Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.

Frederick William Ploethner
Male 1891 - 1918

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  • Birth  17 Jan 1891  Normanby Twp., Grey Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3
    Gender  Male 
    Occupation  1911  Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Tin Smith, Metal Shingles 
    Religion  1911  Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Misfortune  1918  , England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    killed in motor vehicle accident 
    Name  William Ploethner 
    Eby ID Number  Waterloo-88419 
    Died  20 Jun 1918  Eamont Bridge, near Penrith, Penrith, , Lancashire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried  Penrith, Westmoreland, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I88419  Generations
    Last Modified  6 Jun 2018 

    Father  Oscar Louis Ploethner,   b. 16 Jun 1862, Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1935 
    Mother  Friedericke Wieser,   b. 28 Sep 1864, Woolwich Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jul 1937, Kurtzville, Perth Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  11 Dec 1888  Neustadt, Normanby Twp., Grey Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID  F22908  Group Sheet

  • Notes 


      Inquest Last Night

      On Thursday night a shocking tragedy occurred at Eamont Bridge, Penrith resulting in the death of a young Canadian soldier from the Cliburn Camp, Sergt. Wm. Ploethner. The deceased was proceeding to Cliburn on a bicycle from the direction of Skirsgill, and when he came on to the main road at Eamont Bridge collided with a motor car travelling in the direction of Penrith and driven by Mr. Wm. F. Wood, Stanwix, Carlisle, who was accompanied by Mr. Hewson, veterinary surgeon, Carlisle. The young soldier was dragged along the road for about 15 yards, and was fatally injured. Lieut. Glanfield and Adjutant to the Canadians at the Beaconwas near the scene of the accident, and had Dr. Ward sent for. Later Sergt. Ploethner was removed in the ambulance by Messrs. J.M. Kirkpatrick and Robson to the Cottage Hospital, but death took place before reaching there. The funeral will be at Penrith Cemetery on Monday afternoon.

      The inquest was held at the Police Station, Penrith, last evening, before Mr. F.W. Soal and the following jury ; Messrs. F.T. Keyton (foreman), B. Dobson, M. Relph, Jos. Sharp, S. Jordan, Wilson and J. Bowe.

      The jury went by motor to view the body and also the scene of the accident. On the return to the Police Station the first witness called was Lieut. Frank R. Reeve, Adjutant to the 131 st Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps, Cliburn who identified the body. Deceased came from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

      Dr. Ward, Penrith, said that he was called to Eamont Bridge, and found the soldier lying on the side of the road in a pool of blood. He was unconscious and bleeding from both ears. He had him taken into a cottage, and sent for the ambulance. He was placed in the ambulance, but died just before reaching the hospital. He sustained severe injuries, a fracture to the base of the skull being the cause of death. The body was lying 15 yards from the Skirsgill road end.

      Lieut. Stanley L. Glanfield, Adjutant to the 133 rd Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps, Penrith, said that at 10:10 p.m. he was cycling towards Penrith and had just crossed Eamont Bridge. As he was ascending the hill towards Penrith he heard the horn of a motor car coming from behind. He turned round but could see nothing. He then dismounted and heard a crash. As soon as he heard the crash he looked around and saw a man and a bicycle being dragged under the car. He did not see the collision, the crash made him turn look round. He should estimate the man was dragged from 20 to 25 yards, although actually he only say him dragged about 10 yards. When he looked round the car was being pulled up, and was to the right side of the road. He examined the motor tracks. At the middle of the bridge the tracks were in the middle of the road, and to where they stopped at the cottage were at a curve to the right. He went back and found the sergeant bleeding profusely from the ears. . He asked Mr. Hewson to proceed for a doctor. Nothing was said at the time about how the accident happened; the main thing appeared to be the preservation of the man's life.

      When the doctor came he asked for an ambulance , and witness went with Mr. Hewson to summon the ambulance, but in King street saw Major Walker and Lieut. Reeve, and went back with them. Mr. Hewson went for the ambulance.

      The Coroner, Did he say how it happened? They said Ploethner was coming from the [?] Road and seemed uncertain what way to turn. That was the gist of their conversation.

      In answer to the Foreman, witness said the rule of the road in Saskatchewan was that you travelled to the right. In answer to Chief Supt. Barron witness said deceased would have as good an opportunity of hearing the horn as witness had. Witness could form no idea of the speed of the car.

