Etc. -- two articles re: Johnson's 1917 drowning
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A lightly edited transcription of a page 10 article in the 5 Jul 1917 Simcoe Reformer newspaper, which is a re-print of an article in the 4 Jul 1867 Norfolk Reformer.

Sad Case of Drowning

We regret to record the death by drowning of a young man named Geo. Johnson, aged 19, son 
of Jeremiah Johnson of St. Williams, County of Norfolk, which occurred on Saturday afternoon last, about two o'clock.

The young man, in company with two others, 
was swimming above Blackfriar's Bridge, and 
on being told that the police would take his clothes if they found tjem on the city side of the river, he immediately came out of the water, picked up his clothes, and was on his way across, clothes in hand, when the unfortunate accident took place.

He could not swim at all, and must have stepped into one of the deep holes in the river at this point.

Several soldiers were in the river at the time, and used the greatest exertions to rescue him, but to no avail. His body was recovered about 6 o'clock.

Deceased had been attending the Commercial College for the past two months and was well liked by all who knew him. -- London Free Press

A lightly edited transcription of a page 12 article in the 12 Jul 1917 Simcoe Reformer newspaper.

Mr. M. Beaupre, Talbot Street north, Simcoe, told the Reformer the other day that the publication from our files of 50 years ago, of a drowning accident at London, in which a young man lost his life, brought the tragedy back to him very vividly.

He was one of two comrades of the drowned boy present when the accident took place. The young man's name was Salem, not George, Johnson. He was a brother of Mr. Richard Johnson of Simcoe.

Mr. Beaupre and young Johnson, each of them about 19 years of age, were taking a business college course in London. They and a London lad went bathing in the river. 

Johnson, who could not swim, was drowned. The other details given by the London newspaper were pretty much in error, especially the story of the soldiers trying to rescue the lad. 

Mr. Beaupre tried to do that, and had he received ever so little help from the soldiers on the bank would have succeeded. They did nothing. They were regulars, members of the 53rd and 60th Regiments then stationed at London.

Mr. Beaupre says he was a good swimmer and when his chum got out of his depth he seized him by the wrist and struck for shore, but the current was too strong for him and he could make no headway.

He then tried to get across to the other shore, a considerable distance, but his strength gave out and young Johnson slipped from his hold and did not come to the surface again.

The soldier who dove and recovered the body charged $3 for doing so.

Copyright 2014 John Cardiff