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Simpson of Bussora.I


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The Terrible Boating Disaster…


The Terrible Boating Disaster at Aberavon. RECOVERY OF 22 BODIES. TWO MORE SUPPOSED TO BE MISSING. Removal of the Remains to the Rhondda Valley. HEARTRENDING SCENES. Interviews With Survivors and Eye-Witnesses. OPENING OF THE INQUEST. [BY OUR OWN REPORTER.1 The death-roll of the terrible boating fatality which occurred at Aberavon on Bank Holiday has reached a total of 22 certain. and the bodies of each of the victims have been recovered and identified. All through Tuesday an air of gloom hung over the little seaside borough of Aberavon. Small knots of people stood about in the principal streets of the town discussing the result of the catastrophe, and some sad scenes were enacted in the Victoria Hotel, where the bodies lay awaiting inspection by the coroner's jury. The early morning trains from the Bliondda Valley brought num- bers of the relatives and friends of those whose bodies had been recovered, and there were loud lamentations and weep- ng as a father recognised the corpse of his son, a mother that of her daughter' or a friend that of a dear companion or acquain- tance. Two more bodies were recovered during Tuesday morning, one at about 7.30 and the other at about a quarter past nine. They were those of Ada Knight, of Ystrad, fifteen years of age, and a lad named Charles Lewis, of Ponty- pridd. Both corpses, it appears, were washed up by the tide, in the sight of a large number of spectators, who had congregated on the beach, and the remains were removed by means of a trap to the lodge-room of the Victoria Hotel. The father of the girl Knight entered the impro- vised mortuary shortly before ten o'clock, and upon seeing the remains of his unfortunate daughter burst into a storm of tears. Every- body present was moved by the sad scene. One of the women drowned was Jane Dudlyke, of Ystrad-terrace, Ystrad, who was formerly bar- maid at the Y strad Hotel. THE BJiEAKvVAl'EB, PIER. THE CROSS SHOWS THE SPOT WxLtiliti THE BOAT CAPSIZED. The accompanying rough sketch of the Break- water Pier at Aberavon will enable the reader to obtain some idea as to the spot at which the sad catastrophe took place. It appears that the over-laden boat was in charge of the owner, William Bath (a married mau with two children), his brother, James Bath, and a tin-plate worker named John Cramp, and it was upon the boat with its living freight getting into a line with the extreme point of the pier, about the position 'shown by the cross in the sketch, that it was struck broadside on by the large wave with such lamentable results. A SUBJECT FOR INQUIRY. It will be a subject for inquiry as to whether those who were in charge of the boat were not, to say the least of it, very careless and indis- creet in allowing the boat to be so overcrowded. The boat is not licensed as a pleasure boat,and the water just at this point is not at all suitable for boating even on the calmest day. There is always a heavy surf just off the Breakwater Pier, and as the fresh water of the River Avon joins the salt water a short distance outside the pier a treacherous current is created. A sketch of the boat is given as part of this report. SKETCH OF THE BOAT. SOME SAD INCIDENTS. It is rumoured that one of the women who went out in the ill-fated boat had an infant with her, but up to the present no child's body has been recovered. Mr. Evan Llewel- lyn, the rate collector under the Ystrad Local Board, has lost a. niece and a cousin by the sad catastrophe. In a conversa- tion with our reporter in the afternoon Mr. Llewellyn, who exhibited great grief, stated that his neice was Cecilia Hopkins, a namesake of the woman who was saved. She was seventeen years of age, and a daughter of Mr. Hopkins, the well-known huntsman of Ystradyfodwg. His cousin was Miss Gwen Llewellyn, aged eighteen, of Ystrad Rhondda. He (Mr. Llewel- lyn) had accompanied the excursionists to Abor- avon on Monday, and had gone up to the railway station to place the luggage in readiness for the return journey when the catastrophe occurred. He had heard of the