Mexborough and Swinton Times, September 15th 1906
Denaby Child Drowned At Mexboro’.
Mr. D. Wightman, Coroner, on Tuesday last, at the Rerseby Arms Hotel, Denaby Main, held an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Walter Stanley Hesketh, seven years of age, who was found drowned in the canal near the Pastures Bridge at Mexboro’, on the previous Monday. The foreman of the jury was Mr. R. Soar.
Charles Heasketh, miner, 25, Tickhill street, Denaby Main, stated that he was the father of the deceased, whom he had last seen alive at about 4-45 a.m. on Monday, when the child was lying asleep in bed. The next he heard of the deceased was that he was drowned. Witness had previously warned deceased against going near the canal, and had gone to the extent of chastising him for the habit.
John Thomas Oliver, a child of six years, stated that he was with deceased lad on the day in question, gone to fish on the canal bank near the bridge at the Pastures. Deceased had expressed his intention of going in the water to swim, and had taken off his jacket, when he fell in shouting out, ‘Johnny, Johnny. I’m failing.’ Witness had then gone to summon assistance. He was quite sure that deceased had fallen in the water, and had not walked in.
John Allen, boatman, Kilnhurst, stated that he was at Mexboro’ on Monday, and hearing of the accident arrived at the Pastures Bridge about five o’clock in the evening, eventually succeeding in recovering the body of deceased by means of a boat-hook. Deceased was minus a jacket and cap, but was otherwise properly dressed. When the body was recovered the child was quite dead, witness explained to a juryman who enquired whether artificial respiration had been restored to.
The Coroner remarked that while there was a canal, with people living near it (and those people would have children) they would have accidents. A river or canal side was a great inducement to boys who would play there preferably to a place where there was no water.
A verdict of ‘Accidental drowning’ was returned.