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Bridgetown and Fethard

Baltimore

Bantry

Youghal and Ardmore

Cobh

Cork

Courtmacsherry

Cahersiveen

Kilrush

Galway

Clifden

Ballyglass

Belmullet

Ballycastle

Killybegs

Burtonport and Kincassiagh

Bunbeg

Mallaig

Isle of Coll

Barra

Date of first agency: 1849

First Honorary Agent: Mr Donald McRae

Isle of Mull

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Mr Neil Smith

Isle of Islay

Portrush

Date of first agency: 1843

First Honorary Agent: Mr H Delaney

Carrickfergus

Ballycastle

Location of mine: Seafront

Date of first agency: 1843

First Honorary Agent: Dr Knox

Newry

Belfast

Isle of Gigha

Campbeltown

Location of mine: On harbour

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr William Watson Jr

EMILE ROBIN 1967/8

Skippers’ N Speed and J Meenan of the mfv Moira for the rescue of survivors from the mv Quesada. The Quesada was approaching Campbeltown with 18 passengers and crew late on the evening of 22nd May 1966, when her helm and engines failed. The wind was force 8 and the sea confused. Her distress flares were seen by fishermen in the harbour and Skipper Speed of the Moria took his ship to sea assisted by Skipper Meenan and 5 others. After 25 minutes the Moira came up with the Quesada which had a list of 80º and was entirely under water apart from some 15 feet to which 11 men were clinging. Skipper Speed skilfully took his ship alongside, over the sunken stern and after 30 minutes, 9 men were brought to safety despite the violent motion of the boats. One man was lost between the vessels and the remaining survivor was, with great difficulty, hauled on board by the exhausted rescuers after they had drifted apart and Skipper Speed had again brought his ship alongside the wreck, of which there was nothing showing above water. After searching for half an hour for other survivors, Moira returned to harbour.

LADY SWAYTHLING 2000/1

Coxswain John Stewart of RNLI Campbeltown Lifeboat for the rescue of the crew of fv Sincerity. The early evening of 29 November last year saw the Sincerity at sea in the sound of Bute when the boat suffered engine failure. With no power to battle against the raging seas, the boat was quickly swept onto nearby rocks. The two-member crew attempted to launch the liferaft – but the violent wind ripped it from their grasp. With the engine room flooded and with no electrical power, the skipper used his mobile phone for the mayday call. The nearest lifeboat capable of operating in such appalling conditions was at Campbeltown 30 miles south. It proceeded at full speed with Coxswain Stewart in command. The SAR helicopter monitoring the situation reported it was unable to remain on location due to extreme wind turbulence near the stranded vessel. Arriving on the scene, the lifeboat’s Coxswain found the Sincerity firmly grounded on rocks 75 yards from the shore. An hour later, having tried a number of rescue manoeuvres without success, the tide was rising with heavy rolling seas breaking over the fishing vessel – the situation was becoming critical. With more water under the keel Coxswain Stewart attempted to come in alongside the stern of Sincerity. It took three attempts, but at last the lifeboat was manoeuvred close enough for the fisherman to jump from the stricken vessel where he was grabbed by the waiting lifeboat crew members. It took three further attempts in the atrocious conditions before the skipper also managed to jump across to safety. Throughout this rescue Coxswain Stewart demonstrated leadership, determination and seamanship skills of the highest order truly meriting the award of the Lady Swaythling Trophy.

Greenock

Gourock

Lochranza

Brodick

Location of mine: Pier

Troon

Girvan

Ballantrae

Isle of Whithorn

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Lieutenant Kelly RN

Newton Stewart

Kirkcudbright

Maryport

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Robert Adair

Workington

Whitehaven

Isle of Man

Portaferry

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Mr C Miller

Windermere and Bowness

Location of mine: Bowness promenade

Date of first agency: 1957

First Honorary Agent: Mr W Fleming

Portavogie

Londonderry

Kilkeel

Morecambe

Fleetwood

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr S Burridge Jnr

Liverpool

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Mr J Irvine

Gold Medal 1855

The ill-fated vessel Bourneuf sailed from Liverpool, for Melbourne, South Australia, then onto Bombay. The Bourneuf was a new vessel of 1,500 tons, her first voyage having been from Liverpool to Melbourne, whence she was chartered in July, to proceed to Bombay in India. After setting sail from Melbourne, all went well on board until 2nd August, when they sighted the beacon on Raine’s Island; they then stood off from it, until 7.30pm, afterwards tacked ship, with the view of getting into a good position before morning, for the purpose of running into Torres Straits. A strong current, had, however, been carrying them out of their proper course, and the consequence was that at 0130 the vessel struck upon the great detached reef, and a heavy sea prevailing at the time, it soon became evident that the unfortunate vessel could not, possibly, hold long together. At this critical juncture, Captain Bebies, with his wife and a lady passenger, got into the port lifeboat, but, immediately on its being lowered, the violence of the waves dashed it to pieces against the sides of the ship. Most of the unfortunate passengers were stunned, and immediately met with a watery grave, notwithstanding ropes and lifebuoys were instantly thrown to their assistance, they were all drowned, with the exception of one seaman, named Booth, a native of Newcastle. At this appalling crisis, Mr Anthony Belt, who shipped as third officer at Melbourne, was below, rummaging his chest for his life belt, to give to one of the ladies, but on his arrival on deck found they had already sunk to rise no more. At the commencement of the voyage, Capt. Bebies had committed to Mr Belt’s especial care a young midshipman, and he now went in search of him; not, however, being able to find him on deck, he again proceeded below, where he found him in a hopeless state of insensibility, having had his collar-bone broken, and received other severe injuries, from the water cask, which had broken adrift, owing to the pitching of the vessel. He at once attached his life belt to the unfortunate youth, and carrying him on deck, placed him in a boat, which the crew were in the act of lowering. Nine hands got away in the gig, and as this, with the exception of the cutter, was the last boat but one remaining, which, being placed amidships, could not easily be got out, there was a general rush to the cutter. As it was next to impossible that she could be got clear of the wreck with all of them, Mr Belt endeavoured to persuade a part to remain with him, and make an attempt to launch the boat which remained amidships; and, on the cutter getting clear, he and the carpenter cut away the masts to give the vessel the only chance of holding together until daybreak; but, about 0300 she broke in two, and not having succeeded in getting the boat amidships launched, they had to remain exposed to the fury of the elements until daylight, when the chief mate and those who effected their escape in the cutter, having stood out to sea, returned, but, owing to the heaviness of the surf, could not approach the remnant of the wreck within one hundred yards. On perceiving this, Mr Belt, with a courage and presence of mind rarely to be found, sprang into the sea, and swam with a line to the cutter, thereby establishing a line of communication between the cutter and the wreck, by which means the remaining survivors were drawn off, one by one, on a buoy, excepting a Frenchman, who, when he had advanced nearly halfway, was precipitated into the sea, owing to the breaking of the rope. Mr Belt, nothing daunted, again fearlessly and most heroically plunged into the raging sea, and swam to his assistance with the end of a line, thereby saving him from imminent death. After all had been safely got on board, they bore away for Raine’s Island, distance about fourteen miles, where, after experiencing many difficulties, they succeeded in effecting a landing, and were subsequently taken off by a Dutch East Indiaman, which had previously picked up the gig, with the nine seamen, who had succeeded in escaping from the wreck. They were all safely landed at Batavia, and from thence were forwarded by the British Consul to Singapore. Mr Belt, who had thus twice, at the risk of his own life, so manfully and singly distinguished himself by his noble intrepidity and humanity, is quite a man, and a native of Newcastle. On the evening of 7th December, the Gold Medal was presented to Mr Belt, at Newcastle, by Ralph Philipson, Esq., the Mayor, accompanied with a sextant, the case of which bore the following inscription on a silver plate:- “Presented to Mr Anthony Belt (together with a telescope and a case of drawing instruments and pocket compass) by a few of his fellow townsmen, in testimony of their admiration of his undaunted courage and heroic conduct, on the occasion of the wreck of the Bourneuf, near Torres Straits, on 3rd August, 1853.” *A letter was read from Mr Anthony Belt, acknowledging the receipt of the Gold Medal awarded to him and expressing his grateful thanks.

1872 – A Newfoundland Dog Saving Life

A life saved from drowning by that noble animal and friend of the sailor, the Newfoundland Dog. The American mail steamer that arrived at Plymouth on 12th March brought a thrilling account of the wreck of the barque ‘Lilly Parker,’ of Swansea, Captain Fletcher, of Liverpool, commanding, who left for Halifax on 3rd January. The watchmen on duty at Sable Island were attracted by the whining of a dog, and on attaching a lantern to his neck were able to follow him, and were brought to the beach, where they found a woman and her child, a little girl two years old, lying almost drowned. They removed her to the Sailors’ Hospital, about half a mile distant, where she lay insensible for a day or two. The child died the following morning from the exposure. When the mother became conscious, she asked where she was. Her appearance was refined and handsome. On being told that she had been saved from some wreck, and was then in the hands of those who would take care of her, she earnestly expressed her gratitude. Memory returning, she suddenly asked, “Where is Robert? Where is Captain Fletcher?” Nobody could tell. The surgeon could only respond that as nothing had yet been learned of the wreck, Captain Fletcher might be safe. The poor lady wept bitterly, and asked for her child. Her story is substantially as follows:- The ‘Lilly Parker’ was bound to Halifax with merchandise and salt. After being out five days, the fore-top-mast and fore-top-gallant-mast were carried away in a severe gale which lasted over forty-eight hours. Jury masts were supplied, and the ‘Lilly Parker’ proceeded on her voyage for ten days, after which she again experienced foul weather, in which the fore-top-gallant-mast was lost. After being thirty days at sea she encountered a violent hurricane, and lost nearly all of her foremast, and the mizenmast was literally split in two by a tremendous sea, which also made a large breach in the bulwarks, and forced the ship on her beam ends. Thus disabled, the barque continued until the 12th February, when it was found that she had drifted over 500 miles out of her course, and lay in the latitude of Sable Island; a strong north-east wind sprung up, and the sea rose to a fearful height. The wind increased and the ship lost her rudder. The ship was tossed about like a log, until she drifted on a lee shore, striking heavily upon a submarine ledge. The barque filled rapidly, as her bows had been stove in. The storm still raged so wildly, it was useless to suggest any plan of rescue. Further than this, Mrs Fletcher’s bewildered memory could not lead her. The barque suddenly broke in two, and those on board were either thrown into the sea, or had time to seize some portion of the wreck before the vessel fell asunder. All was confusion and dismay. Some shrieked for ropes, some for boats, and the Captain cried out wildly for his wife. Mrs Fletcher remembers little after the parting of the ship, until she was conscious of being dragged ashore by somebody, as she thought. She held her babe firmly clasped to her during the awful ordeal. It was her faithful Newfoundland dog that saved them, and the noble animal was worn out, when his whining attracted the attention of the watchman.

Gold Medal 1878

Captain Holdsworth brought to the notice of the Committee the following act of heroism as reported in the daily papers:- The large iron ship Eblana, of Liverpool, 1,351 tons register, commanded by Captain Liver, left Liverpool for Madras on Thursday, 3 October, and experienced bad weather, until reaching the Smalls Lights. The wind was from south and south-west, and it got worse from that time until Sunday, when there was a heavy gale from the southward, which, however, moderated towards Monday, when the weather became a little finer. On Tuesday it commenced to blow again from south-south-west, increasing to a heavy gale, and became still worse on Wednesday, with mountainous seas. On Thursday, at 2am when in Lat. 48 52’ N Long. 10 33’ W, a tremendous sea struck the vessel, throwing her over on her side, shifting the cargo, washing away the lifeboat, and smashing the bulwarks. Towards morning the main and mizzen masts were cut away, and the vessel was quite over on her side, and settling down fast. At 6 o’clock in the morning the barque Decapolis, of London, Captain Almond, from Adelaide for London, hove in sight, and signals of distress were made to her, and she bore down and stood by them for about 14 hours, until all the crew were rescued and taken aboard. When she first approached the Eblana, the latter’s boats were launched, but were stove in by the seas, one of the crew being badly injured. A boat with 6 men was then sent from the Decapolis, and she succeeded in rescuing 6 of the Elbana’s men. There was a great gale on and tremendous seas, and it was impossible to get the boat close to the ship, and a communication was made between them by lifebuoys and lifelines. All the crew was saved by this means, by being hauled through the water to the boat. On returning to the Decapolis with these men, the boat was stove and became useless, and the mate of the barque, who was in charge, was hurt in the arm and shoulder. A second boat was then sent, and in five trips rescued 22 men. The service was attended with considerable difficulty and danger, and the Eblana’s crew spoke well of the gallantry of the others, especially of that of the carpenter, named David Stephen, of Stepney, London, who with three hands, had charge of the boat on four successive trips, and George Bourne, an apprentice, who went every time first in the boat that was stove in, and afterwards in the second boat, and managed the lifelines, pulling all the men from the ship to the boat. The unfortunate men lost all their clothes and effects. The Captain, officers and crew of the Decapolis behaved very kindly towards them during the two days they were aboard her, and gave them various articles of clothing. A letter was also read from Captain Almond, giving the names of the men who manned the boats, with the number of trips taken by each. When, it was proposed from the chair, and unanimously resolved, that Captain Thomas M Almond, be awarded the Gold Medal of the Society, and that Silver Medals should be awarded to the nine others. GWR Bourne was also presented with a sextant in addition to the Medal, as the Committee considered his conduct most praiseworthy in volunteering to go with each boat to the rescue of the unfortunate men, who, but for the assistance of Captain Almond and his crew, would in all human probability have perished. The Secretary was also instructed to convey to the Captain and crew of the Decapolis the Committee’s full appreciation for their gallant and successful efforts to save the lives of their fellow men, and also their earnest hope that this acknowledgment of their heroism would be an incentive to future exertion in the same noble work, should necessity arise.

