Chester Courant and Advertiser for North Wales 11th May 1904
SAD DEE TRAGEDIES. FATE OF FISHERMAN. BODY WASHED ASHORE.
On Wednesday morning the dead body of a Parkgate fisherman named Thomas Robinson was found on the bank at Parkgate close to his own home, having been washed ashore after being in the water over six months. Last November he was drowned in the Deep by the swamping of his boat. The long and persistent search for the body, the relatives even going so far as to secure the services of a professional diver (an unprecedented step so far as this district is concerned), ended in failure. The only hope lay in the winter storms which have ere now roused the drowned fishermen of the Dee from their rest beneath the waves . Many storms have since swept over the estuary, but without effect, and now on a calm May morning the dead man, guided as it were by some mysterious influence finds his way six miles up the river with the tides and rests oppo site his desolate home. Robinson, who was a very strong swimmer, and an expert boatman, was only some two or three hundred yards from land when he sank, a distance he could have covered with ease under ordinary circumstances. Another fisherman, who followed immediately in his wake, however, states that Robinson never appeared on the surface. Latterly there have been many tales of his having been seen alive and well in Liverpool. A parallel case occurred in October fifteen years ago. Oharles Roscoe, of Parkgate the captain of a little schooner, went down in the estuary together with his hands, consisting of a man and boy. The two latter were found next day, but Roscoe did not come ashore until two days before the following Christmas, when he was found on the shore at Thursaston with a considerable amount of gold in his pocket. He was buried at Neston Church on Christmas Day.
The Coroner for West Cheshire. (Mr. J. C. Bate) held the inquest at Neston Court-house on Thursday morning.
Mrs. Ann Robinson, deceased’s widow, said she lived at Mills Cottages, Parkgate. She saw a body on the bank at six o’clock on Wednesday morning. Later in the day, when the body had been conveyed to a shed, she identified1 the body as that of deceased. He was 52 years of age, and was a fisherman. On November 10th he got up at three o’clock in the morning, and after having- a cup of tea with witness he said he would go out and see how the weather was. It was a stormy morning, and he said if it did not look any better he would come back again. He did not return. He was able to manage the boat by himself. The same day witness heard that the rough weather had caused the boat to sink and that deceased was drowned.
Thomas Matthews, Parkgate, said he was a fisherman. He saw deceased start out. Witness went out in a similar boat. It was stormy when they started, but the wind lightened. The accident occurred about 300 yards from the shore be- tween Caldy and Dawpool. Witness accompanied deceased and kept him in sight. He turned’ his head away for a moment to put his boat on the same tack, and when he looked around again he could see the tops of the masts of the boat only. A heavy sea must have swamped the boat. Witness hurried to the scene of the disaster, but he saw nothing and could do nothing to save de- ceased. At the place where the boat went down the water was 26ft. deep. The boat was recovered a few days afterwards. Deceased had not got a fishing net out as he had over another mile to go before reaching the fishing ground.
The Coroner: Was it not rather dangerous to go out fishing? Witness: We have gone out before in weather like that.
Would it not be more dangerous when you got to the fishing ground. – No it would be much safer there.
What sails had he out? We were going down quietly under the jib and jigger.”
Would it be a heavy gust that upset him?- No, it was a heavy sea.
Had he tacked across? He was tacking across and was ready to put about on the other side.
Did this happen while he was putting about?- I expect that is what it would be.
He was a strong swimmer? – I believe he was.
William Milner, a fisherman living at Park- gate, stated that he found deceased’s body about seven o’clock on Wednesday morning. It was about five to six hundred yards out on the Parkgate bank. He remained with the body, which was lying face downwards half buried in the sand. Witness recognised the body.
JURY’S IMPORTANT RIDER.
The jury returned a verdict of Accidental death. The Foreman (Mr. William Tattersall) said that all the inhabitants wished that a mortuary should be placed on the shore. The jury had seen that morning that it was highly necessary that a place of that sort ought to be built.
The Coroner: The body is in a very bad condition. You have no provision in Parkgate for the reception of dead bodies?
The Foreman: No, but for the kindness of Mr. Woods, there would be no place at all. The body was not fit to be taken anywhere, and there are dwelling-houses near the shed in which it lies
Do you wish me to recommend the District Council to provide a mortuary?
A juror: Two or three bodies have had to lie on the shore.
The Coroner said the duty of providing a mortuary lay with the local authority. If the jury would get some members of the District Council to inspect the different mortuaries there were in that part of the county, something might be done. There was a fairly cheap one at Eastham. He would write to the clerk of the Council and ask him to put their expression of opinion before the next meeting of the Council.