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There was an inquest two days later at Saltwood, which returned a verdict of accidental death, as the jury supposed that William could not have heard the train coming.
This despite the fact that the evidence of the train driver and the Station Master was that William had clearly been lying down, between the tracks and parallel with them, when the train hit him.
They moved with the times, and invented a hybrid mode of transport called the Worthington Duocar, or cycle-car, which had an 8-hp V-twin engine complete with a fan-cooled automatic carburettor. The transversely mounted engine drove by two chains to a countershaft, final drive being by belt.
At the same time they were developing a car, It was originally powered by an 8hp horizontally-opposed twin engine, but this was replaced by an 8.9hp V-twin J. It was intended to sell the car for £90, but the company overstretched itself and got involved in the other latest transport craze, the aeroplane and in the end failed to produce either car or plane.
It seems likely that the verdict was a kind decision on the part of the jury designed to help William’s family and widow, and not just from the stigma of suicide.
He had two insurance policies on his life, but they only covered accidental death.
One of his more unusual jobs was building the carriages for the Sandgate Hill lift in 1891.
He was another stalwart of the Wesleyan church, Secretary of the Hythe institute and had been a member of the fire brigade.
He lived in a house called ‘Kildrummie’ on Tanners Hill, Hythe.
A substantial house, with six bedrooms, a dining room, drawing room and morning room, and large garden it was just the place for a successful business man. Once on board he was taken ill and the coach diverted to the nearest doctor’s surgery, Unfortunately, by the time they got there Robert was dead, so the doctor made all the other passengers get off the bus so that it could take the body back to Hythe.
In the countryside round the town, the nights were very dark in winter.
One evening in November 1906, when he was 52, he left the house at about half past seven in the evening.