EMILE ROBIN 1881/2

Captain D McDonald and Chief Officer J Gunning of the barque Alumbagh of Liverpool for the rescue of the crew of the barque Carnatic of Aberdeen. Report to Mr J Herron, the owner of the barque Alumbagh, from Captain D McDonald. I have to report that during our homeward passage on 5th August 1883, in Lat.35 S., Long. 25 E., we rescued the crew of the British barque Carnatic under the following circumstances:- At 9 am on the 4th August it was blowing a hard gale from WNW with a terrific sea, when we saw the Carnatic to windward of us, flying signals of distress. He bore down on us, and signalled that his vessel was sinking, his pumps broken, and three feet of water in the hold, and that all his boats were destroyed. He requested us to send a boat to rescue them. We had suffered ourselves considerably during the gale, having lost our headrails, part of the main bulwarks, and everything movable about the decks; our cargo had shifted a little, so that we were lying with our waterways under water; the ship was leaking freely, requiring the crew pretty constantly at the pumps. I signalled the Carnatic that it was then impossible for a boat to live in such a sea, but best for us to stand to the northward, where we ought to get the sea more moderate, and in the meantime that I would stand by him. The weather continued the same during the day, and thinking it best to get a crew ready for the boat in case of the worst, I called the crew aft and told them the facts of the case, and asked for volunteers to go in the boat. They thought I was going to put the boat out then, and, at the same time, were well aware that it would be almost certain destruction to attempt it; yet, to their credit, they volunteered to a man, the Chief Officer (Mr Gunning) requesting to have charge of the boat. I then requested Mr Gunning, to pick a crew, and by signals from the vessel, found that they might keep her afloat till morning. Agreed to show a light to each during the night. The gale continued with unabated force till near daylight, when it began to moderate a little, and the sea had gone down considerably, but still blowing hard, with a heavy sea. We closed with the vessel, when they signalled that she was getting very helpless. I therefore decided to launch our boat at once. The crew consisted of the following, who, in my opinion, are deserving of all praise:- Mr J Gunning, Chief Officer, H McKee, Third Officer, Robt. Kaetz, AB, Thos. Haynes, AB, J Freeman, AB and H Leigh, Apprentice. At 8 am we succeeded in launching the lifeboat safely, and she behaved splendidly. At noon, after three trips, all the crew had been got on board (nineteen all told, including the Captain’s wife), without any accident to any person, but we got our own good boat stove in whilst taking her on board. At 1.45 pm (one hour and three-quarters after the last of the crew got on board of us) the vessel sank, distant from us at the time about 5 miles. I need hardly say that we all tried to make them as comfortable as possible. We had them on board for 21 days, when we landed them at St Helena.

EMILE ROBIN 1885/6

Captain J Brock and Chief Officer J Mullen of the ship Fiery Cross of Glasgow for the rescue of the crew of the barque Oruro of Liverpool. Report of Captain Brock, Master of the ship:- The ship Fiery Cross, of Glasgow, 1,399 tons (net), the crew consisting of 24 hands, all told, left San Francisco, for Falmouth, March 30 1887, with a cargo of wheat; and on Sunday, 29 May, at 9 am, sighted a dismasted vessel flying a signal of distress; weather at this time fresh and squally, with a heavy sea running. Stood for the disabled ship, and hove to at 10 am., about a mile to windward of her, in about Lat. 56 S., Long. 74 W. Finding that the boats on board the distressed vessel were all smashed, sent ship’s lifeboat, with the Chief Officer (Mr John Mullen) and 6 hands, who volunteered to bring off the crew, the whole of which, namely, the Master and 14 hands – were brought off in two trips, without their effects, which had to be abandoned. The Chief Officer on his return reported that the abandoned vessel was the barque Oruro, of Liverpool, that the fore and main masts were gone by the board, and the decks ripped up, and that the Master stated that there was 5 feet of water in the lazarette, and the pumps were broken. Having rescued all the crew of the Oruro, continued voyage at noon, it appearing probable that the dismasted ship would soon go down. On 4th June, in. 50 S., Long. 51 W., transferred the Master and all the rescued crew of the Oruro on board the French Man of War Fontenoy, except the sail-maker, who was too much injured to be moved, and was brought on to the Fiery Cross, and landed at Falmouth, on 10 August. The lifeboat was at last stove against the Oruro, and, on account of the heavy sea running, it was considered too dangerous to attempt getting it on board again, and it was therefore abandoned. Statement by Captain William George McNeily, Master of the barque Oruro of Liverpool:- The iron barque Oruro, registered tonnage 499 (net), of Liverpool, with crew of 14 hand, laden with sugar, from Pacasmayo to Liverpool, left Pacasmayo 28th April. All went well until about 6th May, when we encountered a succession of gales from NW to SW., with heavy cross-seas. On 27th May, the ship being hove to under main lower topsail, about Lat. 55 52’ S., Long. 72 30’ W., at 4.30 am., during a heavy squall from N., a heavy sea struck the vessel, carrying away all the bulwarks, fore and mainmast, and smashed two largest boats, and carried away pumps, galley, forewinch, jib-boom, and mizzen topmast. The foremast in carrying away broke the deck up in the forepart, myself and 3 men being injured. Cleared away all the wreckage and rigged temporary pumps, and judged there was about 5 feet of water in the hold, and gaining at the rate of 2.5 – 3 inches an hour. The gale moderated the next day, but almost immediately freshened up again. We set the spanker and put out the broken mizzen topmast for a drag, to keep ship up to the sea, until 29th May, the water having increased to about 8 feet. About 8 am, the ship Fiery Cross came in sight, and, after signalling, sent a boat, and had great difficulty in getting alongside; but, after some time, in two trips, all were transferred to the Fiery Cross about noon, the boat being stove in on the last trip. On 4th June we were all, but one injured man, transferred to the French Transport Fontenoy, bound for Brest, from New Caledonia, and which landed us at St Helena, on 28th June, where we remained until 4th July, when we shipped by mail steamer Moor, and landed at Southampton, 18th July.

EMILE ROBIN 1888/9

Captain J Edgar and Chief Officer RP Lawson of the ss Engineer of Liverpool for the rescue of the crew of the ship Fearnought of Liverpool. Statement of Captain James Edgar:- On Sunday 12th October 1890, at 5 pm, Lat. 43 28’ N., Long. 43 48’ W., sighted a vessel apparently in a disabled condition, and distant about 6 miles. Bore down upon her, and, on coming close past, found that the vessel was the Liverpool ship Fearnought, Captain John Kelly, bound from St. John (NB) to Fleetwood, with a cargo of deals, and that she was waterlogged and partly dismasted. The crew hailed us, and wanted to be taken off, as the vessel was breaking up fast, foremast gone, and otherwise badly damaged, having experienced bad weather for some time. Lost the foremast on 10th October, and had other serious damage to hull. At 6.30 pm, lowered and sent a lifeboat to the wreck, in charge of the Chief Officer, Mr Lawson, and succeeded, after very great difficulty, in taking off 11 hands out of 18, her total crew. 9 pm: Weather and sea now increased considerably; a strong gale blowing from the southward, with high cross sea. In view of above, did not consider it prudent to make another attempt to rescue the remaining 7 men, it being very dark, and the sea and wind increasing. Decided, therefore, to stand by the wreck until the weather moderated. Monday, 13th: At daylight, no improvement; stood by as before. Tuesday, 14th: Gale still continued. Made an attempt to launch another lifeboat, which was, however, broken and rendered useless. Remained by the vessel for the rest of this day. Wednesday 15th, 6.30 am: Weather had somewhat moderated. Launched a whaleboat and succeeded in taking off the Master and officers with remainder of the hands, 7 persons, making in all, 18 rescued. Proceeded to Liverpool, arriving there 22nd October. In the above attempts to save the Fearnought’s crew, had one lifeboat completely smashed, and another badly damaged. Crew of the first boat as follows: – Robert Parker Lawson, Chief Officer (in charge), Samuel Bass, Third Officer, the following ABs – Henry Moreau, James Spencer, Edward Wilcox, Ambrose Lace and William Robinson. Crew of the second boat: Robert Parker Lawson, Samuel Bass, Henry Moreau, James Spencer and Peter Crane, AB (from Fearnought). Wreck left with main and mizzen-masts standing, with a heavy list to port; Lat. 44 38’ N., Long. 43 46’ W.

Gold Medal 1895/6

The exceptionally heroic conduct of Captain WJ Nutman, of the ss Aidar of Liverpool, was considered. Captain Nutman, though his vessel was on the point of foundering, persistently refused to abandon an injured and helpless fireman, both of them being rescued from the keel of an overturned boat, after the Aidar had sunk, by the crew of the ss Staffordshire, also of Liverpool. The Gold Medal of the Society, which is only granted in case of remarkable gallantry, was unanimously voted to Captain Nutman. The Chairman commented that Captain Nutman preferred to go down in his ship rather than abandon one of his men who was disabled. He was urged – and very properly and rightly urged – to save his life and leave the ship, but he refused; and by what can only be described as a miracle he succeeded in saving the life of this disabled man, and his own life was preserved to be a credit to his profession and an honour to his country. I think ladies and gentlemen, this form of self-devotion, this form of courage, is rare. Courage on the battlefield, when the blood is up and hot, is more easy to comprehend; but that man with body and mind weakened by the shock of a great catastrophe and the exposure should have the courage and the self-sacrifice and the nerve and the devotion to deliberately precipitate himself in the open jaws of death, sooner than abandon the slightest hope of rescuing a fellow creature, is an instance of courage and devotion very rare.

EMILE ROBIN 1897/8

Captain Horatio J Wise and Chief Officer WH Sanders of the ss Ontario of Hull for saving the lives of 27 of the crew of the ship Androsa of Liverpool, on 8th March 1897. The Androsa sailed on October 28, 1896, with a general cargo from San Francisco for Liverpool, shows that on the morning of March 2. 1897, when in Lat. 46.40’ N., Long 23.05’ W., the vessel was struck by a hurricane, and sustained severe damage, the main topmast having subsequently to be cut away, and part of the cargo jettisoned to avoid capsizing. Both the Chief and Second officers were injured. The weather continued very bad, and the pumps were kept going constantly for six days. On March 6, a steamer was sighted, but, apparently, did not observe the Androsa’s signals of distress. On Monday, March 8, about 8 am., a steamer hove in sight bound west. We hoisted the ensign up union down. The steamer came within hailing distance, and we asked to be taken off, as our ship was sinking fast, and the seas were making complete breaches over her, and we had no boats, and nothing was left even to rig a raft. We sounded the pumps before leaving, and found from 12 – 15 ft of water in the hold. The steamer proved to be the Ontario, of Hull. Immediately they sent a lifeboat in charge of the Chief Officer, with six of the crew, and managed with great diffuculty to get alongside of our ship, and took seventeen hands on board the boat, then returned to the steamer, and, after transferring them, came back to the ship for the remaining ten, including myself and Officers. In coming alongside, the boat was smashed, and it was with great difficulty that we were rescued.

Parkgate

Buxton

Birmingham

Conway

Beaumaris

Amlwch

Holyhead

Caernarfon

Porthmadog

Barmouth

Letter from Mr Meredith of Barmouth: 03.02.1843 – Widow of Owen Lloyd, fisherman & non-member lost by storm on 13th Ult. She has 3 daughters aged 17,16,13 and a son aged 10. She will receive £5 from another society. Only the son considered dependent and £2 granted.

Letter from W. Williams Esq of Barmouth: 13.03.1844 – sending case of widow Williams. Her husband, a Mariner & member, was lost on 28 Ult, in a storm off Cardigan. The widow has one child aged 2 years. Her husband was a true Ivorite and she will receive £2 from that body and also 2/- per week from the Merchant Seamens Fund.

Letter from W. Williams Esq of Barmouth: 19.04.1844 – sending case of Lewis Griffiths, a Master Mariner & member, whose vessel went down whilst riding in the road. It was the first time he had gone to sea without insuring his vessel. He estimates his loss at upwards of £300. He has a wife and child to support. Resolved: case could not be relieved.

Letter from HA Rhyl: 24.01.1851 – 10 vessels wrecked on night of 08.01.1851. Praiseworthy conduct of 6 fishermen: J Foulkes, William Foulkes, J Foulkes Jnr, Henry Davies, William Jones and Robert Williams in saving lives of the crews of the ‘Robert’ and ‘Pilot’ who had been lashed in the rigging of the sunken vessels together with the wives of the two masters, the former from 10.00pm to 09.30am and the latter till 01.30pm. £12 awarded ‘as a stimulus to future exertion’.

Report of General Meeting at Rhyl: : for lifeboat installation, approved site selected on land between River Noryd and sea near the Abercele road close to the Telegraph. Also plans for a cottage for the Master of the boat if land granted by Lord Dinonhen approved.

31.12.1852: Peter Jones, Mariner, member 9 years, wrecked, loss of clothes, given £2 10s

31.12.1852: John Williams, Mariner, member 8 years, drowned, parents given £4 15s

04.02.1853: Inquest into loss of 6 men on upsetting of Rhyl lifeboat, to be held 7th February 1853. Secretary to attend. £50 to be subscribed for relief of widows and orphans of men drowned by the upsetting of the Rhyl lifeboat

04.03.1853: Griffith Richards, Mariner 8 years, disease of lungs from exposure, widow and four children given £4 15s

03.03.1854: Hugh Williams Master Mariner, member 9 years, exposure, widow given £2 10s

25.10.1854: Award of 5/- each in addition to 7/6 received before to Robert Williams, Edward Williams, RobertDavies, Edward Williams, Isaac Jones, John Parry, Edward Jones and Robert Edwards (lifeboat crew of 8) for during a heavy sea on 3rd Oct proceeding, to the rescue of 3 of the crew of a stranded vessel of the ? Obegale? coast and under the greatest difficulties saving their lives, they having clung to the rigging.

09.02.1855: E Lewis, Mariner, member 10 years, natural death, widow given £2 13s

23.01.1857: R Beck, Pilot, member 6 years, drowned, widow given £4 5s

Aberystwyth

New Quay

St Davids and Solva

Milford Haven

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr G Starbuck

Tenby

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Thomas Sleeman Jnr

Swansea

Date of first agency: 1846

First Honorary Agent: Mr Jasper Lewis

EMILE ROBIN 1891/2

Captain Albert John Bruce and Chief Officer Charles Hunter of the ss Eglantine of North Shields for the rescue of the crew of the barquentine Chislehurst of Swansea. Statement of Captain Bruce:- We left Rio Marina on February 1, 1893 and passed Gibraltar on the 7th. After getting clear of the land, we found a heavy swell setting from the southward and westward. The barometer fell rapidly, and I ordered double lashings on everything, hatches extra battened, and extra gripes round the boats. The following morning a regular hurricane burst upon us, and for the next four days we were deluged with water fore and aft. I never saw such a sea. Then we had a lull for 24 hours, but it was only temporary, for it blew again, with redoubled force, from the north-west, and this continued day after day. On February 27 at 4.30 am, the Eglantine was in Lat. 34 11’ N., Long. 65 04’ W., and it was blowing a gale from the NW with very high seas, when a flare-up was sighted to windward. I ordered the ship’s head to be put towards it, and steamed full speed, and at daybreak made out signals, “We are sinking” from the barquentine Chislehurst, of Swansea.
Wind and sea increasing, we had all hands on deck getting our boats ready for service. We were loaded with iron ore, and rolling very heavily, and it was very difficult to get the boats out safely in such a sea. Two of our boats got stove, and a third badly strained; but we saved the whole crew of the Chiselhurst, nine in all by by making two trips. They had to jump overboard, and then be hauled into the boat with ropes, and the same when they came alongside of the Eglantin. We used a great quantity of oil on the water with very good effect. The rescuing boat was manned by Mr Hunter and Able Seamen – Charles Halgren, Joseph Grillot, Arnold Blom and Joseph Ferras. We commenced the rescuing at 5.40 am and finished at 10.30 am., and at 11.30 the Chislehurst was seen to founder. There was great praise due to Mr Hunter and crew, for the way they handled the boat.

