Thomas, Edwin





EB D25    Edwin Thomas, waterman: drowned in the yacht Mischief 1888

Edwin Thomas was aged 42 when he died. He left a widow and 11 children, 3 in the army and 8 still dependent.  A subscription list was opened to raise money for Thomas’s family, and Harry Ferguson’s widow paid the cost of the funeral arrangements. Certainly Thomas had a grander send-off than might have been expected, with an open hearse followed by four mourning carriages leaving his home at 7 Wellington Road, Silverhill on 3 September for the Borough Cemetery.  N.B. Thomas’s Christian name was given as Edward in the press reports, but it is Edwin on the headstone and in the burial records.

Footnote: The ashes of Edwin’s son Walter, 9 years old at the time of his father’s death, were scattered on the grave after his death in 1952 at the age of 73.

From the Hastings & St Leonards Observer, Saturday September 1st 1888:

“Sad Yachting Fatality

A Gentleman and His Engineer Drowned”.

According to the newspaper report, the previous Thursday,  William Henry Ferguson, a gentleman residing at Fairlawns, Hollington Park, had set out on a fishing trip in his yacht Mischief, crewed by its master Francis Balcombe, and the engineer of Ferguson’s steam launch, Edwin Thomas.  The yacht was moored off Warrior Square to collect Mr Ferguson, and then sailed to a point off Galley Hill. There were gusty winds that day: “it will be remembered that on Thursday morning a fresh S.S.W. wind was blowing, and it was thought necessary to put a stop to the Regatta, which had been commenced.” Balcombe was managing the sails and setting the trawl net when a squall hit the boat.  Balcombe shouted to Thomas to lower the haul yards in order to lower the mainsail, but before the latter could act, the yacht capsized, took on water, and sank.                              NEXT