Thursday, 23 August 2007

John Henry Thurlwell and the Brunner Family

Dan Parker of Comberbach has reminded me ( from New York! ) that John Henry Thurlwell from Comberbach worked for the Brunner Family. Roscoe Brunner was dead by then ( He killed himself in 1926.) and so was his brother Sir John Brunner (died 1929).
Thanks to Dan's Mum, June Parker, nee Thurlwell, I have a copy of the newspaper article from The Guardian of 30th May 1930. It is a strange story, following so closely the Roscoe Brunner Tragedy.

Comberbach Groom Drowned While Exercising Horses - An Old Servant of The Brunner Family

Harry Swires, age 40, Groom, a native of Comberbach, Cheshire , and an old servant of the Brunner family, was drowned in Penn Pond, Richmond Park, Surrey on Friday of last week, in singular circumstances.

Swires, whose real name was Thurlwell - his Mother changed her name by remarriage and he, having adopted a new name, was exercising a young horse in Richmond Park. Another groom, Charles Nash, was the only witness and the story of the accident as it was told to Mr Anthony Brunner, a nephew of the Late Sir John Brunner, was repeated to a Press representative by Mr Brunner.

Shied at tree Stump
He said, " Swires, as we knew him, had taken a pony into the park for exercise. This pony, one of my stud of polo ponies, was a quiet animal- he was riding another pony."

" At Penn Pond there is a narrow path running between two ponds. In negociating this , Swires' mount shied at a fallen treestump and came down with his feet in the right hand pond. The other pond is deep but this one is shallow. The animal walked some distance into the water before it could be turned. Swires dismounted to lead the pony back to the path. Nash, meanwhile, started to wade into the pond to help Swires out.

As he approached Swires, who was within his depth, suddenly disappeared under the water. Nash made an attempt to get to him but could not find him, so he sent a message to the park-keepers, who rowed to the spot in a boat. It was not until three quarters of an hour later that they recovered Swires' body."

20 Years Service
Swires had been a servant of the Brunner Family for twenty years. He was a groom with Mr Brunner's father when the family home was at Belmont Hall, Northwich. His wife and seven children live at Comberbach.

Mr D. Ash, the head groom of the stables, in a talk with a Press Representative, said ," I had just left Mr Swires and Mr Nash. We had been out in the Park exercising horses with a lady. I got back at 12 o'clock, but the other two should have been back before me and when lunch time came and they didn't return I became alarmed.

The horse from which Mr Swires was thrown was brought in by another groom just before one o'clock. He told me what had happened but when I got there the body had been recovered and taken to Kingston Mortuary."

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