EMILE ROBIN 1903/4

Captain TA Scott and Chief Officer JS Edmondson of the ss Goolistan of Swansea for saving the lives of 27 of the crew of the sinking ss Spennymoor of London on 6th December 1903. Captain W Nairn, late of the Spennymoor, wrote as follows:- “After coaling, we left Malta on a voyage from Chesme to London on November 29th, the weather then being very bad and continued so until December 3rd, when we got a fearful gale from the west. The engines were eased and we continued to get along until the night of the 5th, when, at 10.30 pm., a tremendous sea broke aboard and almost swamped us, knocking in hatches, decks and bulkheads, and carrying away port boats and upper bridge. All hands were immediately got to work to try and secure damages, but little could be done owing to the heavy sea. At daylight we found the ship was in a sinking condition and decided to try and get back to Algiers, and at 8 am got the ship before the wind and sea, but so much water was getting into the holds that the ship laboured and made such terrible weather it was only a question of a few hours before she would founder, and we should be obliged to leave her, and, only having one lifeboat left, things were looking serious, when the Goolistan came in sight and responded to our signals.
It was then about noon on the 6th, still blowing a heavy gale, and only for the manner Captain Scott handled ship, I am sure things would have gone badly with us. He then steamed around us several times, training large quantities of oil in the sea, and then lying close under our lee, succeeded by 4 pm in getting us all off.” At the official enquiry, held at Newcastle, with reference to the loss of the Spennymoor, the Chairman remarked on the meritorious service rendered by Captain Scott, including his careful warning off of other ships from colliding with the sinking ship, which was a great danger to navigation until she foundered.

Port Talbot

The Mumbles

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr William Jenkins

Penarth

Cardiff

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Lieutenant T Dornford RN

EMILE ROBIN 1899/1900

Captain Mark Bate and Chief Officer Leonard Jewell of the ss Rhodesia of Cardiff for saving the lives of 10 of the crew of the schooner Carrie A Lane of Bath, Maine. (Mr Jewell is a son of the Society’s Hon. Agent at Clovelly, Captain W Jewell, a fact which was not know to the Committee when the award was made). In this case, as the vessel from which the ten lives were saved belonged to the USA, the depositions of the Captain are not available, but it may be mentioned that Mr Daniel Phillips, USA Consul at Cardiff, writes:- “All I can say is that it was one of the most heroic rescues on record” and Captain Skofield in presenting a silk banner to his rescuers wrote:- “This banner is presented for bravery shown in rescuing my wife and myself, my officers and crew from the water logged and dismasted schooner Carrie A Lane, on October 3 1899, during a gale of wind and heavy sea, losing the lifeboat and very nearly losing Chief Officer, carpenter, and one seaman belonging to the Rhodesia”; while the Board of Trade received from the President of the United States (through the Foreign Office) and presented a gold watch and chain to Captain Bate, a marine glass to Mr Jewell, and gold medals to each of the boat’s crew. The following account is extracted from the log of the Rhodesia:- “At about 9.30 am on October 3 last, during a strong north-easterly gale, sighted a dismasted brigantine distant about five miles. We bore down upon her and found her to be the American schooner Carrie A Lane, from Appalachicola, laden with timber. We found that, in addition to being dismasted, she had sprung a leak, her decks being on a level with the sea.

We could see people grouped together on her deckhouse aft. The Rhodesia was rounded to the windward of the wreck, and the port lifeboat was lowered in charge of Mr Jewell, who immediately proceeded towards the wreck, but on approaching her found it impossible to get alongside, going to the vessel’s cargo, including the deck-load, being washed away from her. We then got a line onboard of her and succeeding in rescuing the crew, nine in number, and the Captain’s wife, who was the first rescued. This had to be done by hauling them through the water, one at a time by means of a line, as the boat could not get alongside a distance of forty yards. After the crew were all on board, the mate signalled to the master of the steamer as prearranged, and he immediately steamed to leeward, when the crew were all taken on board safely, but in trying to get the boat back on board again it was smashed to pieces against the ship’s side. We then proceeded on our voyage at 1.30 pm and landed the rescued crew at Norfolk, October 5 1899.”

EMILE ROBIN 1922/3

Captain JJ Shaw and First Officer J Crisp of the ss Dalton of Newcastle-on-Tyne which in very wild weather in the North Sea, on 12 January, saved the lives of 15 persons, including 2 women and 3 children from the ss Tidal of Cardiff, which sank a few minutes after the rescue had been effected. The following statement was made by Mr CW Peters, Master of the ss Tidal- On January 12, 1922, about 8 am., the Tidal was in distress about 8 miles off the Corton Lightship, near Lowestoft. The weather was exceptionally bad – very heavy seas running, with half a gale blowing from the northward. Finding the vessel was showing no signs of righting herself from the list which she had, I put up distress signal, viz., two flags, and also continually blew steamer’s whistle. I saw two steamers within 5 or 6 miles of us – the Dalton being nearest. She bore down on us, and got sufficiently near for me to megaphone to the Captain and inform him we wished to leave the ship – the Mate at the same time holding up one of my little children for him to see. The Captain told me to launch my lifeboat, but I replied it was impossible on account of my ship’s list and the bad weather.
The Dalton was then put to windward of my ship, and at a distance of about 50 yards from same the lifeboat was launched, and made for our stern, from which we threw a heaving line as they got round on port side. In the boat was the 2nd Mate and four seamen of the Dalton. With the greatest difficulty and bravery, the Dalton’s men assisted all hands of the Tidal into their boat, women and children first. This was about 10.15 am. Five minutes later the Tidal sank. The Dalton and the lifeboat then manoeuvred towards each other, and in ten minutes we were all on board the Dalton, which took us into Yarmouth Roads, when we were transshipped to the Lowestoft lifeboat, landing about 2 pm. On board the Dalton we were given every attention, clothes being dried, and all hands supplied with breakfast and dinner. The Captain of the Dalton, by his prompt and skilful handling of his ship, was the means of saving 15 lives, as the matter of a few minutes made all the difference. There was another vessel coming to our assistance, but she was too far away, and the Tidal would have sunk before she could reach us. It may be added that His Majesty the King, awarded bronze medals for gallantry in saving life at sea to Captain JJ Shaw, Mr R Spence and the rest of the crew of the Dalton’s lifeboat, as well as a piece of Plate to the Master, and binoculars to Mr Spence, in recognition of the rescue of the crew of the Tidal.

Newport

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr R Turnbull

Tintern and Chepstow

Location of mine: On new patio at rear of Anchor Inn

Date of first agency: 1848

First Honorary Agent: Mr Oliver Chapman

Bristol

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Captain Stuart RN

EMILE ROBIN 1884/5

Captain LG Star and Chief Officer J Payne of the steamship Juno of Bristol for the rescue of the crew of the steamship George Moore of Port Glasgow. The ss Juno, of the Bristol Steam Navigation Company, was on her voyage from Cork to Bristol, on the morning of 21st May 1887, when, about 1 am, rockets were seen on the bearing of the ‘Smalls’ Light. The weather was clear, with a strong NW wind and heavy sea, as it had been blowing hard all the previous day. The course was at once altered to E by S., and soon after we raised the Light, and it became certain that the rockets came from the Lighthouse about every 15 minutes, and that there must be something serious the matter at, or in the neighbourhood of the Light. At 2.30 am the Light bore north, and the Juno was kept away round the SW reef, and in for the Lighthouse, the rockets being discharged with more rapidity, until we were close to the rocks and breakers.

Nothing could be seen for some minutes until, the day breaking, the masts and top of the funnel of a sunken steamer were made out in the breakers, between the NE rock and the main rock on which the Lighthouse stands. The sea was breaking heavily over the wreck, and it was plain that it could not be approached on that side, in a boat, as the wind and sea were too heavy for her to pull up to windward, the tide also setting strongly to the southward. So it was determined to take the Juno round the west side of the rocks, and lower a boat on the north, or weather, side of the wreck, where she would have a fair wind, sea, and tide. This was acted on without delay, and, while steaming round, the starboard cutter was got ready for her venture, and spare oars, buckets for bailing, and lifebuoys, with about one hundred fathoms of twelve-thread ratling line, were put in. By the time the Juno got round to the weather side the day was breaking, about 3 am., and it could be seen that there were a number of men in the main shrouds of the wreck, the fore-yard just over water, and the remains of her canvas, which had been set. The funnel was at this time swept away by a sea.
The Juno was brought as close to windward as possible for the breaker, a lee made, and the cutter was successfully lowered by Hill and Clark’s patent gear, in charge of the Second Mate (Mr Thomas Eastaway), James English, John Dyer, John Lavis, and Thomas Pike, all ABs forming the crew, and all in regulation cork jackets. Mr James Payne, Chief Mate, also wanted to go, but was detained on board by the Master for other service if necessary. To approach the wreck was a service of great danger, as the sea was breaking over her heavily, and wreckage lashing about in the surf. After many trials, and having to drift and bale out several times, at last the line was caught, and made fast to the rigging, and, acting on signs from the boat, slack was hauled in until the rope was middled, when man after man was bent on by the Master of the vessel, and was hauled through the surf to the boat, until nine men were rescued. The cutter then returned with her load to the Juno, which in the meantime had been kept backing and filling as close to leeward of the boat as possible. Bowlines had been prepared, and the rescued men were hauled on board, and put into blankets and attended to, as they were much exhausted.

The boat was refitted with spare oars, two having been broken, and more line, and was towed up to windward to the former position, and once more returned to the wreck, where seven men still remained in the shrouds. In the interval the wind and the sea had increased, and the tide had turned, against the wind, making it still worse for the boat; and, to add to all this, the line, which had been left fast to a lifebuoy, had become entangled in the wreckage, so the whole struggle to get a line fast had to be gone through over again. The boat would pull up, throw the line, and be washed away by the sea, half filled, more than once, bale out, and pull up again, until after nine trials the rope was caught again until the Master, the last man, was hauled into the boat, making 16 men, all told, the entire crew of the ss George Moor, Captain David Robb, of Port Glasgow, NB. The men were hauled up the side as before, and the boat hoisted up, somewhat staved by being dashed against the side by the roll. The Lighthousemen, who had been looking on unable to assist, except by their timely show of rockets – for the sea was breaking over the rock and the base of the building – rang out their bell and waved the Trinity flag, and the Juno was kept away on her course to Bristol, where she arrived at 5 pm., when the rescued men were placed in the care of the Superintendent of the Sailors’ Home, representing the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

EMILE ROBIN 1905/6 Captain J Durie and Chief Officer L Lawson of the ss Lillie of Bristol for the rescue of the crew of the American schooner Ida C Southard in the North Atlantic, on 9th February 1905. The vessel from which the lives were saved being an American schooner (Ida C Southard), it has not been found possible to obtain full official details of the case, but the ascertained facts are as follows:- The Lillie being in the Atlantic at 4 pm on February 9 1905, the wrecked vessel was observed to be flying signals of distress. The seas were making a clean sweep over her, and the masts had been carried away. The shipwrecked people desired to be taken off, and Mr Cooper and the four seamen manned the lifeboat and proceeded to their assistance. The life-saving party were faced with much danger, as high seas were running, and the greatest difficulty was experienced in getting alongside the wreck. Besides the seven men composing the crew of the schooner, there were two women passengers. It may be added that the US Government awarded to the Captain of the Lillie a gold watch and chain, to Mr Cooper a marine glass, and to each of the remainder of the boat’s crew a gold medal. (Of the £16 the Captain received, he donated £5 5s to the Society’s funds).

EMILE ROBIN 1931/2 Captain EH Brice and Chief Officer DM Baker of the ss Aztec of Bristol for the rescue of the crew of 6 of the schooner Ria of Newfoundland on 16 November. The Aztec left Avonmouth on 9 November. Heavy weather was experienced on 16 November. At 9.30 pm in Lat. 35.58 N., Long. 38.10 W., a vessel burning distress signals was observed. Course was altered to investigate and at 10.00 pm vessel was stopped alongside the three-masted schooner Ria, bound from Cadiz to Grandbank, Newfoundland – cargo, salt – and had been drifting derelict for 17 days, having lost all sails and suffered considerable damage, also leaking badly. Food and water almost exhausted; crew had suffered considerable hardship. At 10.00 pm a boat was manned by a volunteer crew of 8, including the Chief Officer, Mr DM Baker in charge. Some difficulty was encountered when the boat arrived alongside the schooner, owing to vessel being unmanageable in a strong northerly wind, rough sea and big confused swell. The crew, consisting of 6, including the Master, were eventually taken off, having set fire to the derelict to prevent her becoming a danger to navigation. At 11.14 pm boat returned to ship and was hoisted. Schooner was well afire before leaving.

Watchet

Location of mine: On esplanade by slip into marina

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Lt Blake RN

Porlock

Location of mine: Porlock Weir

Date of first agency: 1909

First Honorary Agent: Mr William John

Lynton and Lynmouth

Location of mine: Two mines on Lynmouth Harbour and at Glen Gorge Entrance Lynmouth

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Mr Colwell Roe

Hartland

Port Isaac

Padstow

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr R B Hillyar

Newquay

St Ives

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr R H Bamfield

Newlyn

Penzance

Date of first agency: 1847

First Honorary Agent: Mr R Pearce

The ‘Mystery’ 1853

The ‘Mystery’ 1853 – This little fishing boat of 16 tons, which left Penzance on the 19th November, and arrived out at Melbourne on the 14th March, is the smallest vessel that ever undertook an Australian voyage. She made the passage in 105 days, having called in at the Cape of Good Hope, from which place she took a mail. She had fine weather to the Cape, after leaving which she encountered heavy gales, but the little boat rode like a cockle-shell on the waves. The little ‘Mystery’ has shamed many large ships, which, without calling at the Cape, have been much longer on the voyage.

1919

On February 16, Mr Edward McDonald, the Society’s Hon. Agent at St Mary’s, Scilly Islands, had the gratifying experience of being publicly presented with a silver teapot in recognition of his kind assistance to shipwrecked crews (mostly from torpedoed vessels), and the inscription ran as follows:- Presented to E McDonald, Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, by the officers and men of the Scilly Naval Base, for services rendered to survivors landed at Scilly, 1915 – 1918. The ceremony was performed by Lieut. Thompson, RNR in the unavoidable absence of the officer commanding the Naval base, and attention was called to the fact that, during the period referred to, more than 2,000 shipwrecked sailors had been cared for and forwarded by Mr McDonald to the mainland, usually via Penzance. Sometimes his house was crowded with sailors during the night, while he went around to find billets for them, being helped by Mrs McDonald, who often provided tea, coffee, etc to keep the men warm until they were provided with lodgings.

