Firemen and Police rescue 11-year-old from well


Hertfordshire Mercury, 30th March 1951

A young explorer, Michael Chapman , read a comic in the gloom at the bottom of a 40-foot disused chalk well at Chantry Lane , Hatfield , on Wednesday evening , while waiting to be rescued. He had been trapped for two hours . Eleven-year-old Michael , who lives at 93 Stockbreach Road , Hatfield , had gone down the well to find out what was at the bottom .

Crews of Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City fire brigades , an ambulance , and a police patrol car , rushed to rescue him after his 13-year-old friend , Michael Golder , had given the alarm .

Hatfield firemen and the police threw life-lines down to him .He slipped his arms through the hoops and they hauled him up uninjured .

Sub-office Cyril Dunham , of Hatfield , who led the rescue operations , told a Mercury Reporter : ” The boy’s clothes were dirty , but there was not a scratch on him .”

” The boy was reading at the bottom of the well when I looked over the side. I was afraid that rubbish thrown into the well might have lodged against the side of the well and formed a thin false bottom . It might not of borne the weight of a man . “

Michael’s adventure began when he tied a rope to a tree and lowered himself down the entrance to the well 15 feet in circumference . The shaft of the well opens out to a cavern-like space at the ¬†bottom .

He was trapped when the rope broke as he tried to climb out .

His friend , Michael Golder , heard his cries for help and ran to a passing farm worker , who phoned the police.

Unperturbed by his experience , Michael said : ‘ I was exploring . I wanted to find out what was at the bottom of the well . I thought there might be some tunnels I could investigate . I was frightened when the rope broke and I found I could not get out . I shall not go exploring down the well again . “

Among rubbish at the bottom of the well Michael found a comic. ” I read it until I was rescued.”

Michael’s family knew nothing of his adventure until¬†a Mercury reporter called at his home . ” I did not tell them what happened. ” he said .








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