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034-6 Charles Gotts a Hero

Charles Gotts, aged 34. Bacton Abbey. Norfolk, killed while sinking a well, 4th December, 1908



From the Minutes of Carnegie Hero Fund

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Particulars of the circumstances in which Charles Gotts lost his life have been supplied by Mr. William P. Cubitt, on whose farm the well was being sunk. He writes that he was not on the spot at the time of the accident, but was there very shortly after, and helped to rescue the boy, Arnold Spinks, who was assisting.

At the time, he made minute inquiries, and states that the following are the facts:—Charles Gotts, his brother George, and a boy of 14, named Arnold Spinks, were engaged in sinking a well. They were about 15 feet down when George Gotts noticed that there were signs of the shoring timber giving way. He called to his brother Charles to run up the ladder, who at once did so, but had climbed only a few feet when the boards gave way and the side of the well fell in. The boards fell against the ladder, and jammed Charles Gotts by the arm and shoulder.

George Gotts was clear although in the well, and was protected by the boards, which formed a kind of dome over him. The boy, however, was caught by the legs. George Gotts managed to extricate himself to some extent, and asked his brother Charles if he should try to lever the boards away in order to clear him. His brother replied:—" Don't mind me, but look after the boy." At that time Charles was apparently all right, but was unable to extricate himself. Ten minutes later, he was still able to speak to his brother; then a further fall of earth occurred, and put so much pressure on him that he was killed almost immediately.

Mr. Cubitt states that the foregoing information was obtained from George Gotts. It is borne out by the evidence given at the inquest, reported in The Eastern Daily Express, December 7, 1908. The Vicar of Bacton states that it is universally believed in the neighbourhood that Charles Gotts sacrificed his life in order to save the lives of his brother and of the boy. He was not married, but had two sisters living with him, who were largely dependent on him for their support. He suggests that the Trustees might furnish funds for the erection of a tombstone to his memory, with a suitable inscription. Dr. Carruthers, who first of all drew attention to the case, states that the Gotts family are in comfortable circumstances, and that Charles Gotts had no one dependent on him.


47. The Committee took into consideration the case of Charles Gotts, Bacton Abbey, which had been before the Committee on the 14th December last, and had been deferred in order that further information might be obtained. A statement containing the desired information had been circulated among members of the Committee. As a recognition and a memorial of his self-sacrificing conduct, whereby he lost his life on the 4th December, 1908, it was agreed to recommend that a bronze medal with a suitable inscription be presented to his next of kin, and that his name be placed on the Trust's Roll of Heroes.

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