ID: WW2_VJM / Tony Millatt

TitleVincent Magson killed by mine 1945
AbstractVincent John Magson

Vincent Magson was born 1929 and was the adopted son of Winifred M. Magson née Crampion and Frederick Magson. Winfred and Frederick had married in 1925 and come to live in Mersea, initially in Captains Road and then at 2 Rainbow Road. Frederick was a retired Royal Navy pensioner. Winifred died in 1941.

Mersea Lads Killed in Beach Minefield.

Boy thought he knew paths
A tragedy at West Mersea, in which two lads, Ian Victor Michell (17) of Pantile Cottage, Firs Chase, and Vincent John Magson (16) of Rainbow Road were killed instantly by a beach mine on March 8th.

Michell was the son of Mr H.V. Michell, engineer. Magson was adopted son of Mr Frederick William Magson, a retired Naval pensioner.

"Explosions often heard"
Jack Leonard Harvey, sewage egineer, of 3 Council Houses, Barfield Road, West Mersea, said that he saw the boys about 3pm going towards the beach with their guns. About half an hour later he heard an explosion like that of a beach mine about a mile away in the direction of East Mersea. He paid little attention to it as these explosions were frequently heard. Early next morning the parents reported to the Police that the boys had not returned and Sgt. Wood and Reserve Sgt. Dawson set out to search with Mr Harvey. At 12.40 pm on Friday they found the two bodies in a mine-field about a quarter of a mile west of Kiddiesland pavilion.

"Been in mine fields before"
Mrs Michell said her son had told her that he had been in the mine fields before, and she had begged him not to go there. He replied that he knew the paths and he would be safe. Mr Magson said his boy had never said anything to him about mine-fields, but had warned him (Mr Magson), about the danger of crossing the beach.

"No-one to Blame"
The Deputy Coroner returned a verdict of accidental death and said that in neither case were the parents to blame, nor the military authorities. He commented what a curious thing it was that lads would recklessly run risks for the sake of a rabbit, but added that it was difficult for older folks to appreciate the feelings of youngsters who would not be the boys they were if they always did as they were directed.

A joint funeral was held for the two boys in West Mersea Parish Church on March 14th, and they were buried close to each other in Firs Road Cemetery.

Paul Jasper

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Ian Michell

AuthorTony Millatt
Published8 March 1945
SourceMersea Museum