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A shipwreck and exposure to intense cold

Year 1805, Mr. W. H Crowfoot

Read by Chris Sharwood-Smith – Life Governor, Royal Humane Society

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December 8, 1805

Rev. Mr. Maurice to Captain Reed. Nomanstone.

Dear Sir,

Knowing the deep interest you take in the cause of humanity, and the solicitude you have to preserve as well as to restore life, where it has seemed to be lost; I presume to lay a statement before you of the most important kind. Its authenticity is established, not merely by the character of the writer, but innumerable witnesses at Lowestoffe, as well as in the district where the apparent death happened. Mr Crowfoot, Surgeon, of Beccles, called, and related this extraordinary instance of resuscitation.

Sergeant Bubb being removed, by an order from his officer, before he was fit to be taken from bed, he was therefore conveyed in a cart to join his corps. I am sure you will take great pleasure in communicating the particulars to the Royal Humane Society. The exigencies of our country demand a peculiar attention to the soldier and sailor. The cause of distress with you will never plead in vain.

As one of the guardians of life, I hope that pecuniary rewards will be obtained for the four men who assisted in the conveyance, and in his restoration as it will stimulate the common people to future activity; and likewise an acknowledgement of honorary praise to Mr Crowfoot, for his meritorious professional conduct; he is likewise ready to communicate to Dr. Hawes a more circumstantial account of this remarkable instance of restoring animation, if required.


More detail follows:

An unfortunate shipwreck and exposure to intense cold. Mr. W. H Crowfoot to the Treasurer.


My apology for troubling you with the following must rest upon the tendency it appears to me to have, to promote the ends for which the Society was instituted, and over which you preside with so much ability.

A transport, with infantry on-board, was wrecked, on he night of the 16th; and were with difficulty landed. I met a cart, in the morning, with a man apparently dead. A soldier gave me the following account, the particulars of which I have since had confirmed by the captain of the vessel. The apparent corpse was a sergeant, who had, about 11 the night before, form the effects of cold, sunk apparently lifeless on the deck. From the confusion incidental to their dreadful situation, and supporting him dead. He had been suffered to remain, with the sea washing over the body, till the morning. Boat at infinite hazard, went to bring off the sufferers; into one of which, the body had been let down by a rope, and brought to land, where it remained for some hours on the beach.

The humanity of four labourers placed him in a cart; but the soldiers thinking a dead body an incumbrances, had him removed. The men, however, procured another cart, in which they were conveying him, when I accidentally met them. The precordia being rather warm, encouraged me to attempt resuscitation – I bid them drive to the inn. The man had been supposed dead thirteen hours. The body was put between warm blankets, and after some hours perseverance in the usual methods, languid life returned, and the inexpressible satisfaction is not to be described, of finding, that I succeeded in refusing a fellow creature from a premature death, and preserving to his King and Country a robust young man.

W. H. Crowfoot.

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