His Farewell Letter

Canvey Man's Death

Cutting from the Essex Chronicle 11th April 1930.

An inquest was held at Canvey Island on Monday on John Wm. Whitby Mow­bray, 53, marine jobber and yacht re­pairer, who had lived in a houseboat at McCrerie’s wharf. He was found dead in Gains creek with a 50 lb. weight tied to his neck.

Wilfred Adair Stott, telephone opera­tor, Canvey Island, said he had known deceased from the time he came on the Island two years ago. He was very reti­cent and never very cheerful. Deceased had had very little work lately and was short of money.

Mrs. Jessie Mowbray, Nelson Street, Southend, wife of deceased, said she had not lived with him for five year. She last saw him alive in Sept., 1929. The only matter she knew of as worrying him was that his mother had by will left a bungalow  away from him:” He did not maintain witness.

P.C Peagrum said he searched the houseboat in which deceased lived, and on a table in one of the rooms he found a note, as follows-‘.—

Owing to my misfortunes and disap­pointments of the last few weeks my health has completely broken down, and although I have made a super-human effort to bear up and recover I am both mentally and physically incapable of continuing my work.

May God help my poor wife so that she gets what is due to her. I fear my mind is giving way, and although ill and weak I am saving my last ounce of strength to try and make an end, as I dread being taken to an asylum, which I feel sure will be my fate otherwise.

P.S.—Two months ago my affairs were in good order, although I had had a bad winter. I love my boats and my work, but I feel sure I shall never re­gain my health sufficiently to carry on.

A verdict of Suicide during temporary insanity was returned.


John William Whitby Mowbray was born in Deptford c1877. He had only lived on the island for a short time. He was buried in an unmarked grave in St Katherine’s Churchyard on the 9th April 1930.

Another sad story from St Katherine’s Churchyard.

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