Portleven

Isles of Scilly

Date of first agency: 1839

First Honorary Agent: Messrs Edwards & Johns

March 1915

After 3 British steamers had been torpedoed by the ‘U.29’ near the Scilly Islands on 12th March 1915, the Captain of one of them found that he had lost effects to the value of about £100. Being a member of the Society, he reluctantly applied for the comparatively trifling sum to which he was entitled, as his insurance policy did not cover war risks. He wrote again however, shortly afterwards, withdrawing his claim against the Society as he had been awarded a prize of £100 by the Daily Mail for 2 photographs he took of the incident, one of which (of the submarine approaching) being specially illustrative of the sangfroid of a British sailor.

March 1919

On February 16, Mr Edward McDonald, the Society’s Hon. Agent at St Mary’s, Scilly Islands, had the gratifying experience of being publicly presented with a silver teapot in recognition of his kind assistance to shipwrecked crews (mostly from torpedoed vessels), and the inscription, ran as follows:- “Presented to E McDonald, Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, by the officers and men of the Scilly Naval Base, for services rendered to survivors landed at Scilly, 1915-1918.” The ceremony was performed by Lieut. Thompson, RNR, in the unavoidable absence of the officer commanding the Naval Base, and attention was called to the fact that, during the period referred to, more than 2,000 shipwrecked sailors had been cared for and forwarded by Mr McDonald to the mainland, usually via Penzance. Sometimes his house was crowded with sailors during the night, while he went around to find billets for them, being helped by Mrs McDonald, who often provided tea, coffee etc, to keep the men warm until they were provided with lodgings.

July 1925

The Committee awarded an Aneroid Barometer, with inscription, to Mr Gerald Phillips, of St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, with respect to is action as follows:-

When some three miles off St Mary’s in the motor yacht Shamrock with Mr Norman Birch, of Penzance, on May 6th, the vessel’s pitching threw Mr Birch overboard, and, in falling, his foot was caught by a string of corks which went overboard with him. Phillips jumped to the side and caught Mr Birch by the wrist, but, with the speed of the boat and the force of the sea, was unable to hold him. However, after repeated manoeuvring of the yacht, he being left alone in it, he eventually managed to get a broom under Mr Birch’s arm and, by leaning over the side, he contrived, at great personal risk, and after strenuous efforts, to haul him on board, apparently dead. He did his best to restore him by artificial respiration, and, fortunately, another boat came in sight and stood by, Mr Henry Jenkins, Trinity Pilot, then assisting him in the work. Mr Birch was landed at St Mary’s after being unconscious for over two hours, and certainly owes his life to Phillips’s skill, courage and coolness. Mr Birch’s father wrote to a newspaper as follows:- “We wish to thank Mr Phillips for his heroic courage, as by his cool-headedness he did what seemed an impossibility. Surely God gave him superhuman strength in those few critical moments, which meant all the difference between life and death! There will always be a warm corner in our hears for Gerald Phillips, for Mr Henry Jenkins, pilot, and others who helped; Dr Addison, for his prompt reply to the call, and his kindness and attention; also for Nurse Besiznak for her very valuable assistance and devotion, staying with our son all night; for Mrs Mumford of Holgate’s Hotel, where he worked; and for the islanders generally. As a matter of fact, the case does not come strictly within the Society’s regulations as to life-saving awards, nor, apparently, within the scope of either the Royal Humane Society or the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, but the Committee were so impressed by Mr Phillips’ action, as represented to them by their Hon. Agent at Scilly, Mr E McDonald, that they decided to recognise the incident by granting the testimonial above mentioned. The aneroid was publicly presented to Mr Phillips by Dr Addison, at a dance, got up on behalf of the Society, by “The Star Boys”, at St Mary’s on July 1.

1996/7 EDWARD AND MAISIE LEWIS

Lieutenant P Webster and crew of RN Sea King helicopter, 771 Squadron, RNAS Culdrose for the rescue of the Master of mv Cita. At 0340 26 March 1997 a RN Sea King helicopter of 771 Squadron was scrambled to assist the 4,400 ton container vessel Cita which had run aground on the island of St Mary, Isles of Scilly. Whilst the aircraft was en route, the St Mary’s lifeboat succeeded in removing seven of the crew, leaving only the Master on board the vessel. At 0440, the aircraft crew sighted the Cita, aground about 50 metres from the threshold of Runway 25 at St Mary’s airport, with a list to starboard of 15º. The weather had deteriorated to full cloud cover at 200ft with low visibility in continuous drizzle and wind from the south-west gusting to 35 kts. The aircraft’s first task was the stretcher transfer from the lifeboat to the airport of one of the survivors who had a suspected broken leg. As helicopter and lifeboat manoeuvred into position for the transfer, the Cita suddenly listed dramatically to starboard to 45º and lost all lighting. The Master requested by radio to be taken off immediately. The aircraft was quickly but calmly repositioned over the ship’s bridge wing where the Master was holding onto the guard-rail to stop himself sliding across the deck. The Diver, PO Aircrewman Warrington, was lowered to the bridge wing and, as the Master was donning the strop, the vessel suddenly lurched further to starboard and both men slid across the deck. The Winch Operator, Leading Aircrewman McKee, realising the severity of the situation and using excellent initiative and judgement, quickly raised the winch thereby preventing further mishap as Diver and Master lost their footing with the vessel’s sudden movement. Fortunately, the Diver had been swift to secure the Master in the strop so an immediate lift was possible and both were safely recovered to the aircraft and landed at St Mary’s airport. Throughout this two hour rescue, the crew displayed the highest standards of professionalism, courage and stamina in very testing conditions. Their rapid whole-crew response to a sudden and much worse emergency was particularly commendable and almost certainly saved the life of the Master. The helicopter crew was Lieutenant Patrick Webster, Lieutenant John Duffy, Lieutenant Peter Stretton, Petty Officer Aircrewman Phillip Warrington and Leading Aircrewman Robert McKee.

Portscatho

Date of first agency: 1918

First Honorary Agent: Mr William Steer HMCG

Stornoway

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Andrew Mercer

Gold Medal 1940/1

The Society’s Gold Medal for Gallantry has been awarded by the Committee to Malcolm Morrison, of Stornoway, the eighteen-year-old hero of the Arlington Court disaster, who navigated an open boat, with five others of the crew in it, 550 miles in six days after the Arlington Court had been torpedoed in the Atlantic. When the ship’s lifeboat was finally picked up by a Norwegian tanker, Morrison and the others were almost stiff with cold. The presentation ceremony at Stornoway, arranged by the Society’s Honorary Agent, Mr Murdo Maclean, was held on February 19th, when an enthusiastic gathering of over 700 people filled the town hall to overflowing, and after a speech by ex-Provost Smith, describing Morrison’s exploit, the presentation of the Gold Medal and a cheque for £10 10s from the Society was made by Councillor Donald Mackay, Chairman of Lewis District Council.

EDWARD AND MAISIE LEWIS 1987/8

Captain John Bleaden and crew of HM Coastguard/Bristow helicopter 119, Stornoway for the rescue of an injured fisherman. Early on the evening of the Wednesday 6 January 1988 a request for help was received by the Stornoway Coastguard from fv Paraclete, lying some 60 miles off the Butt of Lewis, which had picked up an injured man who had been carried overboard from another vessel. Coastguard Bristow Helicopter 119 was scrambled, with Captain Bleaden as Pilot, Co-Pilot Andy Hudson, Winch Operator Vic Carcass and Winchman Jeff Todd. After an hour of battling through appalling weather, with storm force winds gusting at times up to 70 kts, the helicopter reached the Paraclete’s position, where attempts to employ the hi-line method of recovering the casualty proved unsuccessful because of the adverse conditions. It was decided, therefore, to go for a straight winch, which involved the Winchman landing directly on the deck of the vessel, which was corkscrewing, pitching and tossing violently. On hitting the deck, the Winchman was dragged across it and into a well under the deck where he could have been killed had he not instantly disconnected the line. For 30 minutes the helicopter maintained its station, connected to the Paraclete by the hi-line, while Winchman Jeff Todd attended to the injured man, who was then securely strapped to the stretcher in preparation for being recovered by the helicopter by means of the hi-line. When this manoeuvre was carried out, the Winchman and the casualty were swung about so violently that at one point they were seen by the Pilot ahead of and on a level with the helicopter. The wire caught the undercarriage and the hi-line became looped around the injured man’s neck and would have throttled him had Jeff Todd not been able to cut the line. Thanks to the outstanding skill and courage of the crew of Helicopter 119, the casualty was safely recovered and flown direct to Lewis hospital.

Scalpay

Date of first agency: 1887

First Honorary Agent: Mr Kenneth Campbell (Fishcurer)

Aultbea

Isle of Skye

Wicklow

Arklow

Date of first agency: 1850

First Honorary Agent: Mr Peter Fawcett

Drogheda

Dundalk

Falmouth

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Alfred Broad

Fowey

Location of mine: Quayside

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Lt Hooper RN

EMILE ROBIN 1896/7

Captain FW Chambers and Chief Officer PG Haggberg of the ss Damara of West Hartlepool for the rescue of the crew of the brig Victoria of Fowey. The following account is given by Captain AF Moelgenborg, late Master of the Victoria. “Sir, as requested by you, I beg to state the services rendered by the boat’s crew from the Damara, of West Hartlepool, were such as I can scarcely describe; for our vessel was in a sinking state with a hole in her stern, and sea making clean sweeps over her, also water gaining on the pumps very fast, having made three feet of water in eight hours, and the pumps kept constantly going. At the time of making signal to the steamer, I had very poor hopes of her being able to render us any assistance, on account of the terrific high sea running, with a heavy gale blowing from the NW., and only for the oil cast on the water from the steamer, keeping the sea from breaking, their attempt, I fear, would have been useless; and then, when the difficulty of letting their boat into the water on the second attempt was over, each wave was looked upon with dread, and had not the boat been manned with a skilful crew and brave hearts, they would never have managed to do what they did, for it took about two hours hard contest with the sea and weather in rescuing myself and crew off the Victoria. The fact that they were unable to save the boats is also another evidence of the state of the sea at the time. Trusting that this statement will satisfy the Board of Trade in the matter; or, should they require any further evidence from me, I shall be very glad to state anything I might know to render justice to the crew of the Damara’s boat.

September 1917

The following extract from a letter written by the Rev. Canon Purcell, Vicar Fowey, to Captain RH Ivey, the Society’s Relief Officer in London, emphasises the gallantry of our Mercantile Marine:- “I hope before the end of this year to have collections in Fowey Church on behalf of that most excellent and valued Society which you represent – The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society. No one who is worthy of the name of a Britisher but must be filled with the greatest admiration for what our mariners and fishermen have done for us all during the past three years. Their deeds, their heroism, their glorious devotion and self-sacrifice are immortally written on the page of history. I hope and pray that our children’s children may never be allowed to forget their noble deeds.”

1918

From the Society’s Quarterly Statement January 1918 – The following statement by the Inspector of States Police, Guernsey, may be considered worth perusing, as illustrative of the cold-blooded action of the German U-boats, especially in the case of a harmless little vessel, without cargo, with a crew of three. 15th December 1917, I beg to report that at 1400 on 14th, the captain and two of the crew of the ketch Britannic, registered tonnage 73, belonging to WL Jenkins, Baltic Buildings, Swansea were landed from their own boat at the White Rock, St Peter Port, Guernsey. The captain in answer to my questions said, “We left Granville (France) at 1500, Tuesday 11th, in ballast for Fowey. At 0130, 13th when 12 miles NNW of the Hanois, Guernsey, a German submarine came up on my starboard bow, went round us, and fired 3 shots on our port quarter. We at once got in our boat and went to the submarine, who took us on board. Four Germans then went in our boat to the ketch and took away a quantity of food, all brass, flags etc and then placed bombs on board and came back to the submarine and then there was an explosion, and I saw the ketch go down. I believe the number of the submarine was 300, but I am not sure. The captain asked me several questions about the war in excellent English, but nothing of importance. I asked him the nearest port, he said Guernsey. I asked him for a compass and he said “Go to the devil!” We then got in our boat and the submarine went away on the surface in a WSW direction. We had no gun on the ketch. We were 36 hours in the boat”.

Looe

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Phillip Trout

Plymouth

Location of mine: Barbican, West Pier

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Alfred Rooker

Loss of 150 lives. The greatest possible consternation was created on Friday and Saturday 5th May, throughout the counties of Devonshire and Cornwall, on the receipt of the melancholy intelligence of the total loss of the emigrant shop ‘John’, Rawle, and the drowning of a large number of her passengers, who were principally from the north of Devon, the great source of American emigration in the west of England; numbers from other parts of that county; and the remainder from the counties of Cornwall, Dorset, and Somerset – in fact, she was considered what is termed a west country ship. Numbers of the friends of the unfortunate passengers accompanied them to this place to bid a farewell, and, as the melancholy sequel proved, a last adieu to many of those whom they loved and respected.

The departure of the ship was witnessed and cheered by numerous persons assembled on the Hoe. She left the Sound at 4pm, on the top of the ebb tide, with a favourable wind off the land; and all bid fair for a rapid and prosperous voyage down Channel. How these hopes were blighted in appears impossible to say, so varied are the accounts furnished by those who have been spared to tell of the catastrophe; all seem, however, to unite in a complaint of mismanagement against the captain, and so embittered were the survivors towards him that it is stated the coastguard were obliged to afford him protection from their fury.
The scene when the vessel struck, as may be anticipated, was most distressing; the utmost confusion prevailed, and most of those on board gave themselves up in despair. The account rendered by one of the passengers is most heart-rending. One of the passengers, William Walton, a man of apparently sickly and delicate constitution, succeeded, as the vessel settled in the water, in taking his wife and 6 children into the rigging one by one – the youngest unfortunately fell from the mother’s arms into the sea; the father, though unable to swim, plunged after it, but failed in his noble effort to save his child, and with difficulty regained the ship. Another, William Clemence, who had a wife and 10 children on board, attempted to raise the 6 youngest of them into the rigging by the aid of a sheet, with which he had tied them together. Unfortunately he failed in his efforts, and the whole 6 were drowned. Samuel Roger, a boy, aged 15, one of the other passengers save, has lost his father, mother, 2 brothers, a sister, and a cousin. Henry North, saved, lost his wife and 3 children. One of the passengers, Mr EC Hele, of Dawlish, being provided with a lifebelt, swam ashore in the night, and he declares, that had the boats been lowered when she struck, all might have been saved. Another of the cabin passengers, Mr Knuckey, lately returned from Australia, lost £500 of his savings, but succeeded in taking ashore 700 sovereigns in a belt. Another passenger among the survivors, who left the dockyard to emigrate, as if foreseeing the chance of calamity, asked for a week’s leave only, instead of his discharge from the service; this would have expired in a day or two; he now returns in time to retake his employment. 108 of the bodies were buried in St Keverne churchyard, relations being buried together.