      Joseph Wm. Hewsen, Warwick-road, Carlisle, said he had been to Lowther Castle on professional work. The car was a Ford of 20 horse power. Mr. Wood was driving and witness was sitting next to him. On approaching the bridge Mr. Wood sounded the horn once. The road at the other side of the bridge could not be seen from the Eamont side of the bridge. When they got to the top the road was quite clear. When they were more than half-way down the incline the man came out of the Skirsgill road on a bicycle. He came out pretty sharp and attempted to turn to the right to cross the bridge. Witness's first idea was that deceased was going to cross the bridge on his right and on their left. He seemed to wobble and then crossed the road in front of the card. When they first saw him they would be about seven yards away.

      The Coroner Had he time to do all that in seven yards? - When he came out he didn't move far. The bicycle gave the impression he was going to the right but instead he changed across.

      Continuing, witness said that as soon as Mr. Wood saw the man he applied the brakes. From the time the car struck the deceased to when it stopped they travelled about 15 yards. Coming through the village they would be going about 12 to 14 miles an hour, and probable at the time they struck deceased they would be travelling at about 15 miles an hours. The brakes on the car were all right, and the car was in good running order.

      The Coroner Ought not the car to have pulled up sooner? Yes it might.

      Have you any explanation? Witness said Mr. Wood would probably explain, but his impression was that the man was clear of the car. He was struck by the radiator, and witness was under the impression that the man was clear of the car. Another reason they thought the man was not under the car was that they felt no bump. They were surprised the man was under the car.

      The Coroner How quick could you pull up a car going at 15 miles an hour? - I should think in ten or twelve yards. Of course we had the disadvantage of being on a pretty stiff incline.

      Lieut. Reeve you don't think it possible to stop a Ford car within ten or twelve yards? Not on that incline; you might on the level.

      Witness agreed with Chief Supt. Barron that according to the rule of the road deceased would be acting properly in crossing to the left side. They did not see Mr. Glanfield on the hill.

      Wm. F. Wood, the driver of the car, was the next witness. He was warned by the Coroner that he need not give evidence if he cared, but he elected to do so. He said he was supervisor of motor tractors. They were traveling along the village at 12 to 14 miles an hour. He sounded the horn on the far side of the bridge. Whey they got to the top of the bridge there as a clear road in front. Deceased seemed to come out of the side road very quickly as if to climb the hill and witness was practically on him before he saw him. He would be more than half-way down the bridge then. Deceased swerved to his right and then seemed to reconsider and dashed right across the road to his left. As soon as he saw the man he put his brakes on. The brakes were applied before the deceased was actually hit, but there as no distance in which to check speed. The car would be travelling slightly faster then. He did not take any measurement of the distance the car travelled after they hit the man, but he should say it was about 15 or 16 yards. If he had thought the man was entangled with the car he might have pulled up sooner. He thought 14 yards was a reasonable distance in which to pull up. When they stopped he thought deceased was in front of the car. Witness had driven a car for two years. In answer to the Foreman, witness said the car was running on top gear..

      Mr. Relph Don't you consider 15 miles an hour too great a speed? No, I don't think it is.

      In answer to Lieut. Reeve, witness said that at this particular place he did not consider it possible to pull up in less than 14 yards.

      The Coroner What speed can you get up in a Ford car? I should think 27 miles an hour is the highest possible speed of this car on a good road.

      Acting Police Sergeant Swan, Penrith, said he received information of the accident at 10-30. The wheel marks showed that the car was in the centre of the road at the top of the bridge. About six yards down the incline the marks swerved to the right. The place where the car struck the man was pointed out to witness by Mr. Hewson; there were no marks on the road to show this was the place. in answer to Supt. Barron, witness said there was blood on the road showing where the car had pulled up.

      Mr. Hewson said he did not point out the place to the policeman. Sergt. Swan said the place was not definitely pointed out, and Mr. Wood recalled, said he roughly showed the place to the sergeant.

