Died in an accident
William Godwin was a 20-year-old fireman, who died from injuries in an accident at the fire that broke out at the Rising Sun Hotel on Karangahape Road.
The accident was described as “the upsetting of the underwriters fire patrol and salvage corps conveyance on the morning of 16 January 1878.”
Godwin’s headstone was erected by the members of the Auckland Fire Brigade corps of which he was a member and also “by his intimate friends who were members of the Oddfellows and Foresters” – he was a member of both these friendly societies too. It is notable for the fireman’s helmet and axe engraved in the stone.
THE FATAL ACCIDENT TO WILLIAM GODWIN, an article in the Auckland Star, 1 February 1878, said, “he was brought to hospital in an unconscious state from the consequences of being overturned in a van. Blood was oozing from the left ear. In a few days he rallied, so that he was able to walk about, but never fully recovered his mental faculties, and could not remember anything about the van accident. On Friday last he was seized by convulsions, with 76 attacks occurring before death. At the post-mortem examination it was found that the squamous portion of the left temporal lobe was extensively fractured, and death resulted from inflammation of the brain from physical injury.”