Interview with Ralph Alfrado Ottey. Three


Interview with Ralph Alfrado Ottey. Three


Ralph Ottey recounts an occasion when he came to the rescue of a local lady who found herself in difficulty while swimming in the local river.




Temporal Coverage




00:05:52 Audio Recording


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AOtteyRA200828-02, POtteyRA2001, POtteyRA2002


HH: Okay.
HH: Over to you.
RO: Yeah. My name is Ralph Ottey and I served in the RAF at RAF Tattershall Thorpe from nineteen forty — 1945. And one incident that remained with me I was, we used to go to the village of Kirkby on Bain to village dances on a, on a Saturday night. And my friend Roy March and I got friendly with two, two girls in Kirkby on Bain. And one of them was the, the pub landlord’s daughter. And one day I went back to Kirkby on Bain in the afternoon to see my girlfriend that I, we generally met at the pub and when I went there she wasn’t there. And the landlord said that his daughter who was a friend of my girlfriend who was down in the river, the River Bain was having a swim at a place called the Weir. It was a thing like a swimming pool where the water pitched down from a height, from a pool, then carried on the River Bain. And when I went there she was having a swim and swimming towards where the, where the water was coming, dishing down. And she got in the middle and panicked. And I, I like a young fool jumped in the river to fish her out. Then I found out that it was very deep. And I can still remember was the water spilling over my head. However, it didn’t matter. I did what I went in to do. I got hold of her, turned her back on the stream and the stream took me down to a level where we could stand up. Of course it soon became well known in the village that I, I saved her life. I don’t know whether I did or not but I know I fished her out of the, the water. And her father offered me, at that time I didn’t realise how much money it was. He offered me fifty pounds to save his daughter’s life. Of course, I refused it to my credit. And some years later on when I, when I was manager at GM Limited and we had a supermarket in Oldrids this young lady, she, the young lady who I’d fished out had now married and was now a nurse and she saw my [pause] she saw me and my wife in, in the supermarket and she told them the story that I, I saved her life. And I haven’t seen her, I haven’t seen her lately but she eventually married a Polish gentleman and they had children. I don’t know where she is at the moment. But that was my excitement in life. And when I went back to the camp I always remember I was wet. Wet through because I went in with my full uniform on and I was fun. Provided fun for the boys that I’d jumped in the river. Of course what I should have done, I should I have reported it to the powers that be. But I didn’t. I kept quiet because I was laughed at by my friends in the village and I didn’t want to tell anyone. Later on they said, ‘Oh, well what you should have done, you should have reported it because you would have perhaps been perhaps rewarded as a life saver in the RAF.’ But that’s how it is. At that time I was a shy, a shy young man. I didn’t want to have any publicity. Yeah.


Heather Hughes, “Interview with Ralph Alfrado Ottey. Three,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 24, 2024,

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