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Watermen save Royal Page from drowning

Year 1784, J Turner, R Watson, G Patria, G Gains

Read by Diane Duke – Trustee, Royal Humane Society

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August 25, 1784


We whose names are hereunto subscribed, feeling it a material part of our duty to beat testimony to so distinguished an exertion of humanity and generosity as that which was displayed in our presence, by James Munday, Richard Beck, Thomas Lewis, John Marshall and George Hicks, watermen, on Thursday June the 17th, take the liberty of recommending them as highly worthy the reward advertised by the Humane Society, for such as venture their lives to save drowning persons.

Returning from a party of pleasure to Richmond, we perceived, at a considerable distance, a boy sinking in the river off Kew Palace, upon which we made to him with all possible diligence, but before we could get so near as to render as to render any assistance, the boy, exhausted with repeated endeavours to gain the shore, sank, to all appearance quite lifeless: when we reached the spot, he was discovered by his clothes, upon which three of the watermen (the other two taking care that the boat should not run upon him) with the greatest alacrity and eagerness leaped over-board and brought him up apparently dead : nor should we in relating a circumstance of this nature, pass over in silence the conduct of Mr. Semple, a Gentleman of the party, who with the greatest spirit plunged in, and, at the imminent hazard of his life, assisted the watermen in saving the boy, who proved to be the son of Mr. Cadman, one of his Majesty’s pages. Such was the good conduct of the watermen on this occasion, that all or each of us will readily attest the truth of the above facts, whenever it may become necessary so to do; and we are unanimous in our wishes, that they may be rewarded agreeable to the spirit of your most excellent Institution.

We have the honour to be, Sir, Your most humble servants,


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