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Author Topic: Boat Collapses, Killing Five  (Read 2419 times)

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Offline kyn

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Boat Collapses, Killing Five
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2011, 21:08:51 »
On the 19th July, 1935, six men left the chalk and lime works at Halling where they were employed and headed to their boat which they used to get to and from work.  On this day they travelled to Rochester in the morning and after spending the day there began their return journey to Halling, not long after setting off their boat capsized throwing all six men into the water, out of the six men only one survived by hanging onto an oar until being picked up by a dredgerman.  The survivors name was Matthew Monk, those that died were John Taylor, William Harris, John Harris (William’s brother), Thomas Batty and John Durrant.  Each of the bodies was picked up and an inquest was held by Mr. Thomas Patten, the Coroner of Rochester.
Matthew Monk, a lime burner, gave evidence and said:  I came yesterday morning in a boat with the deceased persons above named from Halling.  We got to Rochester at about half past 10 o’clock, and landed near Ladbury’s Quay.  We remained in Rochester during the day.  We went to Mr. Simmon’s House (the King’s Arms public house), and drank some beer.  We had nothing to eat.  We were none of us the worse for liquor when we left the King’s Arms.  On leaving the King’s Arms we went to Chatham (that is, three of us, William Harris, John Durrant, and myself); Taylor remained at the King’s Arms till we returned.  John Harris and Thomas Batty went as far as the first bank (St Margaret’s Bank) with us, and then left us.  We all agreed to meet at the boat at 3 o’clock; the boat was lying off Ladbury’s House.  William Harris, John Durrant, and myself, went into the GreenMan public house, Chatham and drank two pots of porter between three of us; we returned to Ladbury’s, and on the walk leading from the bridge to Ladbury’s fell in with our companions.  I saw Thomas Batty and John Harris in the Post-boys public house on passing.  I went in and drank a little beer with them.  On reaching the boat we found her afloat off Ladbury’s.  We were obliged to walk in the water a short distance before we could get into the boat.  There was a mast standing in the boar, having sailed down from Halling in the morning.  I remember we all got into the boat.  I think Taylor sat in the stern (he was an old man between 60 and 70 years of age), but Batty, I believe was to steer.  The sail was round the mast; it was a spritsail, and there was a jib.  John Harris and John Durrant knew a little about the management of a boat, and took charge of her.  I sat down in the bottom of the boat to allow the sail to jib over (both on coming down and returning to Halling).  A short time after I had been in the boat, I think about 10 minutes, the boat swamped over, and we were all shot out into the river.  I caught hold of an oat which I found floating.  It kept me up till I was picked up by Thomas Featherstone.
A verdict of accidental death was given by the Jury.


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