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Bravery on horseback saves lives

Year 1865

Read by Matthew Crouch – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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A fatal boat accident occurred on the coast of Glenelg, in South Australia, in September 1865, during a heavy gale. Mr. Samuel Pole Phillips, brother-in-law of the Bishop of Adelaide, who had been riding on the bea.ch with one of his nieces, joined the throng of spectators. He saw at once that lives might be saved by an act of daring which very few men would have ventured upon seizing a rope, and urging those on shore to hold it fast, he rode over the rocks, and, regardless of all remonstrance, dashed into the foaming surf ; he first reached Burton, to whom he handed the rope, and turning his horse’s head landward, succeeded by two desperate plunges in dragging him out of the water ; one of the bystanders caught the rescued and almost senseless man in his arms, and the bold rider was instantly again among the waves : he threw the rope to Gard and Biddle, but they were unable to catch it, though one of them was seen to make a vain attempt ; the next sea must have dashed them on the rocks, as we cannot find that they were seen again ; no doubt they were much exhausted, and probably they had already received bodily injuries.

Mr. Phillips, seeing that there was still another life to be saved, again urged his horse seaward, and reached Shepherd, who was considerably further from the rocks, supported by the oars; in , doing this the daring horseman very nearly lost his own life, for he was breast deep in the water, and his horse with difficulty retained its footing, but he succeeded in the bold attempt. Shepherd caught the bight of the rope, Mr. Phillips still holding one end, the other being with the persons on shore ; thus the second survivor was rescued, having received no other injury than that at first inflicted by the steer oar.

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