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Sailor jumps to the rescue following omnibus accident

Year 1870

Read by Dr. Kerstyn Comley – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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We, the undersigned, request you will do us the favour of bringing to the notice of the Directors of the Peninsular and Oriental Company the following statements showing the invaluable assistance rendered by Mr. R F. Briscoe, of that service, on the occasion of the fatal accident which occurred on the 23d instant at Bandora, near Bombay. Mr. Briscoe formed one of a party returning from a picnic at the above-named place, and was seated on the top of an omnibus with four ladies and several gentlemen. The horses becoming unmanageable when descending a hill, the vehicle was dashed against the wall, near or below which was a large, deep well Mr. Briscoe, with a sailor’s usual readiness, jumped from the omnibus and escaped unhurt. On learning that some of his companions had fallen into the well, without a moment’s hesitation, and at the imminent risk of his life, he descended and succeeded in rescuing Mr. P. A. R Oldfield, who was in a state of extreme exhaustion ; he further endeavoured to raise the bodies of the unfortunate ladies who perished, again and again diving for that purpose, there being fifteen feet of water in the well. Finding his efforts fruitless, and at the earnest request of his friends, he ascended, and then did all in his power to assist others of the party who had been injured in the fall from the omnibus.

When means were procured for dragging the well, none of the natives being willing to recover the bodies, Mr. Briscoe volunteered to do so, and again descended the well, and after very great exertions was successful — first bringing Miss Philips and afterwards Madame Vinay to the surface. When Mr. Briscoe was taken from the well he was found to be in a state of complete prostration, caused by his prolonged efforts, the foul air, and stagnant water.

We have great pleasure in subscribing our names to this testimonial, which we think is justly due to Mr. Briscoe for the gallantry, humanity, and devotion which he displayed throughout the awful catastrophe which has been above described.

Thomas Stock, Brigadier-General
Agnes M. Howard. Sabina Sheppard.
T. S. Warden, Major, Brigade-Magor.
C. Sargent, Judge, High Court.
John Lumsdaine, Surgeon-Major.
John Watts, Captain, Staff Corps.
P. A. R. Oldfield.
B. Warden, Judge, High Court.
Avec la plus profonde reconnaissance, J. V. Vinay.
J. Gibbs, Judge, H.M. High Court.
Fraser Salter Hore.
Isabella Hore.
Payne Barras, Major, Bombay Staff Corps.
C. Archibald Langley.
S. M’Culloch, Barrister-at-Law. For Nessie M’Culloch.
J. S. White, Captain, R.E.
H. J. Stock, Captain, Staff Corps.
G. M. E. Green.

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