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Old Man's Tragic Fate - 1922

Hartlepool Northern Dail Mail, April 24th, 1922:
OLD MAN’S TRAGIC FATE Body Recovered from the Sea Near South Basin. The death under tragic circumstances occurred yesterday of an inmate of Hartlepool Workhouse. Peter Moran, aged 76, who had been in the Workhouse about a year, left that institution at 7-45 yesterday morning to attend service at the Roman Catholic Church. About noon he was seen at the end the south pier with his jacket off. He made an attempt to jump into the water, but was prevented. About 2.30 in the afternoon, however, was seen floating near the South Basin. He was got out of the water, and artificial respiration was tried, but without avail.
At the inquest this afternoon, Mr. G. E. Usher, Workhouse Master, gave evidence of identification, and stated that deceased had been at Howbeck House at different times – on this occasion since April 8th last year. Florence Bratt, of 38, Seamer Street, stated that deceased lodged with her for about 14 years. He was a labourer at the Steelworks, and when out of work went into the Workhouse. He worked fairly regularly up to a year ago and was hale and hearty, though according to his reckoning, he was 86 years old. He always used tell her that his people lived to be 99 or 104.
The Coroner: He may have been exaggerating a bit. On the Coroner pointing out that, according to the official information, deceased was 76—not 86 -witness said he always representing himself to be younger than was for fear of losing his work.
Proceeding, Mrs. Bratt said deceased was in the habit on Sunday mornings of going to her house and having a cup tea, but when called yesterday morning he would not have any tea, which she thought strange. He stayed till about 11-45, playing with her little girl—a child six.
“Going To Have a Swim.” Harrv McDonald, of 27 Ann Street, said he was fishing at the end of the pier at about noon, yesterday, when he noticed a hat, jacket, and stick on the pier wall, and going to the spot saw deceased in a crouching posture as though about to throw himself into the water. Witness just caught him in time, and asked him what he was doing. The old man replied that was “going to have a swim”. Witness got him to put his coat and hat on, and took him off the pier, leaving him near the Ward-Jackson Hotel. Witness thought the old man somewhat strange and would have given him in charge of a policeman had he seen one. Later witness heard that an old man had been drowned off the South Jetty, and went to the spot, assisting in the recovery of deceased. Artificial respiration was tried, but without success.
Efforts at Rescue. John Kenny, seaman, spoke to his efforts at rescue. He took off his coat and waistcoat and went in from the jetty. He got hold of the man, and with the assistance constable they got him on to the side of the jetty. The Coroner certified a verdict that deceased took his own life by drowning, whilst temporarily of unsound mind. He commended the conduct of Kenny, whose action, he said, was an extremely brave one. He did all he could to save the man’s life, and no doubt had he been on the scene a few minutes sooner he would have done so. He was not quite certain whether it were possible in a case of this kind to recommend him for recognition by the Royal Humane Society. If it were possible he would certainly do so.

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