From the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser

Friday 14th March 1930 - Tragic Death of Mr T W Tolhurst

Pinned Beneath Car

In a mysterious motor car accident which occurred between Wateringbury and Nettlestead in the early hours of Saturday morning, Mr. Thomas Washington Tolhurst, of Moat Farm, Five Oak Green, met his death. He was returning from a private dance at Maidstone and it is believed that he ran into a patch of fog and the car overturned. People living in the immediate vicinity heard the crash, and on going out into the road found Mr. Tolhurst lying dead underneath the car, pinned to the ground.

William Stephen Tolhurst, Tudeley Hale farmer, identified the body as that of his brother, a single man, aged 35 years. He said that his brother's eyesight and hearing were good, and he had been driving a car for about ten years. The car was in good order, and he had had it four months. He left home early in the evening, and witness did not know where he was going. He frequently went to dances. On Thursday night he had been to a danee at Tonbridge as well as the previous (Friday) evening. At the point of the accident, the road was quite good and level, but the ditch was rather close to the road, although there was a grass verge. Greta Anne Hales, of 8, Vineyard Hill. Wimbledon, said she spent the previous evening with Mr. Tolhnrst at a dance at Maidstone. They left after midnight; and returned to house at Loose to fetch his car. It would be about 3.20 when he left there, and he seemed all right, but a little tired. 

An inquest was held at the Railway Hotel, Wateringbury, on Saturday afternoon by the Deputy Coroner (Mr. H. W. Peach), and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned. The Coroner had the assistance of a jury, and Mr. H. R. French was the foreman. 


Arthur Wm. Tilsley, a carpenter, of Old School Cottages, Nettlestead, said that at 4.15 that morning he was awakened by a noise, and saw a light shining on the window. He went downstairs, and saw the car lying across the road with its rear wheels in a ditch. He saw no one for quite a while, but eventually found the deceased man pinned under a spring in a sitting position in the ditch. He felt his pulse, and came to the conclusion that he was dead. It was slightly misty at the time, and he got his neighbour to stand in the road with a light to warn approaching traffic. The police and the doctor were called, and both arrived within half an hour. P.C. Aldridge said he arrived just after 5 a.m., and saw the car with its rear wheels in the ditch, and the deceased pinned underneath, with his head between the rear nearside spring and the mudguard. The car was moved, and the body removed to the Railway Hotel. The hedge on the far side of the ditch was damaged for some distance, and Mr. Tolhurst appeared to have run along in the ditch. The car was extensively damaged. It was foggy at the time. 

Dr. William Thompson stated that he was summoned shortly before five o'clock, and found deceased in a sitting position in the ditch, with his head pinned between the wheel and the spring. He was dead. Death was due to a fracture of the base of the skull. By the Foreman: He thought Mr. Tolhurst might have been thrown forward into the ditch, and the car then fell on him. The wing had made a deep scalp wound. 

The Deputy Coroner, summing up, said that apparently deceased was very tired, had run into a bank of fog, and then into the ditch. He careered along like that for some yards, and was then probably thrown out, as Dr. Thompson had said, the car falling on top of him. A verdict of Accidental Death was returned, sympathy being expressed by the Deputy Coroner and jury with the family in their sad and tragic bereavement. 

Mr. Tolhurst was the second son of the late Mr. William Tolhurst, of Moat Farm, Five Oak Green, and was educated at Sir Andrew Judd's Commercial School, Tonbridge. He followed his father's example of taking a lively interest in all local and agricultural affairs. In 1914 he joined the Yeomanry and later was transferred to the Royal West Kent Regiment, and he was subsequently invalided out. He became Chairman of the local Branch of the British Legion, and took a prominent part in its activities and also the Paddock Wood Branch of the National Farmers' Union, of which he was Vice-Chairman. He was a member of the Parish Council and of the Tonbridge Rugby Football Club, and took a keen interest in matters appertaining to sport - football, cricket, shooting and hunting. The meet of the Bolebroke Beagles, which was to have been held Saturday morning, was postponed in view of Mr. Tolhurst's death. 

THE FUNERAL. The funeral took place at Capel on Monday afternoon. All the villagers attended to pay a tribute of respect to man who had won the high esteem of all with whom he had been associated, a man who was known for his sporting qualities and high integrity. Various associations, clubs and other bodies with which he was, or had been, connected were represented. An impressive service, held at the Church, was conducted by the Vicar (the Rev. H. Capel), who was assisted by the Rev. G. L. Lachlan, of London, and Fathers Farley and Coulthurst. Psalm xxiii. was recited and the lesson was taken from Thess. iv., verses 13 to 18. The hymn 'Abide with me' was sung and the Nunc Dimittis. The family mourners were: Mr. and Mrs. William Tolhurst (brother and sister-in-law), Miss Tolhurst (sister), Mrs. Manwaring (sister), Mrs. Philpot (sister), Mr J. Tolhurst (uncle). Miss B. Tolhurst (cousin), Mr. T. Tolhurst (uncle), Mr. W. Larkin (uncle), Mrs. Welch, Mr. C. Sharpe (cousins), Mr. Cecil R. Sharp representing his uncle, Mr. Charles Sharp. Mr. L. Standen (cousin) and Mr. B. Manwaring (nephew). Mr. Claude Tolhurst (brother) was unable to attend owing to illness. Four great friends of Mr. Tolhurst were present: Messrs. C. G. Pemble, S. Batchelor, B. Hall and L. Tanton, and also his housekeeper, Mrs. Burkin.