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Boys fate uncertain despite heroic efforts

Year 1853

Read by Rachel Macfarlane – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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On the 25th of February 1853, Master Hercules Boss, accompanied by a lad named Allan Stewart, his gillie, started in a punt to shoot wild ducks on the ice in the centre of an estuary, at the upper part of the Devnort Firth. When they were about the centre, the ice unexpectedly broke up, owing to a high stream-tide and thaw. It closed on the punt and crushed it to pieces, and they were left in the water amongst broken masses of floating ice. When the crash came, Hercules Ross found that Allan Stewart had lost all presence of mind, and had neglected to secure his pair of sculls ; he, however, stuck by the drowning boy, put one of his own sculls under him, and eventually they managed to get on to a piece of ice, and remained there for three hours, drifting about the middle of the estuary. When Donald Ross and George Munro were made aware of their danger, they, without a moment’s hesitation, went off in a rotten old cobble ; they were in very great danger, as the planks of the old boat were crushed, but they gallantly persevered ; and, after battling with the ice for an hour and a half, at last reached and rescued both the boys.

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