known 13th July 1916
BURWASH RESIDENTS INSURANCE The tragic death of Captain James Robert Ewing, formerly of Holton House, Burwash, was recalled in the King’s Bench Division of the High Court on Thursday, when Mr. Justice Scrutton had to decide a question of liability on an insurance policy. Captain Ewing, who was an officer commanding No.1 Supernumerary Company 2/5th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, was stationed near Folkestone in the spring of last year, and, on the night of 17th May, he was visiting the sentries he had sent to guard the railway line when he was knocked down and killed by a passing train. His executor, Mr. Philip Henry Coxe, brought an action against the Employers’ Liability Corporation, Ltd. Claiming £1,000 under a policy of insurance dated 12th October, 1905, which contained conditions in regard which a dispute arose as to whether the death was “directly or indirectly caused by, arising from, or traceable to” war. The matter was referred to an Arbitrator, who found that the insurance money was not payable, and the question of liability was now argued before his Lordship by Mr. Ernest Pollock, K.C., M.P. (for the Executor) and by Mr. Gordon Hewart, K.C., M.P. (for the Insurance Company). Giving judgement, Mr. Justice Scrutton said what occurred was a pure accident. It was said the conditions in the policy prevented the claim if death or disablement was “directly or indirectly caused by, arising from, or traceable to” war, and the Insurance Company contended that Captain Ewing was killed because, holding a commission in H.M. Forces, he was guarding the railway, and for that purpose had to go along the line, where the ordinary public would not go, and the lights, which would ordinarily be showing, were extinguished under the Defence of the Realm Regulations. In these circumstances the Insurance Company said Captain Ewing’s death was traceable to the War, as the War required him to be in this place, where, by reason of the War regulations, he was exposed to special danger. The Arbitrator found that, so far as it was a question of fact, the death was “traceable to” war, and the Court could only interfere if the facts were such that, on the true construction of the conditions in the policy, the Arbitrator could not properly have found as he did. His Lordship decided the matter in favour of the Insurance Company.
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