Consigned to the Thames

Found 11 January 1905, on the Bucks Bank of the River Thames.

In a bottle:

F. James, East-street, Walworth.
Has consigned his body to the River Thames at Bourne End.
January 8th, 1905.
Signed, F. JAMES.

The message was found by Buckinghamshire Police, and a Police Constable Heater took a boat out onto the river, but found no trace of a body. Several fishermen had been on the banks of the river on 8 January, and none had seen anything suspicious. No person had been reported missing from East Street in Walworth, South London. It was considered that the message “might have been put there for a lark”.

However, on 30 April the body of an unknown man was found in the Thames near Cookham, across the river from Bourne End. PC Heater recovered the body. The coroner said there were no signs of violence, and the likely cause of death was drowning. The body had been in the water for several weeks.

Found on the deceased were two wrist straps, several buttons, a piece of pencil, a broken match box, a glazier’s diamond and a workman’s cheque. There was no name on the cheque. PC Heater made enquiries at several local glazing firms, but the man could not be identified. At an inquest held at the Bel and the Dragon Hotel, a jury returned an open verdict of “found drowned”.

[South Bucks Standard, 5 May 1905]

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