      The Coroner, in summing up said the jury had to consider whether there was any negligence on the part of the driver. There was the question of speed and what bore directly upon this was the length the car travelled after striking the man. Upon this there was no definite evidence. The car was said to be travelling at 14 or 15 miles an hour, and one would have thought it would have pulled up in less then was stated in this evidence. He thought the jury would come to the conclusion that the deceased was accidentally killed. If, however, the jury thought there was such negligence the verdict would have to be one of manslaughter.

      The jury retired, and returned a verdict of accidental death.

      The MidCumberland and North Westmorland Herald June 22nd, 1918



      Imposing Military Funeral

      The interment of the young Canadian, Sergt. Wm. Ploethner, of the Canadian Forestry Corps, who as we reported last week was killed at Eamont Bridge through colliding with a motor car, was the most imposing funeral seen in Penrith for many years, it being carried out with full military honours in Penrith Cemetery on Sunday afternoon. The impressive ceremonial was sympathetically witnessed by some thousands of people from the town and district. The solemn and stately music of the "Dead march" in "Saul" played by a military band is always impressive and this, taken in conjunction, with the deep sympathy which the young Canadian's untimely and evoked, made up an affecting ritual.

      The funeral procession started from the Drill Hall, where, the coffin had been placed. At the head came the Penrith band, under the conductorship of Mr. J. Varty. Then followed a corporal-major on horseback, and the gun carriage drawn by two horses from the Beacon. The coffin was draped with the Union Jack, surrounded by the deceased's cap and behind came the bearers the non-commissioned pallbearers of the Forestry Corps, each carrying a beautiful wreath. Immediately behind the cortege marched Major Walker, the veteran commanding officer at Cliburn, accompanied by the chaplain, Capt. Edmison. Following them came the 131 st Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps from Cliburn, the 133 rd from the Penrith Beacon, the Penrith Volunteers, and the Penrith Cadet Corps. Thus the funeral procession moved up Wordsworth street to the Cemetery, and the footpaths on each side of the road were crowded with people.

      The authorities had wisely decided to exclude the general public from the Cemetery, and the only mourners at the graveside were the deceased soldier's comrades in khaki. A short service was held in the chapel, AND BEFORE THE COMMITTAL SERVICE AT THE GRAVESIDE Capt. Edmison gave a short address, in which he spoke of the supreme sacrifice made by the deceased in leaving his home in that far-away dominion to assist his Mother Country. He had been to France and was one of the wounded heroes of Vimy Ridge. After being wounded he was put to work in a less exciting but no less noble sphere and now had met his end in a remarkable manner. From the circumstance Capt. Edminson drew the lesson of spiritual watchfulness.

      Then came the last salute as over the grave three volleys were fired and the "Last Post" was sounded to the memory of a gallant soldier who, while not killed on the field of battle died in his country's service, miles from his home in Saskatchewan. Sergt. Ploethner's comrades then stepped to the graveside to take a last look at the coffin and then marched away.

      The wreaths were a beautiful collection, and included one in the form of the C.F.C. badge, sent by his Whinfell comrades; others were from the Beacon officers and men; another testified to the sympathy of Lieut. And Mrs. Reeve; one from the Sergeants' mess was inscribed, "To a brave Vimy Ridge hero," and the remainder were from Penrith and other local friends. After the grave had been filled in the public were admitted to the Cemetery. Before leaving Capt. Edmison plucked a few flowers from a wreath to send to the deceased's relatives in Canada a touching close to a moving scene. Messers. J. Richardson and Son, Brunawich-road, Penrith, were the undertakers.

      The Mid Cumberland and North Westmorland Herald June 29th, 1918

  • Sources 
    1. [S204] Census - ON, Waterloo, Preston - 1901, Preston (Village) F-1 Page 10.

    2. [S57] Vit - ON - Birth Registration.
      Frederick William Ploethner Date of Birth: 17 Jan 1891 Gender: Male Birth County: Grey Father:: Oscar Ploethner Mother: Fredericke Wiesser

    3. [S1669] Census - ON, Waterloo, Preston - 1911, Div. 24 Pg. 13.

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 17 Jan 1891 - Normanby Twp., Grey Co., Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Tin Smith, Metal Shingles - 1911 - Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Lutheran - 1911 - Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMisfortune - killed in motor vehicle accident - 1918 - , England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 20 Jun 1918 - Eamont Bridge, near Penrith, Penrith, , Lancashire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Penrith, Westmoreland, England Link to Google Earth
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