AV H15 -
On 3rd July 1877 Rowland Goodsell of Halton went for a bathe in the sea with his friend James Dawson “by the East Well”. According to James Dawson, he himself had stayed near the shore, but Goodsell was four or five yards out, and out of his depth. The Hastings News of 3 August 1877 reported on the inquest into the death. “Deceased could swim a little. After deceased had been in the water about five or ten minutes he [Dawson] saw him kick a little”.
A surgeon, Charles Ashenden Esq. who had gone down to the beach “to order a boat off to a brig”, persuaded a fisherman to wade in to fetch the boy while a rescue boat was launched. When the boat was launched “deceased was hauled in by means of a net, and he was on the beach in about eight minutes from the time he sank.” Ashenden spent forty minutes trying to resuscitate the boy, but without success.
The attendant appointed by the Royal Humane Society, named only as Roper in the inquest report, was questioned as to why he had not
been present until after the boy was brought back to shore, and he replied that it was “after his time”.There was some debate about whether Roper should have been on the spot with his boat launched at all times when people were bathing regardless of his hours of work, and the Coroner “undertook to communicate with the Secretary of the Royal Humane Society the concern that such an accident should be avoided in future.”
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death by drowning.
Twelve years later, the Hastings News of the 5th July 1889 contained a paragraph on the death by drowning of Rowland's brother William in an item headed “An Ore man drowned at Bodiam”. ”Mr William Goodsell, a young man living at Percy Terrace, Ore, was drowned in the moat at Bodiam Castle on Sunday. It appears that the deceased, whilst in the water in search of water lilies, was seized with cramp and was drowned before he could be rescued.