awful occurrence whilst pro- ceeding from the village to the beach, and1 his feel- ings upon hearing the sad tidings can be. better imagined than described. The mothers of the two victims were prevailed upon to return to Ystrad by the evening train, and they did so almost demented with grief. On Taes- day. morningtthef others- came down to Aberavon by the first train, and when they saw the I. dead bodies of their offspring lying stark and motionless in the lodge-room of the Victoria Hotel their grief knew no bounds. Mr. andi Mrs. David Brimble, Tyntyla-road, Ystrad, lost their two little daughters, one 15 and the other 8 years of age, and, sad to say, the nearly heart- broken parents saw their two little ones strugg- ling in the surf and were powerless- to render -them any aid. A nephew of Mr. andrMra. Brimbl&wsas saved. GRAPHIC NARRATIVE OF ONE OF THE RESCUED BOATMEN. William Bath, the owner of the ill-fated boa £ which is ordinarily used for pilot purposes, Wa.;1 married man, and has two children. His father Us dead, bid; his widowed mother resides at the.i iSandfields. Bath, who Uvea at the wharf, seems 'to feel his position acutely, and appears to have become so stupefied by the occurrence that he cannot give a very intelligible descrip- tion of what occurred. Our representative, how- ever, managed to hunt up John Cramp, of 64, Water-street,. Aberavon,, and found, him ready. dent ocourred. Cramp, together with William Bath and his brother John Bath, was in charge of the boat which capsized. He (Cramp) is a. tin worker at the Glanwallia Tin-plate Works, and on Monday was spending a holiday on the beach. William Bath and his brother had been taking excursionists out in the boat during the morning. When the boat started on its ill- fated journey Cramp took an oar to relieve John Bath, who felt tired after previous exertions. We started from the sands," said John Cramp, in reply to our representative, and the young men and women scrambled in until the boat was full. I could not tell you how many were in the boat, neither do I remember whether William Bath raised any objection to so many getting into the boat." "Did Bath make a charge of each excursionist who took his or her seat in the boat," queried our reporter. No, I don't think he did. His practice was to let them give whatever they felt inclined to." Was there very much surf breaking at the time when you put off ?" Well, no, not inside the Breakwater Pier." The tide was full up ?" Not quite full up. In fact, it was beginning to ebb." Well P" We rowed out until we came in line with the extreme point of the Breakwater Pier. Then we found the surf rather strong and we pro- ceeded to turn the boat in order to return. Just when we were doing so a heavy swell came towards us, and those who were sitting on the side of the boat nearest the wave (and they were nearly all men) attempted to avoid getting wet by leaning over towards the other side. A big wave caught the boat broad- side, and, there being so much weight on the side nearest to the shore, she immediately capsized. We were all thrown into the water, and com- menced struggling. I sunk; but being able to swim, managed to come to the surface again. Then I did my best to keep afloat until help arrived, but it was a hard battle, and I frequently gave myself, up for lost. Seeing a boat put out to our aid, however, I renewed all my energy to keep on the surface, and after being in the water from ten minutes to a quarter of an hour I was picked up by the boat in charge of Thomas Jones and Wm. Durham in an exhausted condi- tion. Owing to the roughness of the water I was unable to see many of the others who were struggling to keep afloat, but I noticed one or two clingjng to the oars in a frantic attempt to save themselves. William Bath, I understand, was under the boat in the water, but succeeded in extricating himself and olambering up the side. Then he threw himself once more into the water and swftm towards the rescuing boats, of which there were two-the one I have mentioned and the pilot boat, in which were Mr. Hare and Mr. Snook. William Bath was also picked up in an exhausted state, and John Bath, who was fonnd clinging to the