Transferred from the Naval Training Ship, HMVS Nelson, to HMVS Cerberus as a crew member on 31 October 1872.
Victorian Naval Training Ship for Boys, Register 1865-1876 VPRS 11976/P0001/00001
Dr. Youl, the city coroner, held an inquest at the Melbourne Hospital yesterday on the body of a lad named Paul Jones, l8 years of age, belonging to the Cerberus.
George Buchanan, petty officer on board the Cerberus, deposed, - On the Monday night before deceased was sent to the hospital, I was sleeping in the same room with him. At some time after midnight I heard him fall out of his bed. He was sleeping on the top of a bath, about two feet from the deck. I got up and put him back to bed. He fell out again about 2 o'clock, and I again put him back to bed. He was then delirious. A watch-boy visited him every hour, and that was all the attendance he got, except that I rose several times and gave him some tea. The deceased had been then ill for two days.
Montague Salmon, naval apprentice on the Cerberus, deposed, - About a month before the deceased was laid up sick there was a row between him and a boy named Rowlands about some likeness, and it was arranged that the two boys should fight near the gardens at Williamstown. The fight came off on a Sunday, when we went ashore on leave. Rowlands was older and a little bigger than the deceased. The fight was quite fair, but Rowlands fell heavily upon the deceased, and that ended it. They were fighting only about five minutes. Jones gave Rowlands "best," but only for that night. Before the fight Jones complained of pain in his leg. He bad been fighting about a fortnight before with Rowlands, and hurt his thigh. I was not at the first fight.
Richard Sanderson, able seaman on board the Cerberus, stated that about two months ago the deceased had a black and swollen eye, and explained to witness that he had been fighting at Williamstown.
James Pounds, chief gunner on board the Cerberus, deposed,- On Sunday, the 5th of June last, tho deceased was on shore at Williamstown, and was dismissed after church, to return on board about 7 o'clock. He was again on shore on the 25th of the same month, which was also a Sunday. On the 8th July last he was reported sick, and being no better next day, I wanted him to go ashore and see the doctor, but he refused. I intended to give him some medicine myself, but he would not come for it. On the 10th Mr. Goldie came on board, saw the deceased, and thought he had rheumatism On the 12th, the doctor thought deceased had low fever, and recommended him to be sent to the Hospital - which was done.
Dr. Barker deposed that Jones was brought to the Hospital on tho 12th ult in a delirious state. His skin was hot and dry, and he had a very rapid pulse. He complained of pain in the right thigh joint when moved. On the day after his admission, an abscess was found at a little above the pelvic bones on the right side. Under treatment, deceased at first improved, but be had a relapse and another abscess, and died on the 8th inst. Witness had made a post mortem, and found some lymph effused upon the surface of the brain, the result of acute inflammation, and part of the pelvis on the right side injured and the bones diseased. It would have required great force to inflict the latter injury. The disease of the brain must have been caused by an injury received at the same time-probably concussion. The cause of death was acute inflammation of tho membranes of the brain. Deceased was brought to the Hospital by two seamen, and without any medical information.
The jury returned the following verdict:- "The deceased, Paul Jones, died from inflammation of the brain and other injuries. There is not sufficient evidence before the jury to show how the injuries were received."
The Argus, 12 August 1876
The board appointed to inquire into the circumstances concerning the death of a boy on board the Cerberus a few weeks ago, have sent in their report to the Treasurer. The board exonerates the officers of the Cerberus from all blame in the affair.
The Argus, 4 September 1876