Can you help reunite hero with boy he rescued from Ickles Lock in 1969?

Can you help reunite hero with boy he rescued from Ickles Lock in 1969?

By Gareth Dennison | 23/08/2018

Can you help reunite hero with boy he rescued from Ickles Lock in 1969?
Charles Krajewski pictured with his certificate from the Royal Humane Society

A MAN who saved a drowning boy from a canal when he was a teenager is keen for the pair to be reunited almost 50 years on.

Charlie Krajewski, of Whiston, appeared in the Advertiser back in 1969 after diving into the water near Ickles Lock to rescue seven-year-old John Barker.

He said he wondered what had happened to John and would be delighted to meet up with him if Advertiser readers could bring them together.

The Advertiser related how Charlie removed his jacket and shoes before plunging into the canal and dragging the boy, who was struggling for breath, to the side, where an ambulance crew came to his aid.

“I can remember it vividly even after all these years,” said Charlie (now 64), of Lathe Road.

“I had my pistol with me as I was going ratting so I set that aside, too.

“I could see the boy lying on his back in the water and he was gulping his last breaths.

“Had I known what I now know about all the rubbish that goes in canals I would probably have waded in and not jumped but instead I dived in and pulled him to the far bank.

“I later learned the railway line I was straddling at the time was electrified so I had a bit of a lucky escape there.”

Charlie said he had approached John’s family after the incident to ask them for help repairing his watch, which was damaged in the rescue, and they had happily obliged.

“I remember it cost about £6, which was a lot at the time,” he said. “I still have the watch in the loft to this day.”

The Advertiser reported (below) at the time that Charlie, then aged 15, was walking home after visiting a friend when he came across a friend of John’s, who was crying and said John had fallen in the water.

“I told him to go and fetch help while I went to where the boy was,” Charlie told the paper.

“I pulled off my jumper, coat and shoes and dived in and got him to the other side.

“It took about 30 seconds. I carried him in my arms across to some railway lines where some men were working and they carried him until we reached a house.

“No-one was there but then the police came and took us both to hospital.”

Charlie went home in an ambulance, while John was treated at Doncaster Gate Hospital before later being discharged.

Charlie added: “He must be in his 50s now and I wondered what had happened to him.

“It would be great to find out and meet up.”