THIS week 100 years ago, the Faithful City mourned the death of one of its popular pub landlords who was killed in mysterious circumstances.

The Journal of 1904 stated: "It is with sadness we report the death of a Worcester innkeeper. The unfortunate victim of an unexplained accident on the Midland Railway at Ashchurch was Frederick Robert James, landlord of the Old Greyhound Inn at New Street, Worcester.

"He had been to Cheltenham to see his daughter who was unwell. On the return journey he was alone in a carriage and, at Ashchurch, he was found leaning out of a window with his head crushed in. He was taken to Tewkesbury Cottage Hospital and died without regaining consciousness.

"It is presumed he leaned out of the train window and that his head struck a bridge or something of the kind on the side of the line. He leaves a widow and two children.

"Mr James had been a licensed victualler in the city for a long time. He was formerly the tenant of the Bush Inn at St John's and then the Grosvenor Arms in Henwick Road. During the Boer War, he went to South Africa as a reservist with the Queen's Own Worcestershire Imperial Yeomanry and served for two years, being awarded the Distingusihed Conduct Medal. On returning home to Worcester he became landlord of the Old Greyhound Inn.

"A few days ago, he filed his petition in the Worcester Bankruptcy Court, and yesterday a Receiving Order was made in the Worcester County Court against his estate."

And looking ahead to the following week's edition of the Journal, I found reports of the inquest and funeral of Frederick Robert James. The inquest jury returned a verdict that his death had been due to his head coming into contact with a railway bridge.

His funeral in St John's Cemetery was with "full military honours" and was watched by "large and respectful crowds".

The coffin, draped with the Union Jack, was carried by six of his comrades from the Worcestershire Yeomanry, and the Worcester Artillery Band played the Dead March in Saul.

A firing party of 12 men of the Worcestershire Yeomanry fired the salute at the graveside.