London Daily News 19 January 1905

Report in the London Daily News 19 January 1905 – “DISTRESSING ICE ACCIDENTS – BOYS’ FATAL RESCUE ATTEMPTS”; a record of the part Walter Maddox played in the attempted rescue of five children in what became known as The Bettisfield Ice Tragedy.

“A distressing ice fatality occurred at the village of Bettisfield, near Ellesmere, Salop, today, by which five children lost their lives. When the children were dismissed from school at noon they raced down to Kynaston’s Pool going to what proved to be a death trap, with light hearts. They had not been on the ice more than a minute when it gave way, and five children were precipitated into the water.
The cries of those on the bank brought willing helpers to the scene, and dragging operations were commenced with all speed. After three hours’ unremitting labour the body of the last child was recovered at four o’clock, at which hour two Flintshire policemen arrived from Overton and took charge of the bodies, which had been laid in the schoolroom to await an inquest.
The names of the children who lost their lives are Evelyn Hughes, Lucy Morris, Percy Moore, William Speakman and Jack Beckett.
The ice had to be broken with hatchets before the children were extracated. Walter Maddox, a schoolboy, displayed great heroism. Seeing his schoolfellows drowning, he bravely entered the water and succeeded in reaching one girl. She was locked in the arms of a drowning boy, and Maddox could not rescue her. In endeavouring to save his friend, Maddox well-nigh lost his life, for he was sinking when a man named Kelsall from a neighbouring farm rushed up with a rope and rescued him.”

London Daily News 19 January 1905

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