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George Hawkins – Drowning or Suicide?

George Hawkins was born in Melksham and married Elizabeth Ada Douse in 1872. They had eight children, five boys and three girls. From the 1870s until the early 1890s the family lived at 42-43 Northgate in Devizes, where George ran a registered slaughter house and butcher’s shop. By 1890 he was advertising the business to let.
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Sarah Gerrish, cake seller, drowned near Semington in 1862

Sarah Gerrish was born in Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland, in about 1807. Her father may have been serving or training at the British barracks in Clonmel, which had recently been extended in anticipation of an invasion by Napoleon. During the Napoleonic wars the barracks were largely occupied by militia units, such as the Armagh and North Cork militias, while the regular Regiments fought in the wars. I have not yet found out what brought her to Wiltshire, but it seems likely that it was her father’s home.
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Four Young Men drowned near All Cannings

On Sunday the 27th of December 1846 at about 6 o’clock five strapping young men left All Cannings on a walk to Stanton St Bernard, via the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath, a distance of about one and a half miles. The canal was frozen over, and the lads walked part of the way on the ice. They were fine young men, all about six feet tall.
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Murder on the Llangollen Canal

The 1/23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers, Central India, 1865-6 © Royal Welch Fusiliers Regimental Museum 2019

I recently researched the story of Thomas Newbrook of Whixall, who attempted to drown himself in the Llangollen Canal near Platt Lane on 10th June 1883. This led me on to another fascinating story which involved Thomas: the murder of his employer William Powell, by Round Thorn Bridge, on 17th November 1887. I will tell both stories here.
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