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Woman saves four men after boat capsizes

Year 1947

Read by Roger Willoughby – Honorary Advisor and Governor, Royal Humane Society

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Ditty, Margaret Elizabeth, Mrs., Housewife, Cushendall Bay, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.

About 2.0 p.m. on the 20th August, 1947, four members of the Transport Drivers Annual Excursion went out in a boat, and when one of them dived overboard he capsized the boat with three of them, non-swimmers, in difficulties.

Mrs. Ditty, who was outside her caravan, swam out alone to their aid followed shortly afterwards by Harold Winter and Miss Mona Ryan, and between them they brought one of the men ashore. Mrs. Ditty then returned with Miss Margaret Campbell to the scene of the accident and found that a second boat, which had gone out to the rescue, had also capsized and one of the occupants was trapped underneath with his foot jammed in the bottom boards. Finding an unconscious man floating face downwards she and Miss Campbell supported his head above water until another boat arrived on the scene and assisted to get him on board. Mrs. Ditty then dived under the second upturned boat, released the man’s foot and assisted him to the boat and on board it. Harold Winter and Miss Ryan had then swam out again with Miss Ryan’s air dinghy and supported the remaining two men while all were either rowed or towed ashore by the rescue boat.

Rescue: 200 yards out in deep water, the strong ebb tide making conditions difficult to reach the shore from seaward.

The Silver Medal was awarded to Mrs Ditty and Bronze Medals to Harold Winter, Miss Mona Ryan, and Miss Margaret Campbell.

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