Two brothers, John Slavin (17) and Thomas Slavin (15), wore shooting cockatoos, at Brungle, near Gundagai, and while passing through a fence on the river, the latter's gun exploded. His arm and hand were shattered, and he was taken to the Tumut Hospital, where his hand was removed. A second operation was found necessary to amputate his arm.
The Armidale (New South Wales, Australia) Express and New England General Advertiser, August 31, 1920.
The lad Thomas Slavin, 16 years of age, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Slavin, of Brungle, whose hand and biceps of the right arm were terribly shattered by an accidental gun explosion, some details of which occurrence appeared in Friday's issue of the EXPRESS, died in the Tumut Hospital at 11 p.m. on Friday. On Thursday night the lad's condition was regarded by Dr. Clouston as being so low that he recommended Mr. Slavin to send for the boy's mother and relatives, but the end came gradual, and he passed away as stated above. Writing at the time of the accident, our Brungle correspondent, referring to it just after it was reported to him, said the residents of Brungle were very sorry to hear of the misfortune, as "Tom was a universal favorite about here. There appears to be a cloud over the residents here, as this is the fourth accident that has occurred within the last month." The popularity of young Tom in life was manifested by the large cortege which followed the remains to-their resting place in the Roman Catholic portion of the new cemetery, Rev. Fr. Sharkey officiating at the graveside and Mr. Jas. Elphick ably carrying out the undertaking duties. The deepest sympathy is felt for the bereaved parents and family, who have had more than a reasonable share of this world's sorrows of late.
An inquest touching on the cause of death was held at the hospital by Mr. S. Groves, Coroner, when the following evidence was elicited: John Slavin, father of deceased, deposed that the lad's age was 15 years 3 months. He went with his brother to shoot cockatoos, at about 8 o'clock on the morning of Wednesday last, and about 1 o'clock word came back about the accident. The boy, when asked what had happened, said "The gun slipped out of my hand as I was getting up a bank, and went off, the hammer catching on a pole on the embankment." The gun was in good order.
Cecil Slavin, an elder brother, who was with decased at the time of the accident, deposed that each had a double-barrelled gun. Witness was about 30 yards in advance of his brother when he heard the gun go off. Heard deceased sing out, "I'm shot," and he was running towards witness. Soon after he swooned, and after recovery explained that the gun fell out of his hand, striking a pole in its descent. On picking up the gun found that in one barrel was a discharged cartridge, and an unexploded one in the other. The gun was a good one, not easy to set off.
Dr. Clouston deposed to answering a call to go to Brungle on Wednesday last to see deceased. Found that a charge of shot had passed through the right hand at a very close range, as the skin was burnt and the wound was small. It passed through the hand, blowing out three middle metacarpal bones, and also the capal bones, then entered the upper and inner as pect of the right arm near the shoulder joint. After dressing the wound brought the patient to the Tumut Hospital, amputated the right arm at the wrist, removed damaged tissue from the upper arm, and disinfected the wound. Last night it was discovered that gas gangrene had set in. Accordingly another operation was performed to remove the affected tissues. Dr. Robertson, of Gundagai, assisted at both operations. Deceased did not recover after the second one, but died soon after 11 that night. Cause of death was due to injuries sustained by gunshot wounds.
A verdict of death caused by accidental shooting was returned.
The Tumut (New South Wales, Australia), Advocate and Farmers and Settlers' Adviser, August 24, 1920.