My Channel Island Ancestry

My family history in the Channel Islands and beyond!


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Tragedy in 1938

The machine that John was moving with two other workmates.

Most families will have a tragedy somewhere in their family history. This happened for my family over 70 years ago, on the 28th February 1938. John Frank Edwin Lozuet (Aka Roy Davey) died at work while doing overtime. This is the course of events according to the many reports in the Jersey Evening Post:

THE STORE FATALITY – 1st March 1938

‘Mr. C. J. F. Petra said he was working with deceased last night. Vasse and Kean asked deceased if he would give them a hand to move the mixer. Witness did not notice anything more until he heard a shout and saw the deceased holding onto the machine with his two hands. Witness realised the machine was electrified when he saw Vasse, Kean and deceased struggling to free themselves from the machine. Witness called to the foreman to switch off and the three men collapsed to the floor.

By the Solicitor-General: There were three machines in the store and the usual rule was to switch off if the machines were moved for any reason. He had not actually had that order given up. Both witness and deceased were lorry drivers and worked overtime in the store in the evening. This had been going on for a month; deceased had worked on the machines before.

Mr. G. P. Davey said deceased was his adopted son, his name being John Frank Edwin Lozuet, born in St. Helier on August 5th, 1915. He saw deceased yesterday about 7pm; he was then in good health.”

The verdict of the inquest into John’s death was:

“That the death was due to electrocution at Messrs. W. A. Nicholls and Sons’ Store, 28 Commercial Buildings.” JEP 2 March 1938

Newspaper articles are invaluable for the amount of detail they give you. From this one piece I have already found out or confirmed the following;

  • John was known by two names firstly John Frank Edwin Lozuet, but mainly as Roy Davey. It  is very important  to find out if ancestors had nicknames when researching your family tree.
  • John’s occupation – a lorry driver
  • His father’s name was G. P. Davey (George Perchard Davey – my great grandfather)
  • John was adopted by my great grandfather George P. Davey – I knew that, but do not know who his real father is.
  • His birth date – 5 August 1915. He died at the young age of 23. His mother Clara Eliza Lozuet never got over his death.

The funeral details in the J. E. P.

I wonder if John had presumed the machine was already turned off and being tired from working so much overtime, he had not thought to check before he helped his workmates move it. The machine being moved was a Guano mixer. A Guano Mixer is “A device employed in fish-guano works for the purpose of thoroughly mixing the fish-scrap with mineral phosphates and sulphuric acid” (www.wordnik.com)

Below is a letter of condolence that Clara received in the post after John’s death.

A letter of condolence to John's mother, Clara Lozuet from the boys of the 'Dorset Tavern'. Dorset Street is where the family were living at the time of the accident.

Below is a photo of Roy doing one of his favourite past times, horse riding. I know very little about Roy’s horse riding except that it was thought that he trained/rode private horses for people.

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