Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A True Local Hero

At the end of my visit to Weaste Cemetery in Manchester, I tried to find the grave of one of four survivors of the Charge of the Light Brigade buried in the cemetery. I couldn't find it but stumbled across this intriguing headstone which reads: In Loving Memory of George William, the beloved husband of Susannah Fernley, who after saving 22 lives from drowning, died through the effects of his last attempt. November 30, 1904, aged 47 years.

According to a cemetery leaflet, George was a local hero who saved the lives of 22 drowning persons in Manchester and other parts of the world. He had distinguished himself at an early age rescuing horses that had stumbled into the Rochdale Canal. His first rescue was in 1880 when he saved the life of a man who fell into the canal. On three occasions in 1884, he rescued a boy from the canal. Unfortunately, the day after the third rescue, the boy was burned to death!

In 1886, he emigrated to Queensland, Australia, hoping to make his fortune in the goldfields, In the three years he was there, he performed more heroic feats. After bringing his wife to Australia, he rescued a man from the Brisbane River and then while returning to England, he rescued another in the Bay of Colombo, Ceylon. Back in England, he rescued more people and received the Salford Hundred Humane Society's medal. During his last rescue in 1902, he suffered internal injuries and never really recovered, dying two years later. A fuller account of his bravery can be found HERE.

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Welcome to the Graveyard Detective

An illustrated look at the World of Graveyards and Cemeteries. There are many Stories behind the Stones that Stand in them. Who knows what we might find?


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