boat, was also rescued. The bulk of those who wore thrown out of the boat must have sunk almost immediately. It was a terrible experience, and I hope I may never go through such a time again. Neither William Bath, John Bath nor myself are skilled in the management of boats, but we have had occasional practice in rowing. I don't think the accident would have happened if those in the boat had only kept their seats." INTERVIEWS WITH RESCUED PAS- SENGERS. The following interviews with several of those who were rescued will be read with interest Enoch J. Brimble, a lad, said :—" I sat half way in the boat. The girls sat in the front, and the boys in the stern. After passing the pier the sea was very choppy, and on the boat turn- ing it was struck by a big wave, and the girls got frightened and rushed all to one side, which made the boat capsize. I tried, while in the water, to grasp the boat, but failed. I next saw an oar, and I put my hands over it. The girl Lilian Hopkins caught my jacket, and I bhen seized her skirt, and v/e both managed to keep afloat until the boat came with Mr. Snook in it." The little boy, David Brimble, an exceedingly sharp lad. who sat in his father's lap, answered the questions put to him in a, very clear manner. He said, Myself and the girl Brimble were standing in the boat when a, sea struck the boat and upset it. I climbed to the top of the boat, and a girl caught my leg and I helped her up on the boat." The girl Louisa James was next seen, but she remembered nothing whatever of the occur- rence. The little girl C. Hopkins said: "I was in the boat at the time. The boat went over sud- denly. There was no rushing to the side or screaming at all. The boat went over before we could rush to the side. I floated close to the boat, and caught hold of the upturned bottom. A man caught hold of me, and helped me to get in another boat. A little boy who caught hold of my dress was also pulled into the other boat. NARRATIVES BY EYE-WITNESSES. One of our reporters on Tuesday paid a visit to a few of the visitors to Aberavon on Mon- day, and calling at the house of Mr. Brimble, at 86, Tyntyla-road, Ystrad, hi met the son, T. R. Brimble, a young lad of about seventeen years of age, who sa.ld I went with the three schools to Aberavon yesterday, and was on the beach with a number of friends. I heard a shout from the shore that the boat was sinking, and I looked towards the sea. I saw the boat cap- sizing, as it were, and its bow disappearing under the waves. The occupants were screaming and only their heads were in sight above the water. My brother was in the boat. He was the smallest in it, but somehow or other he caught hold of the bottom of the boat and was saved. When the rescuers arrived at the spot he was quite overcome and was vomiting sea water. He is a courageous young lad and stuck to the boat like grim death. If you go to my uncle, Mr. Benjamin Williams, he will give you fuller information, for he was among those saved." Our reporter then proceeded to the house of Mr. Benjamin Williams, who resides next door to the Heolfach Post-office, but he, with others, had gone to Aberavon to see about the removal of the body. His sister, Miss Elvira Williams, was, however, at home, and volunteered to give information. She said she had never been in a boat, and never would go. Moreover, she added, Four young ladies invited me to go with them. I refused. Then they left the shore, and as 1 was anxious about my two little cousins I called after them. They took no heed of my cries, but called back and said I was a baby for not going. I watched the boat for a while, and then turned to amuse myself with the others. Presently I heard a scream, and naturally turned seawards, where I saw the occupants of the boat struggling in the waves. My brother was in the boat and so were three cousins-the Brimbles. Another cousin, who had only been here with us for a short while—and she came from Gloucester-was lost, and her bodyhas not yet been found." Miss Jenkins, Heolfach, said: "I was in the boat that picked some of the saved up. Our boat was about fifteen yards away. They were going out, and we had just turned back to come in. They were