Mexborough and Swinton Times June 9, 1917
Wombwell Pluck – Scoutmaster Rescues Three Children
On Sunday afternoon at 5 o’clock, three children named Joe, Ethel and Tom Bissell, whose parents live in Gower St, Wombwell, fell into the canal. They were quickly brought to land by a Scoutmaster named Watkis, who resides in Clark’s Croft, Wombwell, and were taken home little the worse for their immersion. The father of the children is fighting in France.
A discharged soldier who witnessed the incident says that about 5 o’clock he saw Tom Watkis run past his door towards the canal. He looked in that direction saw the little girl jump in to try to save two brothers, who were in the water.
Watkis, without any hesitation, dived fully dressed into the water and took the girl to the opposite bank. He re-entered the water and rescued the oldest boy, and diving a third time, brought the youngest boy ashore.
Watkis immediately rendered first aid, and then saw the children sent safely home in charge of young man named Hunsley. After that he dived into the canal, swam across, and ran to his home.
The eyewitness (who by the way, is serving in Egypt and France as a NCO) says it was an act worthy of the highest recognition, and the cool and collected manner in which Watkis affected the rescue was beyond praise.