The Leas School,  Hoylake

Hilbre Rescue: Frank Huntley

contributed by Adrian Stevenson

Every summer there would be a school outing to Hilbre Island, where the school doctor Dr Lewis McAfee had a part-share in a house - boys were free to walk about the main island, to go shrimping and fishing, and to swim in the cove below the houses. In 1961 S was amongst the swimmers; most swam out to the boats moored in the cove, then had a little rest before swimming back. S was never a strong swimmer, so in retrospect it is surprising that S was bold enough to swim so far out; and S's feeble arms were further weakened by holding them up to rest on the gunwale of one of the boats.

On the way back to shore S felt himself running out of puff, and started splashing and screaming fit to bust.

Frank Huntley, one of the masters in charge of the outing, was sitting with the headmaster and Dr McAfee. Frank did not hesitate: he rushed from his chair beside the house, ran down the rocks, dived into the water, and sped out in a streamlined crawl - he reached S before S had even a chance of going under. Frank manoeuvred himself and S so that both were lying on their backs, S's head and shoulders supported on Frank's chest; and in this position Frank towed S back to shore using a legs-only backstroke.

Frank carried S back up to where the headmaster and the doctor were still sitting, outside the house, and went through the appropriate (and painful) procedure for squeezing any sea-water out of S's lungs and stomach (there was none). Only then was S allowed to stand free, muttering apologies, though too cold to blush with embarrassment.

So who was S? He is the contributor of this story!

Copyright notice

Please send corrections, suggestions or feedback