18th April 1858

Bullet dug out of barman after shooting

A handful of officers from the 77th Regiment, which was stationed near St Brelade’s, accompanied some female friends on a picnic at the beach. Clearly well-to-do, one of the ladies had asked William Strong to accompany them – not to share the picnic, but to organise matters and, it would seem, be their assistant, seeing to whatever needs they had throughout the day.

The party called in at Le Cappelain’s Hotel, where one of the ensigns, Randle Jackson, amused himself for a while by shooting a gun through the open door of the hotel. His target was a loaf of bread on one of the tables in the bar. When he bored of this, he put a bell on top of a low wall in front of the hotel and started shooting at that instead, perhaps hoping to impress the ladies. However, this was barely any safer than shooting at the loaf: the door to the bar was still directly behind the bell, so with a successful aim the shots would still go straight through the door and into the hotel.

It was bound to end in disaster – and so it did.

Barman shot

Jackson fired just as Strong came to the door of the bar, scoring a direct hit in Strong’s face, at the corner of his right eye. A surgeon removed a single slug on the spot and, although Strong took to his bed for a fortnight, it seemed that he would make a full recovery. However, the surgeon hadn’t spotted a second slug to one side of the first, which only became obvious during Strong’s convalescence. On 18 April, likely causing considerable discomfort, it was removed in a second operation.

Strong was surprisingly charitable about the whole matter, declaring that he had no doubt Jackson hadn’t shot him deliberately or intended to hurt him. Nonetheless, he sued, demanding £200 damages and the payment of whatever the total bill of his medical care might be. The wound, he told the court, still caused him pain and was keeping him confined to his bed.

Jackson’s advocate retorted that it was Strong’s fault he’d been shot, he’d already been given £1 compensation, and he’d refused £50 offered by Jackson’s father.

The matter was referred to the Royal Court, but never went any further. The two men came to an agreement between themselves, perhaps recognising that the cost of a full court case would be more than any compensation might total and, on 25 June – almost three full months after the shooting – the matter was laid to rest.


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