Brav­ery in his­toric drown­ing

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - Letters To The Editor -

The Great War was over and he sur­vived the 1918 flu epi­demic, how­ever 100 years ago tragedy struck the Crowther fam­ily when their 15-year-old son died while sav­ing his friend from drown­ing in Taupo¯. Colin Crowther was posthu­mously awarded an In Memoriam Cer­tifi­cate for brav­ery and the Royal Hu­mane So­ci­ety of New Zealand case records state the facts of the event.

On the af­ter­noon of 5 De­cem­ber 1918, Wil­liam Ge­orge Wright, 9, got onto a launch in the Waikato River at Taupo¯. When he caught a branch of a tree it broke and he fell into the river. Sa­muel Colin Crowther, 15, who was fish­ing off the bank nearby, im­me­di­ately went in af­ter him. Wright clung to him and Crowther went un­der. On be­ing alerted to the boys’ plight, Cap­tain Henry Trout ran over, dived in, brought out Wil­lie Wright and brought him round. Te Whetu Tau­tari jumped in his ca­noe and came over. He took off his clothes, dived in, and brought Crowther’s body out from un­der the launch, but he had drowned.

The young boy Colin was try­ing to save was the son of the lo­cal po­lice con­sta­ble, and a year later Wil­lie Wright wrote a touch­ing memoriam no­tice.

To­day brings back sad mem­o­ries of a loved one gone to rest,

Just when his life was bright­est, Just when his hopes were best. His heart was good, his spirit brave,

His rest­ing place a hero’s grave.

The Crowther fam­ily was well known in the 19th cen­tury in the Taupo¯ district with Crowther Tce named af­ter Colin’s fam­ily. His un­cle owned the coach run and is said to have been in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing trout to the lake. The fam­ily were in­volved in the Taupo¯ Ho­tel, his fa­ther Joseph was the lo­cal butcher and his mother Kate do­nated Taupo¯ Pri­mary School’s first bell.

Photo / Sup­plied

An old head­stone caught the at­ten­tion of a lo­cal en­thu­si­ast who did a lit­tle bit of re­search and un­cov­ered a cen­tury-old story of hero­ism and tragedy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.