An extraordinary and melancholy circumstance in connection with this sad disaster is related. A respectable man of Southmolten, in the north of Devon, named Pincombe, with his wife and 6 children would have gone out in another ship, but while corresponding with the owner for the purpose of getting the passage money reduced by £1, the berths were all taken, and he was obliged to wait for the ‘John’, in which, as we have said, he perished, together with his family.

The following is the report of the magistrates on her loss as delivered at Falmouth on the evidence before them, concluded on the 15th May, and in which they were assisted by Captain Robertson, RN, from the Board of Trade:-

With reference to the melancholy circumstances attendant with the loss of the barque ‘John’, we have to report that the said vessel was about 463 tons; sailed from Plymouth for Quebec, under the command of Edward Rawle, on Thursday, 3rd May inst. at between 2 and 3pm, having on board five cabin passengers, 198.5 statute adult passengers – equal to 263 souls; that the crew constituted 19 persons; and immediately previous to sailing, the Government Emigration officer at Plymouth made his inspection, and signed a certificate of clearance. The ship left Plymouth with a light wind from the north, and from a mile and a half off the Rame Head she was steered a westerly course, with the wind NNW, and so continued until the Falmouth Light was sighted, between half-past 8 and 9 o’clock in the evening, soon after which the course, by the captain’s order, was altered to W. half S. In 10 minutes after the captain again altered the course to W. by S, and in about 20 minutes after he again changed to WSW, that they continued on this course for about an hour, when by the captain’s direction, the vessel was steered SW, and a few minutes afterwards struck on the Manacle Rocks; the wind then was, and had been from 8pm NNE, the ship almost immediately afterwards surged off, whereupon the captain, finding the rudder gone, gave orders to run the vessel on shore, with a view to save the lives of the passengers. She gradually filled, and ultimately, at about 1030, settled down, about a quarter of a mile from the north shore. The tide was low. The deck remained free from water for about two hours afterwards, during which period ineffectual attempts were made to get out the boats – one a gig. These were launched. She subsequently broke adrift, with five of the crew and a passenger. She ultimately reached Coverack. That as the tide rose the passengers and crew were forced from the deck to the poop and rigging. Through the night a large number of passengers were washed off the wreck. At about daylight the survivors were at last rescued by a boat from shore, manned by coastguard men and boatmen. That the captain and crew were saved, but only between 70 – 80 passengers. We now proceed to offer the following opinion upon the evidence.

1st – That the ship was provided with four boats, three of which were efficient, the other doubtful; that the lifeboat was neither stowed in the proper place nor prepared for immediate service, as directed by the act – and to these circumstances, probably, the staving and loss of the lifeboat and the delay in endeavouring to get out the longboat are to be attributed.

2nd – That with the exception of one signal lantern, there were no means on board the ship of making a signal of distress by night. We think that had there been adequate means of making such signals, and had they been shown when the ship first got on shore, whilst the weather was moderate, the boats would have come off at an earlier period, and thus have rescued a much larger portion of passengers.

3rd – That either from ignorance or gross and culpable negligence of the captain, the course steered by his orders were the direct cause of bringing the barque on the Manacle rocks.

4th – That with respect to the above deviation from the provisions of the Passengers Act, we consider that the Government Emigration Officer and owners of the ship were culpable.

5th – That after the vessel struck, the conduct of the captain was most reprehensible in every respect. He appears to have taken no active means to save the lives of the passengers; nor did he assist them to leave the ship, and quitted her himself whilst many passengers were still in the rigging; and that he and the mate were the only two person who saved anything for themselves – the captain saving his cloak, and the mate his quadrant.

6th – That the chief-mate appears to be ignorant of his duty and responsibilities, and is culpable in not having personally rendered assistance to the passengers.

7th – That the conduct of the crew, with the exception of Andrew Elder and one or two others, appears to have been very bad, but would possibly have been different had a better example been set them by the officers.

8th – James Hill, and others associated with them, in going to and taking the passengers and crew off the wreck, was highly commendable.

“The circumstances of this case render it our duty to suggest to your lordships, that in all passenger ships the first mate should be required to have a certificate of competency, instead of service only, and that the number and nature of night signals required to be provided by the owners of passenger ships should be specified.” The Shipping Gazatte considers from the report “there is enough to show that, if the Captain were ‘not intoxicated’, he formed almost the only exception to the entire crew, who thus had charge of nearly 300 lives; and the circumstance of his taking a ship, crowded with passengers, to sea in such a disgraceful state, is only less culpable than that of being intoxicated himself. It is time some stringent means should be taken to put a stop to the state of drunkenness in which we find many crews continue to be shipped, and in which state they too frequently proceed to sea. We have no hesitation in attributing the loss of the ‘John’ to the effects of this deplorable vice; and the expression of the Jury on the conduct of the crew is sufficiently conclusive. They considered that there was not one extenuating circumstance, before or after the ship was struck, in the conduct of the Captain and the crew. A verdict of ‘Manslaughter’ was consequently, recorded against the captain, who was immediately committed to Bodmin gaol.” “We do not agree with the Jury in their recommendation that a light should be placed on the Manacles. As we have already shown, there are good lights on each side of these Rocks, and the multiplication of lights, on that point, would rather tend to mislead and confuse the mariner than to assist him.” The position of this case is, that it now goes to the Board of Trade, who will direct the Sheriff to assess the amount of damages – whereon the whole of the leading evidence will have to be gone over again more minutely.
1919
From the Society’s Quarterly Statement April 1919 – Mrs Scarborough, Chairman of the New York Port Society, wrote a letter on 28th February to the leading newspapers of that city advocating the claims of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, in honour of which she gave a concert on 6th March. In this letter she pointed out that the Society had, during the war, cared for the crews of 29 American ships, comprising 750 American sailors, and had also assisted two widows and two orphans of Americans torpedoed in British waters, and she appealed for funds, which could either be sent to the Central Office in London, or be placed in collecting boxes in the Port Society’s Buildings, the New York Yacht Club, or the Pennyslvania Hotel. In addition to this, she published a letter from Captain Moloney, late commanding the ss Lake Owens, from which the following extracts will be of interest:- New York, February 20, 1919. Dear Mrs Scarborough, I deeply regret that, owing to my early departure for Antwerp, I shall be unable to present at your meeting on March 6, as I should be only too glad to relate before the Port Society my experiences when I was torpedoed off the coast of Cornwall, England, on September 3 last. I am under a great debt of gratitude to the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society of England…. I feel that the work done by them, although well known in England, has not been brought to the attention of the American public, and this I, as an American, deeply regret, for I feel sure that their work has only to be known to be appreciated in this country. It is international in scope, and the crews of many American ships can bear testimony to this. Our own experience shows this fully. We were torpedoed at 2am and were obliged to take to the boats without a moment for preparation. Five of our crew were killed and ten of us seriously wounded, the majority of whom were terribly burnt by escaping steam. The survivors, some of them almost naked and all of them insufficiently clad, were landed at Newquay, Cornwall at 10am and it was here we found the ministering care of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society. Without red tape or any unnecessary delay, or any inquiries as to our nationality or ability to reimburse them, that Society, through the local Hon. Agent, Mr JT Coumbe, furnished the men with outfits of clothes, provided meals and places to sleep in, and later on got railroad tickets and sent all on to the care of the American Consul at Plymouth. They were indeed good friends, and I am sure all my crew appreciated their good offices. To the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society of England I again extend my thanks, for they did their part in keeping the Allied flags flying triumphantly on the Seven Seas. Very sincerely yours, Denis A Moloney – Commanding ss Ossawatomie, International Mercantile Marine Lines, late commanding ss Lake Owens.

Salcombe

Dartmouth

Location of mine: Seafront

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr RL Hingston

Brixham

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Rev JR Hogg

December 1914

The disastrous wreck of HM Hospital ship ‘Rohilla,’ near Whitby, on October 30, would in ordinary times, have attracted greater attention, the sufferings of the passengers and crew having been specially harrowing. In this case, 84 persons were drowned and 145 saved, and the necessaries provided for the latter, including railway fares, amounted to no less than £566 3s 5d, whilst the Society also expended £140 in temporary help to widows and orphans. The Society’s Hon. Agent at Whitby, Mr RK Jackson (who took all measures possible for the comfort of the shipwrecked person, involving a great amount of trouble, exposure and inconvenience), received the following letter from the Secretary of the British India SN Company, owners of the wrecked ship:-

“Dear Sir, I am desired by the Directors of the British India Steam Navigation Company Limited, to convey to you the expression of their sincere thanks for the kindness shown and great assistance so willingly give by you to the survivors of the ‘Rohilla.’ ”

March 1914 – Gold Medal The heroic conduct of William Pillar (skipper) and the crew of the Brixham trawler Provident, which rescued 71 survivors of HMS Formidable, after her lamentable loss on January 1 (which action will long live in the memory of the nation) after being torpedoed by a German U-Boat, was rewarded by the Committee, who presented the Society’s Gold Medal to the skipper, with a purse of £5, and the Silver Medal and a purse of £3 to each of the other members of the crew, viz., W Carter (2nd hand), J Clarke (3rd hand), and Dan Taylor (boy), these awards being publicly presented at Brixham on February 13. It may be remarked that the Gold Medal is only given in exceptional cases of bravery, and the remarkable courage shown on this occasion was widely recognised, the men receiving several very substantial rewards, including medals personally presented to them at Buckingham Palace by the King. (Only 199 men were saved out of a complement of 750).

EMILE ROBIN 2007/8 Coxswain Criddle for the rescue of the crew (20) of the mv Ice Prince. At 1944 on Sunday 13 January 2008, the Torbay lifeboat, RNLB Alec and Christina Dykes, a Severn class with Coxswain Mark Criddle in command, slipped her mooring to go to the aid of the Ice Prince, a 6,395 tonne cargo vessel with a crew of 20. The vessel was drifting 34 nautical miles south east of Berry Head. In the adverse weather her cargo of timber had shifted resulting in a 25 degree list to port. Her engines were also disabled and she was being set to the NNE at a rate of 4kts. As the lifeboat cleared Start Point, she met the full force of the weather: the wind was southerly force 8 to 9 with a four metre swell and occasional breaking waves. The Salcombe lifeboat had also been launched.
At 2017, Brixham Coastguard reported that the Ice Prince was now listing some 45 degrees to port. The Coastguard had tasked the rescue helicopter India Juliet to assist. Concerned that the casualty was in imminent danger of capsizing, Coxswain Criddle increased speed to make good 20kts. Despite being fully trimmed the lifeboat left the water on a number of occasions. At 2113, India Juliet started winching the crew to safety. Arriving on scene, Coxswain Criddle found the Ice Prince rolling heavily and listing to port with the wind on her starboard beam. By 2200 the helicopter had lifted off twelve crewmen and departed for Portland. Unable to establish communications with the helicopter the lifeboat was unsure of the situation and it was only because they were still illuminating the bridge of the Ice Prince that the lifeboat realised there were still crew onboard. At 2210, Coxswain Criddle spoke to the Captain of the Ice Prince on the VHF radio to ask his intentions.

The Captain spoke little English, however, he stated that he was about to order his crew to abandon ship and asked if the lifeboat was prepared to take them off. Coxswain Criddle agreed. The transfers would be done one person at a time off the vessels stern. The wind was gale to severe gale force 8 to 9, and the four to five metre swell with occasional breaking waves was presenting a significant challenge. The noise of the wind and sea made communications amongst the lifeboat’s foredeck crew very difficult but having been briefed as to the task in hand they settled to it immediately. Coxswain Criddle made three or four practice runs at the casualty’s stern to see how the vessels would interact. There were a number of aspects of the approach which were causing him concern; the Ice Prince was beam on to the wind and drifting at over 3kts, her list meant that her port side was under water and the port gunwale was an invisible but obvious danger. She had a large anchor housed on her stern reducing the available area to come alongside.
The eight remaining crew on Ice Prince were all positioned at the rear of the accommodation block on the starboard side. To make the transfer to the lifeboat they would have to cross the steeply sloping deck to the vessel’s port side anchor winch. With the ship rolling heavily, traversing to the anchor winch was dangerous for the casualty’s crew and the position of the stern anchor afforded limited space for the lifeboat to come alongside. The rolling of the vessel was making the starboard quarter act like a guillotine and Coxswain Criddle was concerned that if he overshot, the crew on the lifeboat’s foredeck could be crushed. The casualty was being blown to leeward at 3.5kts adding to the difficulty of making an accurate approach. With no portable radio all communications had to be by hand signals. Coxswain Criddle made his approach to put the port shoulder against the stern of Ice Prince. The manoeuvre went to plan and the first crewman was recovered.

Each transfer required a number of approaches because the sideways motion of the casualty, coupled with her rolling and the broken water around her stern, meant that there was no safe way of holding the lifeboat in position. These manoeuvres demanded tremendous skill and concentration from Coxswain Criddle in order to get close enough to the stricken vessel for the transfers without hitting her. The Salcombe lifeboat was asked to standby off the casualty’s port quarter in case one of the crew found themselves in the water. Whilst coming alongside to pick up the fourth crewman, the lifeboat rolled unpredictably, the two vessels collided heavily and one of the casualty’s crewmen lost his hold and slid down the deck. Luckily, due to the surging motion of the water he was able to haul himself back up the deck to the anchor winch. On the next approach he stepped aboard. The lifeboat’s foredeck crew had been thrown to the deck when the two boats collided and the fendering on the port bow ripped off. Coxswain Criddle again set the lifeboat up and made another approach but on this occasion the four remaining crew could not be persuaded to make the transfer.

Repeated alongsides were made and eventually the casualties, after much coaxing, were persuaded to come down to the anchor winch. The lifeboat was placed alongside several more times before the next man could be coaxed across. On each occasion the foredeck crew had to step forward to help the casualty and in so doing, faced the danger of being struck by Ice Prince’s starboard quarter. After one and three quarter hours in atrocious conditions and with over fifty alongside manoeuvres all eight remaining crewmen were taken off, and with no significant hull damage the lifeboat returned to Brixham.

Torquay

Location of mine: Beacon Quay

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Marcus Hare

Dawlish

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Lieutenant SG Pullen

1854/5 Mr E Pike

For saving the Master and 4 of the crew of the schooner ‘Friends’ wrecked on Dawlish Beach.
The shipwrecks of 1885. The wreck of the emigrant ship ‘John’.
Loss of 150 lives. The greatest possible consternation was created on Friday and Saturday 5th May, throughout the counties of Devonshire and Cornwall, on the receipt of the melancholy intelligence of the total loss of the emigrant ship ‘John’, Rawle, and the drowning of a large number of her passengers, who were principally from the north of Devon, the great source of American emigration in the west of England; numbers from other parts of that county; and the remainder from the counties of Cornwall, Dorset, and Somerset – in fact, she was considered what is termed a west country ship. Numbers of the friends of the unfortunate passengers accompanied them to this place to bid a farewell, and, as the melancholy sequel proved, a last adieu to many of those whom they loved and respected.