singing and saying, 'We are going to America.' A big wave came over them and nearly filled the boat, and then another wave came and upset the boat. Those in the water were screaming and holding up their hands. The boatman in our boat wanted to go back at once to them, but he had first to put some of his passengers on the shore. sThen we went back to the place where the others were in the water. One of the men threw a chain towards the struggling people, and one .caught hold of-it, and was pulled into our boat. There were then fourteen altogether in our boat" There were then fourteen altogether in our boat" LIST Off BODIES RECOVERED AND IDENTIFIED. The following is a list of bodies recovered and identified up to Tuesday evening:- Gwen Llewellyn (18), 17, William-street, Ystrad. Mary Powell <17), Tyntyla-road, Ystrad. Jane Dudlyke (22), 4, Ystrad-terrace, Ystrad. Harriet Brimble (8), 6, Tyntyla-road, Ystrad- Elizabeth Ann Brimble (15), 6, Tyntyla-road, Ystrad. Ti& ■* William Rees (16), William-street, Ystrad. Daniel Evans (28), Gelli-crossing, Ystrad. David Lloyd (17), Gelligaled-terrace, Ystrad. Charlotte Ceazar (17), Gelli-crossing, Ystrad. Janet A. Meyrick (17),23, Shady-road, Ystrad. Thomas Jones, William-street, Ystrad. Margaret Harris (12), Bute-street, Treherbert. Gwilym Thomas (16), Riverside, Ystrad. Joseph Atkinson (13), William-street, Ystrad. Richard James Lewis (15), Blaenwlaw-street, Treherbert. Ada Knight (16), Heolfach, Ystrad. David H. Thomas (16), 7, Baglan-street, Tre- herbert. David James Thomas (16), 16, Gwendoline- street, Treherbert. Charles Lewis (17), woollen improver, Ponty- pridd. William Whiting (20), Glendower-street, Tre- herbert. The following is a list of those saved:- Robert John Williams (15), 77, William-street, Ystrad. Enoch John Brimble (15), 61, Gelligaled- terrace, Ystrad. } W-road, Louisa James (17), 10, Ystrad.terrace, Ystrad. David W. Brimble (6), Ystrad. E. W. Evans, 7, Campbell-terrace, Llwynypia. Henry Grsle (17), Gelligaled-terrace, Ystrad. James and William Bath, Aberavon. John Cramp, Aberavon. REPORTED TO BE MISSING. The following are reported to be missing :— Thomas Jones (18), Williams-street, Ystrad. John Thomas Pritchard (9), Treherbert. REMOVAL OF THE BODIES. Orders for coffins were given to Messrs. J. and S. Rees, contractors and builders, of Aberavon, and a number of them were ready early in the afternoon in time to allow of the removal of bodies to the homes of the victims in the Rhondda Valley during the evening. ARRIVAL OF THE BODIES AT YSTRAD. Later in the afternoon the postmaster at Heolfach received the following telegram, which he exhibited in the window of the post-office :— Cecilia Hopkins, Mark Powell, E. A. Brimble, H. Brimble, G. Llewellyn, A. Meyrick, Gwilym Thomas, D. W. Lloyd, Gwilym Rees, Atkinson, and Williams, will be up by 6.20 train from here. Two others with 8.30 from here. Make this known.—CAS. Consequently a large crowd of people congre- gated at the Ystrad Station when the train conveying the bodies arrived at 7.30 p.m., and considerable sensation was caused when two carts containing a number of biers arrived. When the train containing the bodies and a. number of the relatives and friends steamed into the station the vast multitude showed every sign of sympathy, and as the eleven coffins were carried to the homes of the deceased victims crowds of spectators thronged the streets, and the scene which ensued was of a most harrowing description. 1 i OPENING OF THE INQUEST. Mr. Howel Cuthbertson, county coroner, of Neath, on Tuesday afternoon opened an inquest in the magistrates' room at Aberavon Police- station on the body of Gwenllian Llewellyn and the other victims of the catastrophe. Major Jones was elected foreman of the jury, and the general public were admitted during the pro- ceedings. Having sworn the jurymen, the Coroner said he was very sorry that he had come down there on such a sad occasion as that. It was a ter- rible thing that 21 persons who had left their homes for a day's recreation should meet with their death in such an awful manner. He was afraid from what he had heard that there might be two or three more bodies not yet recovered. It was