21 June 1879: Drowning of a Soldier at the Fort

Littlehampton News

21 June 1879

Yesterday morning five or six of the men now stationed at the Fort for ball practice were bathing. It was nearly high water; and among them was a soldier named Buttery, a single man, belonging to the 35th Regiment, who jumped off the works in the harbour, and swam about for some little time. When he thought he would land he swam towards the harbour end of the west works, but found there a strong eddy which kept him off, and as he was becoming exhausted and was unable to conquer it, he called for help. Another soldier named Tanner, who had be bathing in the same way, went to his assistance; but had to abandon him, and with the greatest difficulty himself got ashore.The coastguard, seeing what was going on made a rush for their boat, and the ferryman, who saw the coastguard running, did the same to his; but they were all too late. When they reached the spot the drowning soldier had sunk for the last time. An effort was made to recover the body by the aid of drags but it was not successful. The unfortunate man- who appeared to be a moderately good swimmer- had almost completed his time of service. Some soldiers were near a boat, while the man was drowning; but they appeared to be dazed. The body was supposed to have been driven by the tide up the river. Dr Candy has been attending assiduously to Turner, who himself was almost drowned.

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