The departure of the ship was witnessed and cheered by numerous persons assembled on the Hoe. She left the Sound at 4pm, on the top of the ebb tide, with a favourable wind off the land; and all bid fair for a rapid and prosperous voyage down Channel. How these hopes were blighted it appears impossible to say, so varied are the accounts furnished by those who have been spared to tell of the catastrophe; all seem, however, to unite in a complaint of mismanagement against the captain, and so embittered were the survivors towards him that it is stated the coastguard were obliged to afford him protection from their fury.

The scene when the vessel struck, as may be anticipated, was most distressing; the utmost confusion prevailed, and most of those on board gave themselves up in despair. The account rendered by one of the passengers is most heart-rending. One of the passengers, William Walton, a man of apparently sickly and delicate constitution, succeeded, as the vessel settled in the water, in taking his wife and 6 children into the rigging one by one – the youngest unfortunately fell from the mother’s arms into the sea; the father, though unable to swim, plunged after it, but failed in his noble effort to save his child, and with difficulty regained the ship. Another, William Clemence, who had a wife and 10 children on board, attempted to raise the 6 youngest of them into the rigging by the aid of a sheet, with which he had tied them together. Unfortunately he failed in his efforts, and the whole 6 were drowned. Samuel Roger, a boy, aged 15, one of the other passengers saved, has lost his father, mother, 2 brothers, a sister, and a cousin. Henry North, saved, lost his wife and 3 children.

One of the passengers, Mr EC Hele, of Dawlish, being provided with a lifebelt, swam ashore in the night, and he declares, that had the boats been lowered when she struck, all might have been saved. Another of the cabin passengers, Mr Knuckey, lately returned from Australia, lost £500 of his savings, but succeeded in taking ashore 700 sovereigns in a belt. Another passenger among the survivors, who left the dockyard to emigrate, as if foreseeing the chance of calamity, asked for a week’s leave only, instead of his discharge from the service; this would have expired in a day or two; he now returns in time to retake his employment. 108 of the bodies were buried in St Keverne churchyard, relations being buried together.

An extraordinary and melancholy circumstance in connection with this sad disaster is related. A respectable man of Southmolten, in the north of Devon, named Pincombe, with his wife and 6 children would have gone out in another ship, but while corresponding with the owner for the purpose of getting the passage money reduced by £1, the berths were all taken, and he was obliged to wait for the ‘John’, in which, as we have said, he perished, together with his family.

The following is the report of the magistrates on her loss as delivered at Falmouth on the evidence before them, concluded on the 15th May, and in which they were assisted by Captain Robertson, RN, from the Board of Trade:-

With reference to the melancholy circumstances attendant with the loss of the barque ‘John’, we have to report that the said vessel was about 463 tons; sailed from Plymouth for Quebec, under the command of Edward Rawle, on Thursday, 3rd May inst. at between 2 and 3pm, having on board five cabin passengers, 198.5 statute adult passengers – equal to 263 souls; that the crew constituted 19 persons; and immediately previous to sailing, the Government Emigration officer at Plymouth made his inspection, and signed a certificate of clearance. The ship left Plymouth with a light wind from the north, and from a mile and a half off the Rame Head she was steered a westerly course, with the wind NNW, and so continued until the Falmouth Light was sighted, between half-past 8 and 9 o’clock in the evening, soon after which the course, by the captain’s order, was altered to W. half S. In 10 minutes after the captain again altered the course to W. by S, and in about 20 minutes after he again changed to WSW, that they continued on this course for about an hour, when by the captain’s direction, the vessel was steered SW, and a few minutes afterwards struck on the Manacle Rocks; the wind then was, and had been from 8pm NNE, the ship almost immediately afterwards surged off, whereupon the captain, finding the rudder gone, gave orders to run the vessel on shore, with a view to save the lives of the passengers. She gradually filled, and ultimately, at about 1030, settled down, about a quarter of a mile from the north shore. The tide was low. The deck remained free from water for about two hours afterwards, during which period ineffectual attempts were made to get out the boats – one a gig. These were launched. She subsequently broke adrift, with five of the crew and a passenger. She ultimately reached Coverack. That as the tide rose the passengers and crew were forced from the deck to the poop and rigging. Through the night a large number of passengers were washed off the wreck. At about daylight the survivors were at last rescued by a boat from shore, manned by coastguard men and boatmen. That the captain and crew were saved, but only between 70 – 80 passengers. We now proceed to offer the following opinion upon the evidence.
1st – That the ship was provided with four boats, three of which were efficient, the other doubtful; that the lifeboat was neither stowed in the proper place nor prepared for immediate service, as directed by the act – and to these circumstances, probably, the staving and loss of the lifeboat and the delay in endeavouring to get out the longboat are to be attributed.
2nd – That with the exception of one signal lantern, there were no means on board the ship of making a signal of distress by night. We think that had there been adequate means of making such signals, and had they been shown when the ship first got on shore, whilst the weather was moderate, the boats would have come off at an earlier period, and thus have rescued a much larger portion of passengers.
3rd – That either from ignorance or gross and culpable negligence of the captain, the course steered by his orders were the direct cause of bringing the barque on the Manacle rocks.

4th – That with respect to the above deviation from the provisions of the Passengers Act, we consider that the Government Emigration Officer and owners of the ship were culpable.

5th – That after the vessel struck, the conduct of the captain was most reprehensible in every respect. He appears to have taken no active means to save the lives of the passengers; nor did he assist them to leave the ship, and quitted her himself whilst many passengers were still in the rigging; and that he and the mate were the only two person who saved anything for themselves – the captain saving his cloak, and the mate his quadrant.

6th – That the chief-mate appears to be ignorant of his duty and responsibilities, and is culpable in not having personally rendered assistance to the passengers.

7th – That the conduct of the crew, with the exception of Andrew Elder and one or two others, appears to have been very bad, but would possibly have been different had a better example been set them by the officers.

8th – James Hill, and others associated with them, in going to and taking the passengers and crew off the wreck, was highly commendable.
“The circumstances of this case render it our duty to suggest to your lordships, that in all passenger ships the first mate should be required to have a certificate of competency, instead of service only, and that the number and nature of night signals required to be provided by the owners of passenger ships should be specified.” The Shipping Gazatte considers from the report “there is enough to show that, if the Captain were ‘not intoxicated’, he formed almost the only exception to the entire crew, who thus had charge of nearly 300 lives; and the circumstance of his taking a ship, crowded with passengers, to sea in such a disgraceful state, is only less culpable than that of being intoxicated himself. It is time some stringent means should be taken to put a stop to the state of drunkenness in which we find many crews continue to be shipped, and in which state they too frequently proceed to sea. We have no hesitation in attributing the loss of the ‘John’ to the effects of this deplorable vice; and the expression of the Jury on the conduct of the crew is sufficiently conclusive. They considered that there was not one extenuating circumstance, before or after the ship was struck, in the conduct of the Captain and the crew. A verdict of ‘Manslaughter’ was consequently, recorded against the captain, who was immediately committed to Bodmin gaol.” “We do not agree with the Jury in their recommendation that a light should be placed on the Manacles. As we have already shown, there are good lights on each side of these Rocks, and the multiplication of lights, on that point, would rather tend to mislead and confuse the mariner than to assist him.” The position of this case is, that it now goes to the Board of Trade, who will direct the Sheriff to assess the amount of damages – whereon the whole of the leading evidence will have to be gone over again more minutely.

Teignmouth

Location of mine: Two mines at Dawlish Warren beachside amusements

Beer and Seaton

Lyme Regis

Location of mine: On harbour

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: LT Stocker RN

Bridport

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Lt R Cotgrave RN

Alderney

Date of first agency: 1911

First Honorary Agent: Mr William Rabilliard of HM Greffier

Weymouth

Location of mine: Seafront

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Lieutenant Stevens RN

Jersey

Location of mine: Three large mines at Gorey Harbour, St Helier - North Quay, West Park

Date of first agency: 1839

First Honorary Agent: Mr Peter Waine

Gold Medal 1857

A letter was read from the Jersey Hon. Agent, Captain Bisson, calling the attention of the Committee to the gallant and humane conduct of Mr John Blampied, the Master of the Wave Queen, and one of the crew, John Romeril, in rescuing, at the great peril of their own lives, the Master and crew (21 in number) of the Briton screw steamer, which foundered at sea in a great storm on the 11th January. It appeared that the rescue was effected in a small boat, which was so much damaged that on the last trip she was cut adrift as useless. It was, therefore, proposed by Rear-Admiral Bertie C Cator, seconded by William Stuart, Esq., and carried unanimously, that the Committee, highly appreciating the noble conduct of the brave seamen before mentioned, and especially that of the Master, Mr John Blampied, who was the first to volunteer on the occasion, do award the Gold Medal to him, and the Silver Medal to John Romerill.

1995/6 LADY SWAYTHLING

Captain Peter Falla of Seacat Isle of Man for the rescue of passengers from the holed mv Saint Malo. On the morning of 17 April 1995, the Saint Malo, a 41 metre French catamaran passenger ferry with 300 passengers and 7 crew left St Helier bound for Sark and Guernsey. About 20 minutes later she struck the Le Frouquie rock at a speed of 32 kts and continued a short distance into open water before coming to rest with all power lost and a severe list to port. The Master sent a mayday distress message. The Isle of Man, a 74 metre catamaran car ferry on passage from Guernsey to Jersey with 203 passengers embarked, was on scene within minutes. The Master, Captain Falla, positioned his vessel very close to the stricken Saint Malo so that the liferafts could form a bridge between them. Many passengers were successfully rescued by this method. However, in a force 5 wind and with waves 4ft high it proved impossible to hold this position without risk of crushing the liferafts between the two hulls. With the arrival of the lifeboat and other vessels the Isle of Man was then held slightly further away from the Saint Malo, and her rescue boat was launched to assist with rescuing survivors and towing loaded liferafts to safety. Until the lifeboat arrived Captain Falla also had to act as On Scene Co-ordinator. Alone on the bridge with his Chief Engineer, he was hard pressed to cope with manoeuvring his ship in close proximity to other vessels and handling the co-ordination between ships, helicopters and the Rescue Centre ashore. Throughout this complex rescue operation Captain Falla displayed outstanding skill, judgement and leadership. His action in holding his large catamaran in position less than 100 metres from the damaged Saint Malo for over one hour was a conspicuous feat of seamanship fully deserving the award of the Lady Swaythling Trophy.

Guernsey

Swanage

Isle of Wight

Location of mine: Two mines on Sandown and Shanklin seafronts

Date of first agency: 1861

First Honorary Agent: Lt S Jones RN

EMILE ROBIN 1981/2

Captain Henry Edmunds and Chief Officer, Mr Michael Wilson of the mv Union Mars for the rescue of 4 people in the Solent. At 1713 on 3 October 1981, reports of red flares were received at Solent Marine Rescue Service Centre from the 900 ton single-screw coaster Union Mars. The position given was approximately 17 miles south-east of St Catherine’s Point, Isle of Wight. A south-westerly gale force 9 wind was generating stormy seas and waves up to 15ft high. The Bembridge lifeboat was launched and a rescue helicopter from Lee-on-Solent was dispatched, but the Pilot of the helicopter was not optimistic about being able to render assistance, owing to the weather conditions and approaching darkness. The Union Mars arrived within two cables of the casualty at 1744 and reported that it was a catamaran from which all sails had been blown away and on which there was no sign of life. However, at 1800 the helicopter signalled that, whilst there were 4 people (in fact, teenagers) on board, he would be unable to winch them off, due to the bad conditions. Union Mars then indicated that it would stand by until the lifeboat arrived, but on being told that this could not be until 1930, the Master, Captain Edmunds, realising that delay meant the transfer of the survivors being made in darkness, elected to try to get them off immediately. It had not been possible to communicate with the catamaran, so it was not know how serious the situation was, other than there was the possibility of the catamaran breaking up in the prevailing conditions. For some two hours, Captain Edmunds skilfully manoeuvred his vessel until all 4 young people had been successfully rescued. In such high seas and with the casualty unable to assist in any way, there is no doubt that this was a remarkable feat of seamanship, especially given the limited power and manoeuvrability of his vessel. Throughout the operation, he helped the Coastguard by keeping them fully informed of what was happening. Without doubt the 4 young people rescued owe their safety and probably their lives, to the professional judgement and quality of seamanship displayed by Captain Edmunds and his Chief Officer, Mr Michael Wilson.

EDWARD AND MAISIE LEWIS 1981/2

Lieutenant-Commander David Rutherford Larmour and the crews of two Sea King helicopters of 737 Squadron, RFA Engadine for the rescue of the crew of mv Melpol. In the early hours of 8 December 1981, a call for assistance from the Melpol was relayed to RFA Engadine. The Melpol, a cargo ship of 5,000 tons, was on fire in adverse weather conditions 35 miles off St Catherine’s Point. Consequently, two Sea King helicopters of 737 Squadron detachment were launched to carry out a search and rescue operation. The first helicopter airborne, Sea King 274, had on board Lieutenant Reid as Captain and Observer, Lieutenant Connell as First Pilot and Sub-Lieutenant Churchley (814 Squadron) as Second Pilot. When the Melpol was located 50 minutes after take-off, she was found to be heavily ablaze amidship. The fire had engulfed her entire superstructure and was giving off thick acrid smoke. She was also lying cross wind and wallowing in heavy seas.

Two groups of survivors were seen on deck, one on the forecastle and another larger group at the aft end of the ship. After consultations with the crew of the second helicopter, which had arrived at the scene some 10 minutes later, the decision was taken to commence winching the survivors from the ship, in spite of the problems and risks that this entailed in the difficult condition then prevailing. Sea King 274 was therefore manoeuvred into a position to commence winching operations from the stern area. During the first series of lifts, 6 survivors, the maximum that could be carried, were rescued and transferred to the container ferry mv Europic which, by this stage, was closer to the scene than RFA Engadine. The helicopter then returned to the Melpol to recommence winching operations and eventually a total of 17 seamen were rescued by the crew of Sea King 274 and taken to the Europic.

