GENTLEMEN,—I write to recommend to public sympathy a genuine case of distress, owing to the death by accident of George Bailey on board the Olaf last Monday.  And it will come better from my pen than from another’s, owing to the fact that those for whom I plead are comparative strangers to me.

It appears that between 11 and 12 o’clock on Monday morning, George Bailey, of 2, Caroline Row, Hotwells, a corn-runner, in the temporary employ of Messrs. Stoate, Hosegood, and Co., 42 Welsh Back, was engaged in the hold of the Olaf as “measurer”.  That a sack of corn, some 2 and a half cwt, in weight, which was being hoisted from the hold, fell from the height of some 50 feet upon him, and crushed him terribly.  That he was taken up insensible and died about three o’clock on Tuesday morning in the General Hospital.

It was by pure accident that I met his wife, Mrs. Bailey, as she was returning across the ferry from the Hospital on Tuesday evening.  She was in the bitterest of grief, for, said she, “He was such a true man and in the prime of his life, and now, how to provide for the family, God only knows”.  I saw at a glance that she was a weakly, delicate woman, and the baby at her breast showed what good grounds for fear she had, when in her passionate grief she told a stranger of her trouble.

Yesterday, on inquiring at her address, 2, Caroline Row, Hotwells, I found she had six children, five entirely dependent upon her.  William, aged 14, maintaining himself at sea; Thomas, 13; Henry, 8; Emma, 5; baby, six weeks old.

From her neighbours one obtained independent testimony as to the deceased’s character—for hard work when he could get it, and for bringing home all he earned when he did earn it.  Moreover that he had no relation at all in a position to render assistance.

On returning to the Olaf I found the above facts corroborated.  The fellow working-men at the Olaf will not be behind, they assured me, with their bits of money.

Messrs. Stoate, Hosegood, ad Co. have duly taken up the case, and have opened today a subscription list on the Corn Exchange.  This list they have appended to the letter, and it is hoped that your readers will make material additions to it.  When the list is closed, a committee will meet to consider to what purpose any moneys subscribed can best be put, and your readers shall have due notice of such committee meeting and its results.—Yours truly,

                          H.D. Rawnsley, Mission Curate,
                                    St. Barnabas Vicarage, Ashley Road.

(Western Daily Press, 22 September 1876, p. 3)