13th December 1904

Militiaman dies after he’s thrown from his horse

When someone let a gate slam on Le Mont Cochon, nobody could have imagined that it would lead to a young man’s death. But that’s exactly what happened when 26-year-old Captain Theodore Balleine’s horse reared up, scared by the sudden noise, and threw him off. The militiaman, a member of the South Battalion Royal Jersey Militia, struck the ground hard, fractured the base of his skull and, after lingering for several hours, died of his injuries.

Disaster after illness

Balleine had gone for a ride in the hope it would help him feel better, after several days of pain in his limbs and joints. Although contemporary reports don’t make it entirely clear what caused the gate to slam – or if it was loud enough to have scared the horse – a postman had been delivering mail in the area, which required him to pass through several such gates (some accounts say doors) as part of his rounds.

“Turpin [the postman] called at Bellevue, near St Clair, and on leaving a door banged,” reported the Jersey Independent and Daily Telegraph four days later. “Turpin at once obtained help, and subsequently the injured man was conveyed to his home in Roussel-street, but he never recovered consciousness and death ensued about 8 o’clock from fracture of the skull.”

Bleeding heavily

Witnesses at the subsequent inquiry described a badly injured man and that “blood had poured from his mouth”. His breathing was heavy and his pupils didn’t react to light, but other than that there was very little visible evidence of any injury.

The inquest ruled that his death was the result of a tragic accident. Hymns were sung in his honour the following Sunday.


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