When this part of the operation was concluded, the helicopter remained in the vicinity to carry out an unsuccessful search for a member of the ship’s crew who was missing. It was later considered that this man had perished in the engine room. Throughout the whole of the mission, which lasted over 3.5 hours and tested the endurance of both the crew and the helicopter to the limit, Lt Reid, as Aircraft Captain, displayed a calm, brave and confident approach to an extremely difficult and potentially hazardous situation. The winching operations at the stern end of the Melpol entailed a high element of risk, since during the critical phase when the helicopter was hovering directly above the ship only the Second Pilot was in a position to judge that there was sufficient clearance between rotor blades and the badly pitching aft mast. Nonetheless, Lt Connell, the First Pilot, although not able to assess the situation directly himself during this phase, gave continuous advice and encouragement to his less experienced Co-Pilot, which was of great benefit to the overall success of the operation.

Sub-Lieutenant Churchley had the difficult task of maintaining a steady and precise hover in wet, gusty and inhospitable conditions, whilst ensuring that there was a sufficient margin of clearance for the rotor blades. Despite his relative inexperience, he handled this demanding piece of flying with great skill, enabling the safe rescue of these 17 men. After Sea King 274 had completed the first series of lifts from the stern of the Melpol, Sea King 271 commenced winching operations from the forecastle area. The crew of the helicopter employed the ‘double lift’ method to pick up survivors throughout the mission as, at this stage, it was uncertain whether some of the seamen had sustained injuries. This meant lowering the helicopter’s Winchman to the deck to render assistance and lifting him back simultaneously with each survivor, an evolution made especially difficult by the conditions then prevailing and also by the fact that the Winchman was temporarily incapacitated by a static electric discharge when he first alighted on the deck.

Despite these problems, the 2 survivors were successfully lifted from the forecastle and, together with 3 others winched from the aft end and a doctor from RFA Engadine, who was on board the helicopter, were taken to the Europic. Sea King 271 then returned to the Melpol and in company with Sea King 274 completed the rescue of the survivors from the stern area. In all, 11 seamen were rescued by the crew of Sea King 271 and following this, the helicopter participated in the abortive search for the missing person. Lt Cdr Larmour maintained sound judgement, courage and confidence throughout the operation, despite the hazardous conditions and not knowing, at one stage, whether his Winchman had been seriously injured. Lt Healey displayed flying skill of the highest order during the rescue of the survivors from the forecastle. He had to manoeuvre the helicopter to provide a stable platform for executing a difficult double lift in adverse condition made especially hazardous by the violent pitching motion of the ship and the close proximity of a rigged jack staff directly beneath the helicopter.

Lt Jennings, as the only crew member in a position to judge the safety margins between the rotor blades and the aft mast when the helicopter was hovering directly over the stern area, had to take direct control during this vital phase. He tackled this task skilfully and efficiently, enabling the mission to be brought to a successful conclusion. Petty Officer Aircrewman Matthews was the Winchman and crewman of Sea King 274 during the rescue of the crew of Melpol. Winching survivors from the aft end of the vessel was made extremely difficult because of poor visibility and also by the fact that the sudden violent motions of the ship necessitated several changes in the position from where survivors could be picked up. In addition, Petty Officer Matthews, operating the winch, had to face high winds, smoke and rain. After 12 survivors had been picked up, he was so exhausted that he had to be relieved, but it is to his great credit that his part in the operation was carried out safely and speedily. Leading Aircrewman Newman was the Winchman and crewman of Sea King 271 during the same operation. When the decision was taken to winch survivors aboard by the double lift method,

Leading Aircrewman Newman was lowered to the ship which was pitching and slewing violently. When he came in contact with the deck, he experienced a static electric discharge which was so violent that it knocked him from his feet. In spite of his obvious discomfort, he willingly continued in his task and was lowered to the deck on several occasions, rendering assistance to the survivors, one of whom was injured. The conduct of Leading Aircrewman Newman and the disregard he displayed for his own safety were in accord with the highest traditions of the Royal Navy.

Lymington

Southampton

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Lt Green RN

EMILE ROBIN 1937/8

Captain P Lewis and Chief Officer D Denny of the ss St Briac of Southampton for the rescue of the crew of 4 of the motor yacht Tess. The St Briac, whilst on a passage between Southampton and Le Havre, observed signals of distress about 5 miles from the ship, and the Captain altered course and reached the yacht about 1.46 am, about 18 miles south of the Nab Light.

A line was passed on board from the St Briac, but, owing to the high sea running, it was impossible to keep the ship in position for the crew to be rescued by this means. The Captain then ordered one of the ship’s boats to be lowered in charge of the Chief Officer and a crew of 6, and, after great difficulty, succeeded in transferring those on board the yacht to the St Briac. It was not possible to salve the damaged yacht, and a wireless warning was sent out as to her position.

Portmouth

Gosport

Location of mine: Gosport ferry terminal

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr E Paddon

1981/2 LADY SWAYTHLING

Lieutenant-Commander Michael Hewitt plus three teenagers in the rescue of a lone sailor in the English Channel. On 7 April 1982, Black Jack, a 38ft sloop, was on its way home from Cherbourg, with Lt Cdr Hewitt, his two teenage-daughters and their friend on board. It was blowing force 6, with gusts up to 8 and 10-15ft waves. As the wind was from the SSE, Cdr Hewitt decided to take it gently and run for the Solent under just a working jib. Even with this small amount of sail up, they were logging a steady 6 kts. Like all sailors in the Channel, they were keeping a wary eye on the shipping and towards 1500 saw a freighter heading up-Channel. Once she had passed ahead of them, they relaxed – but she then reversed course and started circling about 1.5 miles away on their port bow.

Cdr Hewitt’s initial thought was that they might be able to help, so they hardened in the sheets and made their way across to the scene. As they drew nearer, they saw there was a dismasted yacht lying low in the water – the Pantini – with one man aboard. Once Black Jack was close to the yacht, the freighter moved away, so Cdr Hewitt circled round Pantini under power, with the jib still set. The yachtsman held up a tow line, but Cdr Hewitt felt that, with a crew of 3 young girls aged 14, 15 and 16, his first responsibility was to safeguard them and that the most he could do was to offer to take him off. His task was made much easier by the arrival of the Sealink ferry, Earl Granville. He called across to her and she agreed to lie up to windward and provide a lee. Black Jack came alongside Pantini, where the yachtsman was crawling around the deck on all fours, virtually helpless with exhaustion, having been side-swiped by a freighter 3 days earlier and having been bailing with a washing-up bowl ever since. The two elder girls somehow managed to get him from one boat to the other over Black Jack’s pulpit. Black Jack sustained only a small amount of damage; Pantini had broken spars over both bows and one of these gouged out a 10 inch sliver of timber some ⅜ – inch deep.

Luckily, Black Jack’s hull was wood – had she been fibreglass it might well have been a very different story. Having picked up the yachtsman some 40 miles south of the Needles, Cdr Hewitt and his crew made their way east-about round the Isle of Wight and back to Gosport. This outstanding rescue was all the more remarkable in that, although Cdr Hewitt’s daughters’ friend had had a fair amount of dinghy experience, the other 2 girls had about 2 weeks’ sailing experience in Black Jack – and nothing else. All three rose to the occasion admirably and worked hard in extremely unpleasant weather conditions.

Bedhampton

Hayling Island

Selsey

Chichester

Location of mine: Itchenor harbour

Date of first agency: 1839

First Honorary Agent: Lt G Davies RN

Littlehampton

Worthing

Brighton

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Thomas Gillaume

Rye

Location of mine: Harbour

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Edward Chatterton

New Romney

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Lt T Cobb RN

Romney Marsh

Dover

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr John Walter

Broadstairs

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Lieutenant Pilch RN

Herne Bay

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Henry Browne

Whitstable

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Philpot Wood and Lieutenant T W Nickoll RN

Tilbury

Southend-on-Sea

Maldon

Location of mine: Maldon Hythe quay

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Henry May

1907

From the Society’s Quarterly Statement October 1907 – At 9.30 am on 1st December, the barge ‘Falcon,’ of Maldon, with crew consisting of 2 men and a lad, accompanied by a dog, was sighted in difficulties near the Buxey Sands, a gale from the North blowing at the time and the tide being about to turn to the East. The Clacton on Sea lifeboat was accordingly launched, and brought off the occupants of the barge in safety, leaving some lifeboatmen to take charge of the vessel, which was eventually towed into Brightlingsea at 9.30 the next morning. The Society’s Hon. Agent at Clacton, Mr JH Harman, took all necessary measures for the comfort of the rescued men (an anonymous donor very kindly presenting 2 of them with topcoats and oilskins) and sent them home to Maldon in the morning. We feel sure that no supporter of the Society will raise an objection to the following little item appearing in the account paid for board, lodging, etc – milk for the dog, 2d!

London

EMILE ROBIN 1886/7

Two awards given:

1. Captain H Murrell and Chief Officer TF Gates of the ss Missouri of London for the rescue of the crew and passengers of the Danish emigrant ss Danmark of Copenhagen. The Danmark, a Danish emigrant vessel belonging to the Thingvalla Line, left Copenhagen for New York with 665 passengers and Captain and crew of 69 on board. On 4th April, when about 800 miles from Newfoundland, she broke her shaft, which thereupon whirled aimlessly round and round, and tore a terrible hole in the ship’s bottom, causing such serious leakage that the Captain perceived there was no chance of keeping her afloat. It was blowing hard and a heavy sea running at the time, so that it was extremely doubtful, even if the boats had been lowered, whether they could live in such a sea, and in any case they could not have carried all the persons on board. It was decided, therefore, to wait for the chance of succour, though the vessel was evidently settling down. The poor creatures on board spent 24 hours of agonising suspense. They prayed, they sang hymns, they whispered together in groups, they scanned the horizon for the sight of a sail which might rescue them from the death which seemed almost inevitable. Their prayers were answered; on the afternoon of 5th April the British steamer Missouri, Captain Hamilton Murrell, of the Atlantic Transport Line, bound from London to Philadelphia, seeing a vessel flying distress signals, bore down upon her. Captain Murrell agreed to tow the Danmark, but said he could take no passengers. A tow-rope was attached, but for some hours they made very slow progress against head wind and sea. Captain Murrell then determined to give up the hope of reaching the American coast, and (the Captain of the Danmark consenting) squared away for the Azores. Before long, however, it was found that the Danmark was rapidly sinking, and accordingly it was resolved to abandon her, on 6th April. Captain Murrell lowered his own boats, and, with the seven boats of the Danmark, brought the whole of the 735 persons from the disabled vessel on board of his own ship, without a single accident, although there was a heavy swell at the time. He threw overboard some bundles of rags and bales of wool in order to afford accommodation for the multitude who had unexpectedly invaded his vessel, and brought them all safely to the Azores. Thence the Missouri started back on her interrupted voyage to Philadelphia, taking about half the Danmark’s passengers with her. Captain Murrell has been most warmly received both in America and England on account of his gallant and sailor-like exploit. It is characteristic of the man that in his letter to his owners he does not seem to perceive that he had done anything particularly deserving notice, but tells the story of the rescue in a bluff, straightforward way, and only waxes enthusiastic when praising ‘the capital manner which all my officers and crew worked; I really never saw a more willing and hard-working lot in my life’. At Philadelphia Captain Murrell and his crew were accorded an extraordinary reception. The Captain stayed three days in the City of Homes, and, besides being awarded a gold medal from the Humane Society there, was entertained at a banquet given by the Sons of Saint George, and presented with a magnificent gold watch, having a diamond star mounted on the front of the case. In Baltimore five more days were spent, and among other presentations made was a gold medal from the Masonic Grand Lodge of Maryland. On 24th May, after arrival of the vessel at the Tilbury Docks, the Egyptian Hall of the Mansion House, London, was crowded on the occasion of the presentation, by the Lord Mayor, of public testimonials from England and America to Captain Murrell, the officers and crew of the Missouri, for their heroic conduct in effecting the rescue. The Captain and his Chief Officer, Mr Thomas F Gates, have likewise been noted by the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society for the special ‘Emile Robin Life Saving Rewards,’ at the Society’s disposal for annual award to the Captain and Chief Officer of a British vessel saving from imminent peril those on board another vessel at sea.

2. Captain T Foot and Chief Officer A Thorn of the ss Holland of London for the rescue of the crew of the German barque Emilie of Geestemunde. The rescue of the crew of the German barque Emilie was gallantly effected by the National Line steamship Holland, under circumstances of no little risk, on 7th April. The interesting particulars of the rescue have been given as follows:- The ss Holland, of London, commanded by Captain Thomas Foot, the Chief Officer being Mr Arthur Thorn, left New York on 27th March, with a full cargo and 360 head of cattle. All went well till Friday, 5th April, when the ship encountered the first of a gale that gradually increased through the 6th till midnight, from which time till 3 am, of the 7th the wind blew a hurricane, the sea running very high, breaking over the ship, doing more or less damage to cattle stalls, and flooding her fore and aft with water, making it dangerous to be on deck, through constant risk of being washed away. All hatches and gratings were covered, still a good deal of water made its way down the ventilators etc which had to be open. At 3 am of 7th April, a terrific squall broke over the ship, accompanied with a deluge of rain that crushed the sea down, and blew the spoon drift over the ship quite as high as the fore yard, the ship being kept dead before the wind. This lasted for about 20 minutes; and there was the gale again, and the sea. At 5 am, the wind less, and less force in the sea; hauled the ship up to east; wind NW; weather moderating. At 9 am, made out an object about five miles north of the ship, that looked like a wreck, flying a signal of distress. Called all hands, took in all sail, ‘half speed’ engines, and hauled up for the wreck – there being too much sea to go full speed. At 9.30 stopped about a quarter of a mile to leeward of the wreck, which proved to be the barque Emilie, of Geestemunde, from Pensacola, loaded with yellow pine, water-logged, and dismasted, except the lower main mast, on the rigging of which were several men. The main top being gone, they had to stand on the ratlines, and had been there, it transpired, for 16 hours, with no shelter, and nothing to eat or drink, owing to the seas breaking over the hull as she lay in the trough of the sea. We could see their gesticulations and their sorry plight, but no assistance could be rendered, as the wreckage and spars were thrashing about to windward. No boat could live in the wind and sea that then prevailed, it being half a gale, with frequent whole gale squalls, and a mountainous sea breaking. It was decided to stand by them till the weather moderated; but, in steaming our ship into position, the poor fellow thought we were going to abandon them. On the impulse of this dismay every sou’wester came off, and was held at arm’s length – not to wave, but in mute appeal. We waved in response, but they thought that was meant as a farewell, and they knew they could not hold out another night. It must have been a moment of awful agony; but soon the Holland was rolling and pitching under their lee. Every now and then they would wave a blanket they had used as a signal, and thus the hours passed till 2 pm. After 5 hours’ waiting the wind began to freshen and the sea to break more. Though the barometers were rising, it was only too likely to freshen more, and that meant losing the men on the rigging, and the night for the steamer. So it was decided to make the attempt while it was daylight, and the steamer was put to windward of the wreck, and a boat, No 5, swung out in the davits. The Captain had no need to call for volunteers. He only said, “I want a crew for that boat,” and immediately it became a scramble to get into her, two men having to be ordered out. She was manned with a crew of six: the second officer, Mr Henry Griffiths, and seamen Frederick Lemay, James Kelsie, Benjamin Lambert, Frederick Manthrop, and Arthur Holmes. Each man took his seat, and the word came to lower away. We steamed to leeward, and could see the boat stem-on to the wreck, and the shipwrecked jumping into the sea, and being hauled into the boat. At length the last man was seen to jump, and the wreck was abandoned in Lat. 47 58’ N., Long. 19 22’ W. Again the boat touches our side, and willing hands grasp the survivors every time the boat rises, till eleven are safe on deck, three having been washed overboard during the night, and perished. At 4 pm proceeded, and arrived at Gravesend, 9 am, April 12.

