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Four year old boy rescued from a well near Basingstoke

Year 1887

Read by Sarah Dineen – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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Eales, George, aged fifty-eight years.

On the 7th November, 1887, a young woman went to draw water from one of the village wells at Dummer, near Basingstoke. Some children had followed her into the well shed, and just after the bucket had been lowered one of them (a boy four and a half years old) tripped against the lid and fell down the mouth of the well. The boy says “he caught the rope as he fell and must have kept his hold till he reached the water.”

The woman at once ran to alarm the neighbours, but when the bucket was drawn up there was no trace of the child. Every effort was then made for its recovery, and as soon as a strong rope could be obtained George Eales went down, and found the boy struggling in the water. Holding on to the rope with one hand, he succeeded with much difficulty in tying with the other hand another rope round the body of the child, which was then drawn to the surface. Eales ascended afterwards.

The child was livid and had all the appearance of being drowned, but was, after several hours treatment, restored to animation. George Eales, who is fifty-eight years of age, was faint and exhausted when he reached the surface, owing to the foul air at the bottom of the shaft. The well from which he rescued the boy is 258 feet deep with 12 feet of water in it.

It took five minutes to lower the man to the water and about the same time to raise him to the top of the well, and fully twenty minutes was occupied in securing the child and tying the rope.

Eales tried, after getting the boy on his knee, to raise him to his chest and bring him to the top of the well with his arm round him, but finding himself too much overcome to attempt this he remained below until the other was drawn up, then the rope being again lowered he was brought to the surface in a similar manner.

George Eales risked his life in this rescue, and throughout showed great courage and coolness.

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