victoria at the weekend.
Constable Allan James Fuller, 27, of Tamworth, was fatally injured yesterday when his motor-cycle and a lorry collided on the New England Highway, Scone. Fuller, a married man with one child ( daughter ), was on week-end leave and was riding his own machine.
He joined the Police Force in 1945.
Scone Advocate (NSW : 1887 – 1954), Tuesday 11 July 1950, page 2
FUNERAL OF POLICE CONSTABLE
There was a large attendance at the police funeral at Werris Creek on Tuesday of Constable Allan James Fuller, who was killed when his motor cycle collided head on with a motor truck near Scone on Sunday week.
The service. held at St. Bede’s Church of England, was conducted by the Rev. W. J. Pritchard.
The coffin was draped with the Australian flag, on which deceased’s cap had been placed.
After the service at the church, a squad of police led by three police cyclists, marched ahead of the hearse through the main business section of the town.
From there the marchers went by car, and with the cyclists still in the lead the cortege moved on to the Church of England portion of the Werris Creek Cemetery.
At the graveside the Werris Creek Band played the hymn, ‘Abide With Me.’
There was a large attendance of police officers from all parts of the North and North-West.
They included the Inspector-in-Charge of Tamworth sub-district ( Mr. G. Smith ), who deputised for the Superintendent of the Northern Police Administrative District ( Mr. C. J. Delaney ), Sergeant E. Lambert and Constable W. Matheson ( Quirindi ), Constable W. Brett ( Willow Tree ), Constable R. Gibson ( Murrurundi ) , and Sergeant H. Jerome and Constable B. .Shannon and Constable R. Paff ( Werris Creek ). Tamworth District Ambulance Service was represented .by Messrs H. J. Rowland and H. W. Kearns.
Werris Creek sporting bodies and business houses were represented.
The police cyclists were Constables Lawler, Aldred and Elliott. Pall-bearers were Constables Nicholson, Ralph, Holmes and Watkins.
— ‘Quirindi Advocate.’
Scone Advocate (NSW : 1887 – 1954), Friday 21 July 1950, page 1
POLICEMAN’S DEATH IN MOTOR COLLISION
Coroner Holds Inquest at Scone
The District Coroner, Mr. N. Hunt, held an inquiry into the death of Allan James Fuller (27), of Tamworth Police, who was killed almost instantly on 2nd July last, when his motor cycle crashed into a truck being driven by Athol Hope, carrier, of 9 Barber-street, Gunnedah.
Evidence revealed that the deceased’s cycle had struck a bump in the highway near the intersection of Gurnsey-street, causing the cycle to veer over on to the other side of the road.
Sergeant T. Newell, of Muswellbrook Police, assisted the Coroner at the inquiry, while Mr. R. S. Watson represented Mr. Hope and the Government Insurance Office. Mr. A. A. McLellan, solicitor, of Scone, appeared to watch the interests of the Scone Municipal Council. The widow of the deceased and members of his family were also present in Court throughout the proceedings.
Constable William Charles Black told the Coroner he went to the scene of an accident on the New England Highway near the intersection of Guernsey-street on the afternoon of 2nd July, at about 2.45 p.m. Saw a Harley Davidson motor-cycle lying on its side on the bitumen, five feet in and about 14ft. 8ins. from the kerb. At the rear and near side of the motor cycle was a pool of blood. The deceased had been removed prior to witness’s arrival. Also saw a motor lorry, heavily loaded with beer, drawn over to the side of the highway. The driver gave his name as Athol Hope, of Gunnedah.
Noticed some marks on the right mudguard and right hand side of the bumper bar, as well as other marks on the body of the lorry and driver’s cabin.
Constable Black said he inspected the road and found several depressions right at the bend of the road and on the north-eastern side, extending on to the edge of the bitumen. There were also marks resembling skids on the northern side from the blood.
Later, in company with the deceased’s brother and the Coroner, visited the Scott Memorial Hospital, where deceased was identified.
Answering Sergt. Newell, Constable Black stated the marks on the motor lorry could have been caused by the vehicle coming into collision with the cycle on the roadway.
