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Man saves multiple lives from drowning

Year 1935

Read by Alexander Grandy – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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Jagannathrao Krishnarao Bhonsle, Lieut., 5th Mahratta Light Infantry.

About 5.30 p.m. on 13th January, 1935, Capt. and Mrs. Horsley and two friends got into difficulties whilst bathing in a rough sea and strong wind at Cannanore, Malabar, S. India, and being visitors, were unaware of the strong undercurrents set up under these conditions. Mrs Horsley, on finding herself being swept seaward, called to her husband for assistance, but he was unable to tow her back owing to the adverse current. Mr. Aitken grasping the situation, stayed with Mrs. Horsley and encouraged her to float, whilst her husband and other friend were washed ashore on the rocks in a semi-conscious condition. An officer on the cliff top, seeing the four persons in difficulty, procured a rope, which was too short to reach them from the beach.

Lieut Bhonsle volunteered to swim out to their aid, but owing to the conditions being such that he would in all probability have sacrificed his own life also, he was forbidden to do so by a senior officer present. The two persons were now observed being swept inshore round the promontory into the next bay. Lieut. Bhonsle took the rope, scaled the jagged cliff of the promontory, finally reaching a high isolated rock at the extremity. Seeing that the two persons were again being swept seawards, he tied the rope around his waist, left the other end to be tended by some men who had just arrived, dived in, swam out 40-50 yards, tied the rope around Mrs Horsley, who was then pulled back to the rock, whilst he himself assisted Mr. Atkins to swim there. Great difficulty was experienced in hauling the three persons up the 10-15 ft. high rock. Lieut. Bhonsle had to remain clinging to the jagged rock under these dangerous conditions until the others had reached safety, when he, too, was hauled up, completely exhausted.

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