Mexborough & Swinton Times, November 18th, 1922
A Gallant Child
Life Sacrificed for his Little Brother
The above Photographs are of Arthur Thomas, aged 8, and his 2 brothers, the sons of George Thomas, a colliery storekeeper of Cliff Street. Arthur is the little boy with a picture book on his knee.
In the annals of bravery there could not be a more striking devotion, family love and faithfulness unto death. The conduct of the miner Aird, was both gallant and serviceable, but it is safe to say that there was not a lovelier deed performed in England that day than that of Arthur Thomas, who went to certain death because he could not see his little brother drowned.
An inquest was held by Mr Frank Allen at the Denaby Main Institute on Monday on the body of Arthur Dow Thomas, aged eight, son of John Samuel Thomas, colliery storekeeper of 52 Cliff View, Denaby Main. The lad lost his life by drowning in the canal on Sunday during an attempt to save the life of his younger brother. The younger boy was rescued.
The father said he last saw the boy live at two o´clock on Sunday afternoon. The lad went with his younger brothers to see the War Memorial at Mexborough. The body was brought home at 5.20.
Rachel Croft (14) of 24, Annerley Street, said that on Sunday afternoon, about 4.45 she was on the Pastures Bridge and saw the three boys on the canal bank. The youngest boy lost his balance and fell into the water. Arthur shouted “I´ll save you!” and jumped in. He was soon in difficulties, and a Mr Aird came along and rescued he little boy but Arthur had disappeared. Witness took the younger boys coat off and saw the two home.
Ellen Tetley, 87, Cliff view, Denaby Main, said she was with the last witness, and corroborated her story.
George Aird, miner, of 94, Doncaster road, Denaby Main, said he did not see the lad fall in. He was called by the last witness, and saw the younger boy floating. He rescued him, and then try to save the other boy who was in the middle of the canal. Witness could only swim a little.
Joseph Wright, of 8, James Street, Mexborough, said he arrived on the scene at five o´clock. The younger boyhad then been rescued, and he was told another boy had been drowned.
Witness dragged the canal, and found the body at 5.30. Another boy fell in while witness was dragging but he was rescued.
The coroner, in returning a verdict of “accidentally drowned” expresses sympathy for the father and said that very great credit was due to Aird, not being a competent swimmer, for going in and trying to rescue the lads. He was very fortunate in being able to save one of the children.