CORNHILL SOCIAL HISTORY PROJECT
Farm machinery about 1910. The lettering reads “Garrett.Leiston”
Richard Garrett and Sons of Leiston Works, near Ipswich,
manufacturer of agricultural machinery, steam engines and trolley buses.
As the rescuers fought with buckets, spades and an electrically-powered grain lift to shift the ever-moving barley away from Constable William Fisher’s nose and chest, Dr. D. J. Sproule of Coldstream, assisted by ambulance-men from Coldstream and Kelso, administered oxygen from a portable supply to help the trapped man’s breathing.
Constable William Fisher of Cornhill looks up towards the daylight as rescuers strive to free him from
25 tons of grain. Shortly before this picture was taken, all that could be seen of Mr. Fisher
was his forehead as he struggled to keep his nose above the level of the grain
Gradually the grain, there was 25 tons in all, was scraped, shovelled and hoisted away from around 41 year-old P.c. Fisher, with the result he was eventually pulled clear and assisted out into the open air. After he had taken several long deep breaths, Mr. Fisher climbed into an ambulance standing nearby where he was examined by Dr. Sproule. Within a minute, the doctor was able to report P.c. Fisher was none the worse for his experience.
Dr. Sproule explained that oxygen had been given to the trapped man until the grain was below the level of his chest. This was to aid his breathing which had been impaired by the weight of grain pressing on to him.
A spokesman for the two fire brigades on the spot (from Berwick and Coldstream), members of which were praised by Dr Sproule for their unstinting effort during the emergency, revealed that throughout the operation, there was an ever-present danger of more grain falling onto Constable Fisher.
Mr. Michael Beveridge (30), a farm-worker at Campfield where the accident occurred was present when P.c. Fisher fell. Mr. Beveridge, a local man who has been 14 years at Campfield, said that Mr. Fisher was on the top side when he slipped. He cried out as he fell. “Before going for help,” Mr. Beveridge went on, “I tied a rope around Bill’s chest to prevent him slipping any further. His face was above the load of grain.”
Chatting to his rescuers afterwards, Constable Fisher recounted exactly what had happened. “I came to help out here on my day off because the farm is short-staffed,” he said. “An augar spiral lift had cleared the bottom of the store, but the barley was not falling through. I went forward to poke it with a stick and I fell through as the grain dropped. After landing upright, I found that only by tilting my head back could I keep my nose above the grain. If I had gone down another couple of inches, I would really have been in trouble.”
Campfield is farmed by Mrs. P.S. Wight.”
The following letter was sent to Mr. Beveridge in November 1968, from the Assistant Chief Constable