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William Philip Grossard (1806–1868)

Mr Candler, District Coroner, held an inquest on 19th Dec., at Phillip Island, Western Port Bay, on the body of William Philip Grossard, who met his death on the 17th Dec., by a gunshot wound.

Margaret Reilly, a nurse in the employ of Mrs McHaffie, Phillip Island, deposed that she was in the nursery on the morning of the 17th Dec., when she heard the report of a gun quite close to the house. She proceeded to the door just in time to see Captain Grossard fall off the verandah, and soon afterwards observed Mr Grimwade a few feet from the spot where the deceased lay. Called Mr McHaffie, who came at once, bringing Mr Couche with him. Afterwards heard Capt. Grossard say he was sorry he had given Mr Grimwade the gun.

When Mr Grimwade asked his forgiveness, he replied he forgave him and did not impute any blame to him, or indicate that it was done willfully. John Daniel McHaffie, squatter, residing at Phillip Island, stated that he knew the deceased, who was about sixty-five years old. He had been formerly a captain in the merchant service, and at the time of his death was on a visit to witness. Mr Grimwade and Mr Couche were also stopping at the house. On Thursday morning witness and Mr Couche were at some short distance from the house when they heard the report of a gun, and saw the last witness coming towards them, calling out that Captain Grossard had shot himself. They ran to the spot at once and found deceased lying on his back in front of the verandah with blood pouring from his side. A double barrelled gun on half-cock lay close by. Witness then saw Mr Grimwade in a state of excitement, and heard him, say 'My God I have accidentally shot the poor captain!' The gun Mr Grimwade held in his hand was loaded in one barrel, the other having been recently discharged.

The deceased lived about an hour and retained his senses nearly till the last. Witness, who never left him till he died, questioned him as to how the occurrence took place. Deceased said 'it was accidental; he did not know Grimwade was such a muff with a gun or he would never have trusted him with it.' The deceased and Mr Grimwade were on good terms, and witness had no reason to believe the occurrence was other than accidental. On the very day of the occurrence warned Captain Grossard to be very careful with Mr Grimwade, as the latter was not used to firearms.

Frederick Sheppard Grimwade, wholesale druggist, Melbourne, said that on Thursday morning last, deceased and himself were going to shoot. The deceased loaded a gun in two barrels, put a cap on the right nipple, and handed the gun to witness to put another cap on the other nipple. The hammer of the right barrel was at full cock when deceased gave him the gun. He was removing the old cap from the other nipple when deceased walked outside, but the gun he was holding was discharged in the right barrel when Captain Grossard had gone only four paces. Witness heard deceased cry out, and saw at once that he was shot. Ran for Mr McHaffie. Had not been used to firearms for some years, and did not notice that the piece was at full cock when he recieved it from deceased.

John Pierce Lane, surgeon, Mornington, deposed that he made a post mortem examination, and found a large gunshot wound on the left side, opposite the floating ribs. The wound took a nearly horizontal direction, slightly backward, wounding the intestines. This wound was the cause of death. Its direction showed that the barrel of the gun must have been nearly horizontal when discharged. The jury found a verdict of 'death from a gunshot wound, accidentally received.'

Original publication

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Citation details

'Grossard, William Philip (1806–1868)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Devon, England


17 December, 1868 (aged ~ 62)
Philip Island, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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