JAMES WILSON DROWNING 1950.
Julie McManus contacted the page as she was looking for some information on her great uncle who tragically drowned as a young man. Julie asked:
“Hi, my great uncle James Wilson sadly died in the River Clyde aged 24(see copy of his death certificate below). He resided at 59 Hall Street at this time. Would anyone remember the circumstances and be able to provide me and my Mum with further information please? Thank you”.
Hi Julie, here is what I found.
On Sunday the 11th of June 1950 it was a hot summers day and James along with his younger brother and like many people at the time took to the river to have a quick dip to cool down.
They chose to swim at the old ruined bridge that had been out of service for many years and they were diving into the water from one of the old piers. James was last seen alive by his younger brother as he watched him dive in and never surfaced.
It is thought that James either took cramp in the water or hit some submerged rocks. When James never surfaced, his younger brother went to raise the alarm. People tried in vain to find James that day, however, he was not found.
The next day on the Monday, dragging efforts were carried out as they tried again to find James and all efforts were made by searching the river to find his body and it was found.
James was laid to rest on the 14th of June 1950 and buried at the Hamilton West Cemetery. He is buried in this lair along with his mother Sarah, his sister Veronica, John & Mary Hannah, Francis Murphy and his step mum Elizabeth. There is no headstone for the family but only a stone to hold flowers.
This was not the first time that tragedy struck this family as James mother Sarah McAlinden prematurely gave birth to a daughter on the 26th of February 1931 and they called her Veronica. Sadly, little veronica only managed to stay alive for 1 hour. She was born and died at 38 Postgate in the auld town.
James’s mum then died two days later at the house on the 28th of February 1931, the cause of death was pneumonia.
These times were very difficult indeed for this family and I feel sorry for the family and especially James’s father. James’s father did of course find happiness again and he remarried on the 31st of December 1932 to a lady named Elizabeth Callison.
To add to the tragedy of this family, James second wife Elizabeth Callison died in 1949. You also told me that James’s half-brother Isaac, who witnessed the drowning also died young when he was only 16.
I looked up his death and found that he was cleaning windows in Killearn where he fell from a ladder and fractured his spine. He later died on the 24th of March 1952 in Killearn hospital; the actual cause of death was pneumonia. I could not find the death for James Snr.
Julie, I do wish that I could have found more info on your great uncle, but this is all that I could find. Perhaps someone will have a picture of him so that we can put a name to a face. Please let me know if you do find any other information.