DEATH – BILTON. John Redcar Inquest & other unidentified at Breakwater.

Accreditation. The Redcar-by-the-Sea Gazette 23/07/1869.


            On Friday, the 16th inst., an inquest was held at the Royal Hotel, on the body of a man supposed to have been drowned during the gale of June last. The body was picked up off East Scar, on Thursday (15/07), by some fishermen and brought ashore. The body was believed to be that of one of the crew of the steam-tug “Home,” of Sunderland, which foundered in the Redcar, on the night of the 15th ult., But as there was no evidence to prove this or to sure how he came by his death, a verdict of “Found dead in the German Ocean,” was returned. He had on when found a blue pilot jacket, fustian vest and trousers, blue search beneath, and blucher boots. On the body was found a black shafted knife with a heart and hand on the handle. Judging from the appearance of the body. It must have been in the water three or four weeks.


            On Tuesday (20/07) an inquest was held at the Cleveland Hotel, Coatham, touching the death of an old sailor named John Bilton, who on Saturday (17/07) night, was found dead near the Tees Breakwater.

William Catchpole residing at the Breakwater cottage deposed that on Sunday night (18/07), he with other six men was working at the East side of the bank, and about 7:15 pm. He found the body of the deceased at the West side 6 or 9 feet from the end. He was quite dead and was lying on the slag about 4 feet below high water mark. The target was flowing at the time. The boots, stockings, coat and hat of deceased were placed about 4 feet above high water mark; the body had shirt and trousers on, and the trousers were tied up. The face was called, and there was blood upon it. From 8 am, till 6 pm. No one works on the banks on Sunday’s. Witness did not see any one during the day. It would be high tide at the 11 am Monday (19/07)

Mr. Moore (Foreman) : the body had all the appearance of having been in the water. It was wet it was laid on the sands on its face, about 10 yards from water mark

. The bruises were coursed perhaps by knocking about among the slag. Might have been sitting on one, and falling into the water.

John Suffield stated that he knew deceased, who was a sailor, about 60 years of age. He saw him on Sunday (18/07) about 10 o’clock, going along the sands in the direction of the Breakwater. He was then just below the west end of Coatham, about 2 miles from where he was found. Deceased continued walking as long as witness could observe him. He never saw him alive after wards.

Mr Readman; he did not see anything remarkable about the man.

James Heston Bennett, M.D., said he had examined the body, and found several contusions on the face, but none on the body. No marks of violence were to be noticed. There was one laceration wound above the right brow, inflicted before death, which would not have caused death, but would have stunned him for a short time. Deceased appeared to have fallen forward onto some slag or storm and caused the wound. The cuts had a jagged appearance as if they had been caused in such a manner. They had been caused by drowning.

Some of the jury men work inclined to think that deceased had been washing himself, and he had been in want of food for some time, and was subject to threats, he must have taken one while sitting on the storm, and fallen forward, strumming himself by coming in contact with a slag, and was drowned. As there will was no evidence to substantiate this supposition, a verdict of “Found drowned, but as to how deceased came to be drowned, there is no evidence to show,” was recorded.

During the afternoon in another inquiry was instituted respecting the death of a person, name unknown, whose body had been found on the previous day by a visitor who was walking on the beach.

Mr. T. C. Baker stated that he was a clerk in the mercantile establishment and was visiting the town. He found the body of the deceased floating in the German Ocean on the previous morning. The body was in the sea, so he plunged in and brought it out. It was subsequently removed to the old lifeboat house. The body was that of a middle aged man and was much DCOM paused; the handsome face, very much so, and the shoulder was district gated. He expected that the man had been a sailor, a steamboat man, perhaps, from the address he wore. Supposed the body had been in the water 5 or 6 weeks. I did not examine his clothes.

Mr Marwood, Acting Sergeant of Police, at Redcar, said he was not in the town when the body was picked up, but received from Policeman Joseph Watson several articles which that gentleman informed him had been taken from the pockets of deceased. They consisted of a knife, (with the word “Dover” stamped on the blade was a crown, a sailor holding a flag and an anchor burnt in the handle), a short clay pipe found in the waistcoat pocket, and an iron bolt similar used for pumps in his coat pocket. No name initials were to be found on the closing of deceased. He had on fustian trousers, dark broadcloth coat, vest, blucher boots (brass riveted, and appeared nearly new), and brown worsted stockings. There appeared to be woollen but was scarcely distinguishable. A verdict of “Found drowned in the German Ocean,” was returned. It was believed by some that the body was that of the engineer or fireman of the steam tug mentioned above.


Lol Hansom March 11, 2013 Doctors & Health