Sergt. Newell: What was the condition of the roadway? — At the point of impact the road surface was level, but for a distance of 8 or 10 feet from this point the road north of the impact and extending further north to the curve on the north-eastern side, that is right on the inside of the bend, the road surface is very uneven.
Witness marked several identification spots on photographs of the scene of the accident, and these were later tendered as exhibits.
Answering Mr. Watson, Constable Black stated the cycle was the private property of the deceased. The point of impact would be on Hope’s side of the road. It is possible that the deceased did not know there was a curve in the road ? — Yes, it is possible he did not know, much about the locality. I don’t know, and I had never met him. He was stationed at Tamworth. As an experienced traffic constable, is there anything that makes this roadway abnormal or dangerous? — Only that it is very deceptive upon approach from the north. It is actually a worse bend than it appears from 100 or 200 yards away. Do the depressions you referred to add to the danger of the curve? — Yes, considerably with a motor cycle, but I don’t know about a four-wheeled vehicle. Is there any warning of this curve approaching it from the North? – No. Do you consider it a curve which should have the normal traffic warning ? — It would be a benefit to have such a warning.
Constable Black, through Mr. Watson‘s examination, stated there was a 30-miles-per-hour sign about 40 yards away from the scene of the accident. Most motorists slowed down after passing such a warning, and witness was of the opinion the sign would be placed to better advantage if moved further north in order to give motorists time to slow down before reaching the curve in the highway. Answering Mr. McLellan, Constable Black stated it was a fact that a good deal of traffic went straight down Guernsey-street from the main road, due to the closing of traffic from the highway at certain times by the railway crossing gates. Replying to Sergeant Newell, witness stated the brakes on the truck involved in the collision had been tested and found to be in perfect condition. They conformed with the standards required.
George Fuller, of Werris Creek, brother of the deceased, stated he had identified the body of the deceased on July 3 last. Had not seen the deceased for a fortnight prior to the accident, but at that time his late brother had been in good health and spirits. The deceased had been in the Police Force for five years, was 27 years of age, and at the time of the accident was going to visit his wife’s mother at Branxton. Could not say whether he had passed through Scone before, or whether his life was insured. Could not say whether the deceased had known the roadway through previously travelling over it.
LORRY DRIVER’S STORY
Athol Hope, carrier, residing at 9 Barber-street, Gunnedah, told the Coroner that at about 2 p.m. on July 2 he was travelling in his lorry with a load of beer on board. Passing through Scone, he had travelled from Swansea that day. Went over the railway crossing and was proceeding to go around a curve in the highway when he heard and saw a motor cycle coming. ” It was roughly a hundred yards away when I first saw it, before I approached the turn. I was travelling slowly — about 10 miles an hour— and the cycle was coming towards the curve. ”
Sergt. Newell: Did you form any opinion as to the position of yours and the other vehicle as to approached the curve? — When I was approaching the carve, I saw the cycle would have difficulty in getting around the curve. As the cycle came on to the curve it hit a rut in the road and the front wheel went up in the air. I saw it happen distinctly and it then came straight towards my truck. The way I saw it, the front wheel seemed to jump straight towards me. The bike hit the front portion of my truck. Would say the rider had no control over the machine. I stopped my truck after the impact.
Sergt. Newell: Did the rider of the cycle try to do anything to avoid the collision? — No. There was no way of getting the cycle under control. When he hit the rut he came straight towards me. It all happened so suddenly I had no time to do anything. I walked back to where the deceased was lying, but he did not speak.
Answering Mr. McLellan, witness said it would be hard to estimate how far away the cycle was when witness first saw it. It would be hard to estimate the cycle’s speed, but thought it would be travelling at about 50 miles an hour.
Replying to Mr. Watson, witness said he agreed with Constable Black that the deceased was travelling on the wrong side of the road at the point of impact. Witness’s vehicle was on its correct side, with the off-wheels off the bitumen. Thought there should be a ‘Curve’ sign to the north of the bend in the road.
