The following article, reproduced here as printed, was published in the Lytham St. Annes Express dated 28th July 1944 following Dorothy's death:




A collision which resulted in the death of a woman, injuries to another and to five American soldiers, occurred on Saturday night, opposite Osborne Road, Clifton Drive South, St. Annes.  The dead woman was Miss Dorothy Hesketh, aged 22, of 142, Warrington Road, Newtown, near Wigan.  Mrs. Eileen Catherine Mary Buck, aged 33, of Thornhill, Wigan, received slight injuries and was detained in St. Annes Hospital.  The five American soldiers were taken to an American hospital in the North-West.  Miss Hesketh, who was an assistant in the National Savings Movement at Wigan died in St. Annes Hospital.  Mrs. Buck, a clerk in the Wigan education office, received slight injuries, but was detained in hospital.


A jeep from Blackpool was going towards Lytham, when a smell of burning petrol was noticed.  The occupants got out, and asked the driver of a passing motor vehicle for a fire extinguisher.  A heavy six-wheeled truck also came along, and the three vehicles were involved in a crash.  Both women were passengers in the jeep, which overturned.


The inquest on Miss Hesketh was opened by Deputy Coroner, Mr. A. L. Ashton at the War Memorial Hospital on Monday afternoon, and was adjourned for four weeks at Lytham Police Station.  The Coroner remarked that some of the witnesses would not be able to give evidence for some time.  Gertrude Mary Hesketh, wife of John Hesketh, of Warrington Road, Newtown, said her daughter was assistant secretary of the National Savings movement at Wigan and lived with her at the above address.  On Saturday she left home to go to Liverpool on business and was coming on to St. Annes later.  On Sunday witness was told her daughter had been involved in a serious accident and later that day she visited St Annes Hospital and identified the body.  Her daughter had enjoyed good health all her life.


The following article, reproduced here as printed, was published in the Lytham St. Annes Express dated 23rd August 1944 following the inquest into Dorothy's death:



The inquest which had been adjourned on Miss Dorothy Hesketh, aged 22 years, of 142, Warrington Road, Newtown, near Wigan, who died from injuries received in a road smash on Clifton Drive South on Saturday, July 22nd, was concluded at Lytham Policy Station on Monday by Mr. A. L. Ashton, Deputy Coroner.  Miss Hesketh was assistant secretary of the National Savings movement at Wigan.

A verdict of Misadventure was returned, it being the medical opinion that the cause of death was the shock of the injuries and of the operation performed in an endeavour to save her life.  She suffered from extensive injuries.


Mrs Eileen Catherine Mary Buck, a clerk in the Wigan Education offices, and living with her husband at Thornleigh, Wigan, said they had been to a party at Blackpool and they left in a jeep driven by an American soldier.  On approaching Osborne Road, St. Annes, she smelled something burning and someone said the vehicle was on fire.

All got out and Miss Hesketh and witness went to a seat on the other side of the road.  She saw flames under the jeep.  It was later stated that the fire was out, and they returned to the vehicle, she (Mrs Buck) getting into the rear seat.  Then there was what she thought was an explosion.  The jeep reared into the air and rolled over.  She thought the "explosion" was the result of the fire.

Corpl. Reese Howard Fetterole, a passenger in the jeep, said the flame appeared to come from under the vehicle, and the driver, Sergt. Nelson, stopped it, pulled to the side and all got out, whilst Nelson got the fire under control.  They were getting back into the jeep when there was a collision.  Miss Hesketh was in the act of climbing through the offside doorway.


The impact knocked the jeep forward and it finally overturned on the offside.  A vehicle had pulled up in front of the jeep and the headlights of the jeep reflected on the front vehicle - which was described as a "cracker-box" or utility vehicle.  There was nothing, he thought, to prevent the driver of the colliding vehicle seeing the jeep.

Cpl. Kenneth Lee Collett, driver of the "cracker-box", in the same direction as the jeep, said two rear lights on the jeep could be seen 60 or 70 feet away.

As he was passing it he was hailed to stop, and when he did so he was asked for an extinguisher. 

He was getting it when struck by something, and saw a truck stationary behind him and the damaged jeep.  It was obvious a six-wheeled truck had collided with his vehicle.  He thought the driver of the truck would see more of the "cracker-box"  than the jeep.


Reginald Douglas Hughes, Derbe Road, St Annes, a civil servant, said he was walking on the nearside footpath towards Blackpool, and he saw the truck coming towards Lytham at a reasonable speed, about 30 m.p.h., on its correct side rather towards the crown of the road.  The lights were good.  He walked a few more paces and then heard a smash.

He turned round and saw two vertical lights, one above the other, presumably on the jeep.  He ran back, saw Miss Hesketh in the road and rang up the police and the ambulance.  The driver of the truck was perfectly sober.  The night was good but dark.

A passenger in the truck, Pte Joseph Van Veen, said the speed was moderate.  He did not see the jeep until they were on top of it.  His driver seemed to pull out but he caught the jeep and the impact knocked him (Van Veen) out of the front of the truck.  He did not notice any lights at all.

Other evidence was by Joseph Sassoon, Osborne Road, who was walking in Cartmell Road towards Clifton Drive.  He said he noticed flames underneath the jeep.  He noticed the second vehicle approach and pull up and heard the truck approaching at a steady pace.  It was a dark night.


There was also evidence by Capt. Harold David Cohen who was in the front of the jeep.  He heard Sergt. Nelson call out that the jeep was on fire and he and the girls got out and went across the road for safety.  When the "cracker-box" came up he stopped it and it pulled up 10 to 15 yards in front of the jeep.  He asked a passenger for a fire extinguisher, then he heard a terrific bang in the rear and was knocked back by some part of the "cracker box".  He had not noticed the lights on the jeep. 

P.W.R. W. Hodgkinson described what he found at the scene of the accident and gave the measurements he took.  The jeep had no lights on when he got there but they came on when he switched them.  The rear lights would be visible for a short distance only.

Sergt. James Roy Nelson, driver of the jeep, described the happenings as given above when the fire was seen, and said the jeep was struck by some vehicle from beneath, and he saw it was the six-wheeled truck.  He thought Miss Hesketh was in the act of getting into the jeep again when the vehicle was struck.  The other passengers were in when the jeep over-turned. 

In answer to Mr. H. M. Haslam, for the US authority, Nelson said it would be difficult for the driver of the truck to see the lights of the jeep with the lights of the "cracker box" in front shining.


Pte. William Franklard Shoaf, driver of the truck, said his speed was 25 to 30 m.p.h.  There were about 20 men in the truck.  He had a fairly bright light on the off-side and a side light on the left.  He noticed a white light coming from a vehicle in front of him and slowed down.

Suddenly the jeep appeared in front of him.  He did not see any tail lights but pulled out to the right to clear the jeep.  He was unable to do so and the impact knocked the jeep forward.  A man fell out of the lorry and he went over to the left to clear him and struck the "cracker box".

After the Coroner had found his verdict, Mr. J. Hopwood Sayer (Messrs. Wall, Johnson and Hopwood Sayer, Wigan), for the relatives, thanked the Coroner for his expression of sympathy at the opening of the inquest, and Mr. Haslam joined in that expression of sympathy on behalf of his clients.

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