a very sad calamity, and for his part he sympathised wih the relatives of the deceased, and he was sure the jury sym- pathised also. All he intended to do that day was to take evidence of identification, and issue his warrant, so that the bodies could be taken away to their homes, and he trusted to appoint a suitable day for the holding of the inquest, when they would take evidence as to how the catastrophe happened, and whether there was anybody to blame or not. Mr. Evan Llewellyn, rate collector under the Ystrad Local Board, was the first witness called. He had seen the body of Gwen Llewellyn. She was eighteen years of age, and lived at home with her parents, her father, Evan Llewellyn, being a quarryman. Witness also knew Har- riet Lina Brimble, whose father's name was David Brimble. Elizabeth Aim Brimble was fifteen years of age. Gwilym John Rees was aged sixteen, and followed the vocation of a tailor. Charlotte Ceazer was between seventeen and eighteen years of age, and resided with her parents, her father, John Ceazer being a collier. Mary Powell was seventeen years of age last birthday, and lived at home with her parents. Her father's name was William Powell, and he was an insurance agent. Witness also knew DanielEvans, who was a colliery fireman, aged 28 years. Cecilia Hopkins lived at home with her parents, her father being a collier. Janet Ann Meyrick was seventeen years of age, and lived at home with her step-father and her mother. Her father, W. Meyrick, had been a quarry- man, Joseph Atkinson was a door-boy under- ground, and thirteen years of age. Stephen Whiting, Treherbert, was next called, and stated that his son, William Whiting, was 24 years of age, and was a collier. He was a single man. Mr. Evan Llewellyn then identified the bodies of Jane Dudlyke and Ada Knight, the latter being sixteen years of age and the adopted child of Enoch Brimble. William Thomas, con- tinued witness, was sixteen years of age and the son of William Thomas, checkweigher. John Lloyd, Ystrad Rhondda, identified the body of his son, D. W. Lloyd,who was a collier, and sixteen years of age. The body of Margaret Harris was identified by Edward Davies, Treorky, her uncle. She was twelve years of age, and her father was a colliery overman. Louisa Bonnor, married, gave evidence of identification with regard to the remains of Richard James Lewis, her brother, who was a collier, and fourteen years of age. David Thomas, Treherbert, said David Henry Thomas was his son. He was seventeen years of age, and a collier. Rees James, Treherbert, identified the corpse of David John Thomas, his nephew, a collier, aged sixteen years. Thomas Lewis, Pontypridd, said his son Chas. Lewis, was seventeen years of age, and an improver in a woollen factory. The inquest was adjourned until 10.30 o'clock on Tuesday morning next. RECOVERY OF ANOTHER BODY. At half-past nine o'clock on Tuesday evening the body of Tom Jones, eighteen years of age, was brought to the Victoria Hotel, Aberavon, by conveyance, the body having been recovered near Briton Ferry, by some workmen. The news arrived that the body had been recovered prior to the departure of the 8.30 p.m. train, Rhondda and Swansea Bay Railway, by which a. brother of the deceased was going to Ystrad. On hearing the news the brother abandoned his i'ourney, and proceeded at once, in a trap, to Jriton Ferry. SYMPATHY FROM MR. W. WILLIAMS, M.P. Mr. William Williams the member of Parlia- ment for the Swansea. District, has wired the Mayor of Aberavon expressing his deepest regret at the lamentable disaster, and offers his sincerest sympathy with the relatives of the lost ones in their bereavement. THE NEED OF REGISTRATION. TO THE EDITOR OF THE "WESTERN MAIL." SIR,-How long will the authorities allow such accidents to take place without doing any- thing to prevent them ? I have seen boats leave this beach with from eighteen to twenty excur- sionists in them, when half the number would be more than ought to be carried. I would suggest that all boats be registered to carry a certain number, and a maximum charge fixed for that number per hour.—I am, &c., A RESIDENT. Mumbles Beach, August 8.











Movements of Local Vessels.