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Man dives under ice to rescue girl

Year 1888

Read by Dr. Charles Lee – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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Battison, Albert, Boy, H.M.S. Impregnable.

Stanhope Gold Medal 1888.

On the 29th December, 1887, the Soar at Leicester being frozen, a girl named Annie Freer attempted to cross it on the ice when she broke through and became immersed in fourteen feet of water. A man went out part of the way to the girl’s assistance but returned, failing in his attempt to reach her.

Battison then went on the ice, actually dived under it, got hold of the girl, and in coming up broke the ice with his head; he succeeded in bringing the girl to the surface and afterwards to the shore.

The officer commanding the boy’s ship states that he cannot imagine a greater risk than that attendant on the act. “If the lad had not been able to break the ice he would in all probability have been drowned.” He considers “diving under the ice for a drowning person perhaps the greatest act of bravery that anyone can perform, the risk being so great.”

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