Copy of inquest document
from the time.
added this as an insight of the times. Many soldiers from the
Regiments lost their lives by drowning in Australian Waters
Supplied by Peter Watson firstname.lastname@example.org
- Extract from C.S.O. 20/155 (Microfilm) Battye
Library Colony of Western Australia
- Enquiry into the causes of the death of Thomas
Farmer a private in His Majesty's 63rd regiment of foot
taken at Perth in the said colony on Friday the twenty
fourth day of February 1832 before the undersigned
justices. Edward Barron, Colour Serjeant of His Majesty's
63rd Regiment of foot being duly sworn saith -
- Yesterday morning about six o' clock I
accompanied the deceased along with George Hodges and
William Steel, two Privates of my regiment to the Flats
to bring back a flat boat belonging to Mr Trigg in which
Lieutenant Erskine's baggage had been conveyed the
previous day. We found the flat above mentioned along
with another small boat which we had also to bring back
lying under Mr Andrew's (pier). I told Steel and deceased
to go into the small boat and take a spell at the oars
while Hodges and myself got into the flat which was in
tow of the other boat.
- We had gone but a few yards from the bank when
the painter broke. The sea breeze was blowing choppy and
drifting the flat on shore on which account I called to
Steel to pull his small boat round. He tried but I saw he
could not pull it round. Upon which I told him to jump
out of the boat into the water knowing he was a good
swimmer and lay hold of the painter of the small boat and
bring it to me in the flat.
- Farmer on hearing me say this said there was no
necessity for anyone swimming hereunder he could find
bottom and at the same instant he jumped out. He was
immediately out of his depth and went down below the
surface. I called to Steel to lay hold of him and pull
him into the boat. Steel did accordingly pull him into
the boat. I ordered Farmer not to jump out of the boat
- Steel again jumped out and got hold of the
painter and as soon as Steel jumped out Farmer again
jumped out saying that he could find bottom. He
immediately struck out but I saw then he could not swim
and that he was beginning to paddle like a dog on which I
called to Steel to lay hold of him and at the same time I
undressed myself and jumped into the water after deceased
and was making towards him, and had got within about four
strokes of him when he went down. He never came up again.
- Steel swam round the boat while I dived down
after deceased but we never saw any trace of him.
Deceased was not in the least degree intoxicated. He had
been very unwell for the last three or four days but was
in very good spirits on the morning of the accident
- Sworn before W H Mackie, J B Wittenoom
- Edward Barron Col Sgt, 63 rd R William Steel,
Private in His Majesty's 63rd regiment of foot being duly
sworn saith -
- On hearing the evidence of Colour Serjeant Barron
read over to me, I confirm the same in every respect.
When I got Farmer into the small boat after he had jumped
out for the first time I said to him " For God's
sake Farmer, don't play the fool again".
- Mind the boat and I will take the painter to the
flat . After Farmer had gone down on his getting out a
second time, I swam round the boat and the serjeant dived
for him several times, but to no purpose. I am sure that
the deceased was not in the least intoxicated.
- Sworn before us. W H Mackie, J B Wittenoom
- William Marcus Carew a Lieutenant in His
Majesty's said regiment being duly sworn in saith -
- I accompanied Ensign Macleod this morning to The
Flats in consequence of hearing that Thomas Farmer, a
Private in my detachment had been drowned there the
previous morning. When we arrived there, the place of the
accident having been previously pointed out, we dragged
for a considerable time without effect. Until Ens.
Macleod saw something which attracted his notice in the
water and which on dragging at that spot was found to be
the body of the deceased.
- He was lying about ten feet depth of water. When
he came to the surface several crabs were observed upon
the corpse, which was in consequence much disfigured
about the face. No mark of outways violence was visible
on the body. He was dressed in his shirt trousers and
- Sworn before us. W H Mackie, J B Wittenoom W M
Carew. Lieut. 63rd Regmt.
- Donald Hume Macleod, an Ensign His Majesty' s
63rd regiment of foot being duly sworn saith -
- On hearing the evidence of Lieutenant Carew read
over to me, I confirm the same in every respect.
- Sworn before us: W H Mackie, J B Wittenoom.
- D H Macleod. Ensign. 63rdb Regmt.r John
Prendergast Lyttleton of Perth, aforesaid Assistant
Colonial Surgeon to the local government of the said
colony being duly sworn in saith -
- I was called upon yesterday afternoon in the
absence of Dr Milligan by Mr Pierce to inspect the body
of the deceased. There was no mark from the said violence
about the body, except what is normal after long
immersion. Hence I have not the least doubt that he met
his death by drowning. Sworn before me: W H Mackie J P
- © Copyright B & M Chapman
- Last revised: June 27, 2004.