Warrant Officer Class III John King (7008389) served as a Platoon Sergeant Major in 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during World War Two. He resided with his wife and 3 young children at 14 Oval Street, Belfast, Co. Down and had over 20 years' service with The Rifles. A brother, Constable Weir King served in the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Co. Armagh.
John died at Chippenham Hospital, Wiltshire on 29th July 1940 aged 38 years old. Cause of death was fatal head injuries received in a motorcycle crash. 2nd Lieutenant WD Tighe-Wood of 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles gave evidence of identification.
Inquest in England
An inquest in August 1940 heard evidence from Private John A Douglas of the same Battalion. He was behind King on a second motorcycle when the Platoon Sergeant Major approached the crest of a hill at 25-30mph. King turned around to give Douglas an order.
Douglas shouted a warning as a military lorry approached over the hill and King swerved to avoid it catching the mudguard and throwing the Belfast man from his machine. The lorry was going no faster than the oncoming motorcycle on a narrow road.
Rifleman Ernest H Faulkner of Monmouth Regiment was the driver of the lorry. He gave corroborating evidence that King was on the wrong side of the road and looking behind him when the incident occurred. Faulkner sounded his horn but it was too late to avoid a collision.
Dr. JV Shaw gave evidence of injuries to the right leg, forehead, and scalp as well as a severe shock. Warrant Officer Class III John King died on admission to the hospital without regaining consciousness.
John King’s grave is in Section F2, Grave 877 of Dundonald Cemetery, Dundonald, Co. Down. His funeral took place with full military honours on 3rd August 1940. Reverend Alexander Suiters of Mersey Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast, Co. Down officiated.