On Wednesday, the 14th, a party of five young ladies were bathing at the east end of Fistral Beach, near Newquay, when they were carried out of their depth by the sudden rising of the tide, and the strong ground sea that was running. They succeeded in getting upon a rock, surrounded by deep water, and around which a strong flood tide was running. After a while the father of some of the party succeeded in getting three of them over the first channel on to higher rocks, at the imminent risk of his life, for he was twice swept away by the current while swimming with his younger daughter. The remaining two young ladies were much frightened at their position, and they would certainly have been lost had not Mr. W. E. Michell happened to be passing at the time. This gentleman rushed into the water, but failing to reach them, he ran for assistance, and ordered some boats and the rocket apparatus to be taken round to their rescue. Mr. Martyn, of Truro, and Mr. W. Hawkey, jun., of Newquay, who were bathing near at the time, also heard the screams, and ran to their assistance. In the meantime the three young ladies who had been rescued from their first position, and thought themselves safe, found that a wider and deeper channel separated them from the mainland, and for a time WERE in almost as great danger as the two who were left behind. Several persons had now gathered on the shore, and Mr. W. R. White, of Newquay, with an intrepidity that cannot be too highly praised, threw off his clothes and swam to the assistance of the two ladies who were furthermost out. He succeeded in keeping them on the rock in spite of the sea, which was breaking fearfully over them. One was washed off, but he succeeded in catching her by the hair and in drawing her again on to the rock, which was by this time covered with water. Other assistance soon arrived, and Mr. Lionel Brett, 2nd West Indian Regiment, and Mr. Henry Hicks, principal officer of her Majesty's Customs, Newquay, swam out to the assistance of Mr. White and the three young ladies with him, and, by the aid of a rope, happily brought them all safe to land. Two of the ladies were in such an exhausted condition as to be utterly unable to make any effort to save themselves. The boats came round to the rocks, but owing to the strong sea running at the time, they could not come near the party. In ten minutes after all were landed, the rocks all round were covered with a boiling surf. Great praise is due to Mr. White, Mr. Brett, and Mr. Hicks, who so courageously risked their lives by swimming out when there was such a tremendous ground-sea running
Transcript of press cutting that accompanies the Henry Hicks Medal, part of the Society's General Collection.
Royal Humane Society Medal inscribed 'Henry Hicks, 14, August 1867'