1831, a dreadful summer for accidents
From Henry Tourtel of St Martin's Commonplace Book, 1817-1831, in the Library.
27th July 1831. Mr Martin, Vaudin, and Paint. The three of them went out early one morning to Fermain Bay. Mr Paint was 21 years old and the only son of Mrs Paint of Vauvert. He went bathing and unfortunately drowned; although he had only been under the water for a quarter of an hour when a doctor arrived nothing could be done for him.
16th August 1831. Isaac Batiste son of Thomas of the Câtel Parish, swimming off the Banques with a man named Ferbrache, got cramp [la crampte] and drowned.
26th August 1831. Around 4 in the morning, three soldiers of the 95th regiment who had obtained leave for the evening were returning to Fort-George when they decided to go for a swim below the Royal Artillery Barracks, and Smith was drowned and Kelly went to help him and was drowned too. Reed did not try to help them for fear of drowning himself; instead he went to Fort George to report the sad news of the accident.
4th September 1831. Jean Simon senior went for a walk along the shore and fell in the sea and drowned.
14th September 1831. Rachel Le Prevost daughter of Sieur Pierre Le Prevost of the Câtel, while delirious, threw herself into a well near her father's house. She was pulled out lifeless.
23rd October 1831. Pierre Smith was found dead on the North Quay. He was a sailor on board the brig William, and since the mate lived in the country, he asked him to watch the boat during the night. Saturday evening he was seen at the Market around 8 o'clock; nothing could be traced of his whereabouts after that point until he was found dead, face down, with no obvious serious injuries. The next day there was an inquest, with a verdict of accidental death. He leaves a young widow and three small children to mourn him.
12th October 1831. Thomas Sebire was coming back in his boat from fishing, and as he came into St Sampson's Harbour, he was struck by a gust of wind, which overturned the boat. They are pretty sure that this poor man, when the wind came, tried to manipulate the sheets but that a knot in the ropes prevented them from running and that this caused the accident, made all the worse because his poor wife was on her way down to meet him with her basket ready to help him unload his fish. But you can imagine how awful it was for her when she saw him just about to land and how painful when she witnessed him instead swallowed up by the waves, and disappear for ever! He leaves a young child. The same evening they retrieved the boat, but could not find poor Sebire, despite the best efforts of all the fishermen in the area.
1st October 1831. Pierre Dodd was found drowned near the grandes maisons. At the inquest it emerged that Dodd and William Olliver left the harbour on the 30th September in a boat, piloted out of the harbour on their way to Bec du Nez. It is assumed that on their way back the boat overturned in the same unpleasant squall we had felt the effects of during the afternoon. Although he had a wooden leg he was a good swimmer, and when his body was picked up he was only wearing his shirt and stockings, which makes you think he had tried as hard as he could to save himself. Nothing has yet been heard of Mr Olliver or his boat.
29th September or October 1831. The wife of Martin Burke, a soldier in the garrison at Castle Cornet, whose name was Doris Ockensen, killed herself by slitting her throat from ear to ear.
2nd December 1831. They found the body of Captain Torode, Commander of the Dove cutter, of this Island, which was calling here for a few days ..... [From the French.]