A DROWNING accident of a distressing character took place near Perth last night, and resulted in two Boy Scouts, belonging to No. 3 Company, Dundee, losing their lives. At present the company are in camp on the bank of the river Earn, and about three o’ clock yesterday afternoon the alarm was given that a field of corn had caught fire on the opposite side of the river. A number of Scouts immediately made for the district by way of the railway bridge, while a Scoutmaster and four other Scouts proceeded to cross the river in a small boat, using in place of oars a rope which was attached to poles on each side of the bank. Before their arrival the other Scouts had succeeded in extinguishing the outbreak, and the five who had crossed the river again entered the boat for the purpose of returning to camp.
When standing on the other side, however, the incoming tide started the boat from under the rope, with the result that the whole five were thrown into the river. Scoutmaster Lorimer, who resides at 18 Overgate, Dundee, being an expert swimmer, seized hold of two of the boys. William Cameron (18), a message boy, who resided with his widowed mother at 87 King Street, Dundee, and Alexander Brown (13) residing at Baldovan Terrace, Dundee, but whose parents are at present on holiday in Bridge of Earn. The other two lads were:- John Fairweather Henderson, clerk, Dundee, and John MacArthur, billposter, 36 Bingham Terrace, Dundee. Henderson, who had never lost hold of the rope, succeeded in pulling himself ashore, while MacArthur swam ashore. Lorimer was able to right the boat, which had capsized, and succeeded in getting Cameron into it. Unfortunately, a minute later the craft sank, and Cameron was again thrown into the river, which was about 15 feet deep. Lorimer sustained a severe knock on the head from the boat, and was stunned, with the result that he was unable to save the young lad Brown. Cameron sank, and was not again seen to rise. Meanwhile Scout MacArthur, who had got ashore, had divested himself of his clothing and again entered the water. He was unable to find either of the two boys, whose bodies were recovered about an hour and a half later.
Mr Herbert Pullar, who resides close by and is Commissioner for the Boy Scouts’ movement in Perthshire, was early on the scene, and lent valuable assistance with the rescue work. The body of one of the lads was conveyed to Dundee in the evening, while that of the other lad was taken to Bridge of Earn, where his parents reside.
Scoutmaster Lorimer, who lies in a critical condition, was removed to a neighbouring farm, and at a late hour last night had not been informed of the sad tragedy.
[Extract, by kind permission, from “The Scotsman”, dated Wednesday 26 July 1911]
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