One of the problems that besets those researching the histories of the everyday humble heroes that are remembered on the Watts memorial in Postman's Park is that fact checking was not one of Watts's strongest points.
Sometimes he would get the surname wrong, sometimes he would get the first name wrong and, on occasion he would get the whole name completely wrong.
The result can be that, when you start searching the newspaper archives around the date when the tragedy is listed as occurring you can initially draw a blank.
But then, as you start to dig a little deeper, you come across certain facts that correspond with what is inscribed on the person who your looking for's memorial, and the mistake becomes apparent.
Such is the case with David Selves (1873 - 1886).
The inscription in Postman's Park reads, "David Selves, Aged 12, Off Woolwich supported His Drowning Playfellow And Sank With Him Clasped In His Arms. September 12 1886."
In reality, the boy remembered here as "David" Selves, was, in fact Daniel Selves; and the date on which he was drowned was Friday 3rd September 1886, not on the 12th, as is stated on the memorial plaque.
The Globe newspaper carried a brief mention of the tragedy in its edition of Monday 6th September 1886:-
"A number of lads were bathing in the Thames off Woolwich Arsenal on Friday evening, when two of them, named James Bayne and Daniel Selves, got out of their depth, and were drowned before the Thames police, who witnessed the occurrence, could row to the spot.
The bodies were recovered in about one hour.
Both boys are sons of workmen employed in the Royal Arsenal, and both resided at Plumstead.
Each was 12 years of age.
It is asserted that one only was at first in danger, and that the other went to his assistance. Several similar accidents have happened at the same spot."
Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper carried a report on the inquest into the deaths of the two boys on Sunday 12th November 1886, and its seems to have been from this article that Watts drew the information that went onto the plaque, hence him wrongly attributing the date of death to the date on which the article had appeared.
The article read:-
"Mr. Cuttar held an inquiry at Woolwich, on Tuesday, into the death of James Bayne, aged 12, of 37, Glyndon-road, Plumstead and Daniel Selves, aged 12, 160, Ann-street, Plumstead, who were drowned while bathing in the Thames at Tripcock point.
Wm. Hall, 81, Thames Police, in charge of No. 11 cutter, in connection with the ship Royalist, said they were rowing in mid-stream, and heard one of the lads shout to the other, "Keep up a little longer, Jim."
They rowed to the spot, and saw the two boys sink, clasped in each other's arms, 30 feet from the shore, in 15 feet of water.
The jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally drowned while bathing in the river Thames.""