13 September 1873: An Accidental Drowning

Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle

13th November, 1873

On Monday last F.J.Mallin Esq., coroner, held an inquest at the Littlehampton Fort, on the body of John Thornley, a private of the 107th Regiment, drowned in the sea on Saturday. From the evidence given by Private Patrick Callaghan, Lance Corporal John McCarthy, and Private Patrick McGuire, it appeared that the deceased soldier was 34 years of age, and had been 14 years in the service. He had been frequently punished for drinking, and on Friday he was intoxicated; on the Saturday he was in liquor, and he threw a basin of soup over the tables at dinner time. After dinner he slipped off, and, as the party deceased was under orders to march to the station, Callaghan and McCarthy were sent to search for him. An hour after dinner his body was found lying on the beach, naked and dead, with his clothes in a pile on the sand. He had evidently gone to bathe, but how he met his death there was no evidence to show, and the jury returned a verdict of “Accidently Drowned”.

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