John Arthur Smith, engraver and photographer, residing at 100 Main-street, Scone, gave evidence of having taken certain photographs of the road at the scene of the accident. These photographs were then tendered and marked as exhibits one to four.
Dr. A. B. Cuthbert, fully qualified medical practitioner and resident of Scone, gave evidence of having made an examination of deceased at the Scott Memorial Scone Hospital on the afternoon of July 2. The deceased had died a short time before and found extensive lacerations of the right hand side of the jaw bone and down under the neck and to the sternum. The lacerations involved injury to the main vessels of the neck, the bleeding from which was the cause of death. Death had not been instantaneous, but within a few minutes of receiving the injuries. It was quite probable the deceased had been unconscious from the time of receiving the injuries.
Mr. McLellan and Mr. Watson addressed the bench at length as to their views on how the accident occurred.
Mr. McLellan stated there was evidence which pointed to the fact the deceased was travelling at a speed in excess of the safe speed he might have travelled at, taking into account the condition of the roads. It was a fact that roads were not in the first-class order they were in some years ago. The deceased, travelling at an excess speed, plus the fact of his cycle striking a rut at this speed, was sufficient to cause the accident.
Mr. Watson was also of the opinion that the deceased was travelling at an excess speed — probably that of 50 miles an hour. Had the road been in good order, that speed, when slowed down to the 30-miles-an-hour limit past the speed sign, would have been quite all right, but for the fact of hitting a rut caused the cycle to deviate off the correct side. The other fact pointed out by Mr. Watson was the driver of the lorry was on his correct side and travelling at a slow speed. His client, Mr. Hope, was in no way to blame for the occurrence.
CORONER’S REMARKS AND FINDING
From the Bench, the Coroner stated that he accepted the evidence of Mr. Hope, the only witness to the tragic happening, as being a truthful version of the accident. ” His evidence, with that of Constable Black, and the very helpful photographs, for which the Court is indebted to Mr. Smith, complete with inspections of the location of the accident, appears to me to make it clear that the front wheel of the motor cycle, driven by the deceased, struck an uneven patch on the roadway, obviously the result of necessary repair work thereon. This apparently caused the cycle to come into contact with the lorry driven by Mr. Hope.
I am satisfied that this lorry was being driven in a lawful manner on the correct side of the road, in accordance with the traffic laws, and at a most reasonable speed, having regard to the locus. There can be no blame attached to the driver of the lorry.
‘It is always difficult to speculate on the speed of a moving vehicle, particularly one which is moving towards you, but the balance of probabilities lead me to infer that the deceased was travelling at a speed somewhat greater than the 30 miles an hour, having regard to the results.
In considering the speed, one must have in mind the fact that the evidence discloses that the deceased was an experienced and efficient driver of motor cycles, both in his private capacity and as a police officer. I lean to the hypothesis submitted by Mr. Watson that the deceased was travelling at a speed which would ordinarily be perfectly safe under normal circumstances, but which by reason of the deceptive nature of the turn and the condition of the roadway, formed a combination of factors which occasioned the accident. ” It is the considered opinion of this Court that a recommendation should be conveyed to the appropriate authorities that all possible expedition be given to the eradication of the uneven patches on the roadway surface in the immediate vicinity of the intersection. I may say that I am mindful of the difficulties which present-day conditions place on such a proposition. I would further recommend that consideration be given by the appropriate authority to the removal of the existing 30 miles an hour sign to a position some distance further on the northern side of the curve ; that the yellow line be repainted and that if found possible, a ” Curve ” sign be placed adjacent to the turning. While the existing warnings are adequate for normal circumstances, I feel that if this were done, it would make an efficient contribution to the road safety which every member of the public desires, ” concluded the Coroner.
The Coroner then read his finding, that the deceased had met his death as a result of haemorrhage, due to injuries he accidentally received when the cycle he was riding collided with a motor lorry.
Mr. Hunt extended his thanks to the Police, counsel, and also the sympathy of the Court to the relatives of the deceased, as also did Sergeant Newell, Mr. McLellan and Mr. Watson.