Date: 10 Oct 1931
Place: Westbrook, Margate, Kent
George Owen Mockford was found dead in the sea at Margate.
He was a manservant.
His body was first seen floating in the sea about twenty yards from the shore by two youths engaged in a ratting expedition at a waste dump in Westbrook. They had killed a rat just after midnight and when they went to the edge of the promenade to throw it into the sea they heard a groan. They threw the rat in and then saw what they thought was an overcoat floating in the sea. The tide was high at the time and reached the promenade. and after closer observation they realised that the overcoat was in fact a body. They then ran off to get a policeman.
Two policemen then arrived and one of them jumped into the sea but was soon seized with cramp and compelled to return. They then found a lifebelt in one of the bathing huts on the promenade and after taking off his clothes, one of the policemen then jumped in again.
Soon after, an employee for the Margate Gas Company came along and he too jumped in and together with the policeman helped to bring George Mockford ashore.
They then started artificial respiration which was maintained until a doctor arrived who then pronounced life extinct.
Soon after, a neatly folded overcoat was found on the slipway opposite Barnes Avenue, on top of which there was a black bowler hat.
At the inquest, his brother said that he had only seen George Mockford once in the last year but had spoken to him on the telephone a number of times and said that he was not aware that George Mockford was in anyway depressed and that he had never suggested that he might take his own life.
He was in permanent employment but the house where he worked was being sold, however, it was thought that he would have been moving along with his employer to their new address.
He also said that he knew of no one that would bear George Mockford a grudge.
The Coroner said that there seemed to be some doubt as to what the correct verdict should be as it could be that the fact that his overcoat and hat where neatly folded up on the promenade meant that he had intended to commit suicide but with the absence of any further evidence to support that view meant that he would not be justified in returning that verdict and so an open verdict was returned.
George Mockford had enlisted in the army in 1914 and had been captured by the Germans in 1915 at the Battle of Loos and was a prisoner of war for three and a half years. At his inquest, his brother said that during that time he was brutally treated and when he returned he was exceptionally thin and worn. He said that George Mockford's war experiences had had a detrimental effect on his general health.
see Thanet Advertiser - Friday 23 October 1931
see Thanet Advertiser - Friday 16 October 1931