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Lieutenant saves seaman from drowning

Year 1846

Read by Adam Gilbert – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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July 16, 1846

On the 16th July 1846, as James Bradford, a seaman, was casting loose the frapping of the jolly-boat on the starboard quarter of the “Naiad,” sixty-four gun frigate, under the command of Lieut. J. W. Finch, the boat swung or heeled over, and the man fell over the bows into the water at a time when the tide was running with unusual strength out of the harbour, and the wind blowing nearly half a gale. The cry of “A man overboard” was instantly raised; when Lieut. Finch, who was in his cabin dressing at the time, looked out, and saw the man struggling in the tide. He threw off what garments encumbered him and plunged through the port into the water. At this time Bradford had sunk twice and was carried at a rapid rate from the ship, being no swimmer.

Mr. Finch, however, followed, and persevered in his humane exertions to save the man’s life, in which he happily succeeded. After being in the water a quarter of an hour, he got his man (to all appearance dead) on board a victualling hoy- boat, where the usual remedies were applied. Lieut. Finch was much bruised in plunging naked through the port-hole and clearing the side of his ship.

This is not the first time Mr. Finch has similarly risked his own life to save that of his fellow-creatures, although he is a married man, and has a young family looking up to him for support. In 1840 he, assisted by three others, saved the crew of a vessel wrecked of Seaham, and received the honorary bronze medal of the Royal Humane Society.

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