EMILE ROBIN 1909/10

Captain JR Crooks and Chief Officer A Finch of the ss Ilderton of London for the rescue of the crew of the Danish schooner Lilly of Thurö. As the vessel, the crew of which was rescued was a foreign one, it has not been possible to procure the usual depositions, but the following facts about the case in question are derived from the log of the Ilderton and from other sources:- Whilst on a voyage from Norfolk, Virginia, to Rotterdam, at 3.00 pm, on 22nd April 1909, in Lat. 48.48 N., Long. 19.18 W., the Ilderton, sighted a vessel flying signals of distress. This proved to be the Danish schooner Lilly, the crew asking to be taken off as they could not save their ship. There was a fresh SW gale and heavy confused seas at the time, but Captain Crooks, of the Ilderton, after consulting with his officers, decided that an attempt might be made to take the crew off. At 4.00pm, the Ilderton steamed to windward of the schooner and poured oil on the waves, and the starboard lifeboat was launched in charge of G Arthur, Second Officer, and a crew of 5 men (A. Williamson, carpenter, Y Johansen, boatswain, and A Irvine, E Henderson and H Moar, seamen). The boat was guided to leeward of the wreck, and all the crew of 6 persons rescued. The boat then returned to the Ilderton, which had come to leeward of the schooner, and the rescued men were taken on board. Great difficulty was experienced in launching the lifeboat and in taking the crew off the wreck owing to the very heavy sea running at the time. At 6.15 pm the Ilderton again went ahead at full speed, and the shipwrecked men were eventually landed at Rotterdam. The King of Denmark presented a Silver Cup to Mr Arthur in recognition of his gallantry, as well as pecuniary rewards to the rest of the boat’s crew.

EMILE ROBIN 1911/2

Captain CS Jackson and Chief Officer TE Puckey of the ss Lincairn of Manchester. The ss Guillemot of London, 1,093 register tonnage, owned by the General Steam Navigation Co Ltd., with a crew of 23 hands, left London on December 14th 1911, with a general cargo, bound for Genoa. In his examination on oath at Greenock on December 26th 1911, Thomas Charles Davis, the second mate, gave the following particulars:- On Thursday, the 21st of December, at 2.30 am., the weather being clear, and the wind in the WNW blowing a strong gale, the said ship, which was at this time about 120 miles north of Cape Finisterre, shipped a heavy sea, which smashed the cabin door, filled the cabin with about 3’ of water, and lifted the starboard lifeboat out of its position and swept it on to the steering rods which connected the wheel to the steering engine. The lifeboat was split in halves and the steam gear put out of order. Thereafter the vessel had to be worked by the hand steering wheel aft, half of which was broken off by the same sea. The vessel was constantly shipping heavy seas aft, and several times the steersmen were washed away from the wheel. The aft compass was washed away by a heavy sea, and the vessel had then to be steered by signalling the course from the bridge. A spare propeller on deck got adrift, broke away the tops of ventilators, thus allowing water to pour down and doing other damage, and the Captain was thrown down from the bridge on to the spar deck and broke several ribs, whilst the well being full of water, at about 10 am the hand steering gear became entirely useless, and the engineers were unable to repair the steam gear. About 11.30 am the vessel seemed to be settling down somewhat at the stern, and the Master gave orders for the engines to be stopped, for all hands to come on deck, and for the boats to be manned. All the three boats were cleared away, one was launched and swamped, and before the others could be launched the ship went down. Deponent was in the port lifeboat at the time, which was on the skids all ready for launching. As the ship went down, this lifeboat was floated off the ship. This was about 12.05 pm. At 11.45 am a steamer, which proved to be the Lincairn of Manchester, was sighted, and signals of distress were made. These signals were noticed by the Lincairn which came towards us. When the ship went down, the deponent, who with the bos’n was in the port lifeboat, which was bottom up, drifted about for about an hour till they were picked up by the Lincairn’s’ lifeboat. They were rowed to the Lincairn and got on board by means of the ladder, although at great risk in the state of the sea. The lifeboat of the Lincairn was lost, however, being smashed against the steamer’s side. The Lincairn deserves great credit for launching a boat in the extremely heavy seas.

EMILE ROBIN 1912/3

Captain Louis Hansen and Chief Officer TR Lewis of the ss Hockwold of London for the rescue of the four crew and the Captain’s wife of the schooner Richards and Emily of Goole on 27 November 1912. The following official statement was made at Hull before the Deputy Receiver of Wrecks by John William Ford, the Master of the Richards and Emily, on December 13, 1912:- At 7 pm on the 26th November, 1912, the Richards and Emily was thoroughly disabled and making water rapidly, in spite of crew working pumps constantly. The sails had gone, bulwarks were partly washed away, and only boat smashed. Tarpaulins had been carried away from hatches, and seas were continually sweeping the decks. At this time, in response to flares being burnt, Hockwold, came up and stood by. Seas were too heavy for assistance to be rendered at this time. At 1 am, on 27th November, the ship being unmanageable, with 5’ or more of water in the hold, and the crew being exhausted and some of them injured, I again burnt flares to inform the Hockwold that assistance was urgently needed. The Hockwold was thereupon brought to about 300 yards distant and her boat launched. At this time there was a gale of wind with very heavy sea, which was still breaking over us. The Richards and Emily was heading ESE., wind being about W. The Hockwold was heading in the same direction on schooner’s starboard quarter, taking wind from her. Boat was launched to leeward of steamer, and was brought round stern of Richards and Emily to her lee side, being splendidly handled. In my opinion the boat’s crew were incurring a very considerable risk, the Richards and Emily labouring backwards and forwards. A line was thrown to the boat, and, at a favourable moment, my wife and crew of four, including myself, were safely brought on board the Hockwold. There were five of the Hockwold’s crew in the boat, the First Mate being in charge. The Hockwold was kept in a position to protect the boat from wind and seas as much as possible. From launching the boat to crew of Richards and Emily being brought on board the Hockwold about half an hour elapsed.

1913

From the Daily Mail, 29th September 1913 – “A remarkable story of the sea has reached here (New Zealand) in a private letter from London. It is stated that two survivors of a vessel wrecked off Cape Horn found the wrecked Glasgow ship Marlborough in a cove with 20 skeletons near by. The Marlborough left Lyttelton, NZ, in January 1890 for London, and was not heard of again. It was supposed that she sank in a collision with an iceberg. Her captain was W Aird”. The Society checked its books and found the ship was reported as missing in July 1890.

EMILE ROBIN 1926/7

Captain Richard Ernest Goodricke and Chief Officer Herbert Alonzo Strowger of ss Shirvan of London (Baltic Trading Co Ltd) for the rescue of the crew of 37 of the ss Laleham of London on 31 March 1926. The Laleham, with a crew of 37 hands, bound from Chili to this country, was in the North Atlantic Ocean on the 29th March, when she encountered very severe weather with a violent wind, hail squalls and high seas. Conditions grew worse, and during the next two days damage was done on deck and the two lifeboats were smashed. Water poured in below and the vessel took a list which increased to such an extent that it became clear the vessel could not survive. On the 31st March a wireless distress call was sent out. In answer to this call, the Shirvan arrived near the Laleham about 5.45 pm. Shortly after 6 pm, a lifeboat was launched in charge of Mr Strowger and manned by Mr Thomas Fishwick, Boatswain, Isaac Jewell, Richard Harvey Williams, Samuel Bate, Edward John Ready and Benjamin Orchard – Seamen. Owing to the heavy swell it was not possible to go alongside the Laleham, but 20 members of her crew were rescued by being drawn through the water from the ship to the lifeboat by means of a line with lifebuoy attached. They were transferred from the boat to the Shirvan in the same way. The boat then returned to the Laleham and the operaton was successfully repeated, thus rescuing the remaining 17 members of her crew. The rescue was completed by 10.30 pm. The services were hazardous owing to the high seas. Darkness added to the risk, and the second part of the rescue had to be carried out in the light of burning oil barrels on the Laleham.

EMILE ROBIN 1933/4

Captain D Lupton and Chief Officer E Michelmore of the ss Anhui of London for the rescue of the crew and passengers (345) of the ss Antung of London. The Antung, with a crew of 111 and 400 passengers, owing to the mist and mountainous seas, was wrecked off Mofu Point, Hainan Strait, the well-known pirate nest, at 3.30 am on March 6th, 1933. The Anhui in answer to messages received from the Antung, arrived at the place of wreck at 10.30 am, and immediately lowered five lifeboats in charge of the Chief Officer, 2nd Officer, 3rd Officer and 2nd & 3rd Engineers, which made two trips each to and from the wreck, with a pull of over two hours, together with the No 6 lifeboat from the Antung, in charge of the 2nd Officer from that steamer, which also made three trips, 286 passengers and 59 crew being transferred to the Anhui. This was done without loss of life or injury, the duties being carried out in a magnificent and seamanlike manner, in spite of the heavy increasing swell, and great credit is due to the junior engineers who had charge of two of the lifeboats, as they naturally had not the experience of deck officers in this class of work. The boats were in the water from 10.30 until 6 pm, and two of them were smashed by the swell under the counter of the Anhui. The Anhui then proceeded to Hong Kong.

EMILE ROBIN 1937/8

Captain P Symons and Chief Officer WC Blake of the tss Vandyck of Liverpool for the rescue of the crew of the ss Standale of London. The Standale, while on a voyage from Antwerp to Cathagena, encountered heavy weather off the Portuguese coast, which caused her cargo to shift. She soon developed a bad list and became in a dangerous and sinking condition. The Vandyck arrived at 2.15 am on 3 April, and, despite the severe weather conditions, succeeded in launching three boats. Owing to the heavy seas the boats were unable to get nearer to the Standale than about 50 feet, but communication was effected by line, and the 25 officers and men who formed the crew of the Standale were all rescued. It took over 5 hours to effect the rescue.

EMILE ROBIN 1965/6

Captain HM Revill and JM Cooley of the Trinity House Pilot Cutter Pelorus for the rescue of 7 of the crew of the Motor Suction Dredger Bowqueen. At about 2245 on 8th September 1965, the Pelorus received a call for assistance from the Bowqueen in distress in the Barrow Deep, in the approaches to the River Thames. There was a strong gale, force 9 with a high and confused sea. While proceeding at full speed to the rescue a message was received from Bowqueen that all lights had failed and she was in total darkness. Shortly afterwards a rocket was sighted and later, a strong smell of oil indicated that Pelorus had reached the position in which Bowqueen had gone down. Pelorus was rolling heavily, making the launching of her boats extremely difficult. Without hesitation two boats were lowered, each manned by 2 members of the crew, and were directed by signal lamp towards 2 small lights that had been observed. Four men were rescued from the sea and 3 from a raft and by 2330 they were safely on board Pelorus. Although the chance of finding further survivors in such appalling conditions was remote, Pelorus searched the area for a further 2.5 hours. The Master of Bowqueen, his wife and 2 members of the crew were lost. But for the fine seamanship, determination and fortitude of Captain Revill, the gallantry and skill of the men who manned the boats and the good work of the crew, there is little doubt that there would have been no survivors.

Brightlingsea and Wivenhoe

Location of mine: Waterfront

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr George Chamberlain

1926

On Sunday, May 30, an event took place at Brightlingsea, which deserves special comment. A procession marched to the Wesleyan Church, in which members of the Urban District Council, the Foresters (court ‘Lifeboat’), the Lodge of Hope (no 433), the Boys’ Brigade and Girl Guides, and the Fire Brigade took part, headed by the Alresford Brass Band. The collection resulted in £43 being forwarded to the Society’s Central Office. The enterprise was organised by Mr WH Fieldgate (Honorary Agent of the Society) and Mr HD Fisher (Cinque Ports Deputy) who had previously announced their determination to raise locally more than the amount disbursed in relief at the Agency in 1925, which was £116 14s 3d, and, as £78 had resulted from a whist drive held in February, the total sum realised during the year (£121) more than exceeded the sum required.

Burnham-on-Crouch

Location of mine: On quayside opposite office

Date of first agency: 1859

First Honorary Agent: Mr J S Pritchard

Walton-on-the-Naze

Harwich

Location of mine: Quayside

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Samuel Billingsley Jnr

EMILE ROBIN 1982/3

Coxswain KV Lee and Seaman BJ Warner of the Trinity House pilot vessel Valour and Second Officer MA Wright and Seaman TE Wakelin of Trinity House pilot vessel Patrol for the rescue of 48 persons from the Townsend Thoresen vessel European Gateway. At 2245 on Sunday, 19 December 1982, the European Gateway and the Sealink ferry Speedlink Vanguard were involved in a collision in the approaches to Harwich. European Gateway carrying lorries from Harwich to Rotterdam, capsized within a few minutes. The Valour was in the vicinity, to ship Pilot F Martin to the vessel Dana Futura, so speedily carrying out this task, the launch proceeded to where the European Gateway was found, deep in the water, listing 45 degrees and without power or lights. Many passengers were clinging to the side of the ship and attempting to clear away lifeboats and liferafts. Coxswain Lee, in attempting to approach the ship in the normal way, had found that he was being swept athwartships on to various overhanging projections of the casualty. By a remarkable feat of seamanship and launch handling, he turned Valour about and placed her transom alongside an overhanging lifeboat, pushing it in towards the ship, thereby allowing 28 persons to scramble over into his launch. Three people remained clinging to the ship and as it took a further lurch, they were cast into the sea. With skilful boat handling and extreme physical effort on the part of seaman Warner, the 3 were eventually recovered. Next came the hazardous passage from the casualty to Dana Futura, when Valour, greatly overloaded and in adverse sea conditions, transferred all 31 survivors, then going on to search for others by searchlight. When the alarm was raised at Harwich, the Patrol (2nd Officer MA Wright and Seaman TE Wakelin) proceeded immediately from the pilotage berth to render assistance and on arrival, found 2 men on the stern of the European Gateway. As the launch was approaching to endeavour to take them off, the ship gave a heavy lurch, which resulted in them being thrown into the water, together with a considerable amount of cargo and loose gear. The Patrol was manoeuvred with great skill, and one after the other, the 2 men were rescued. The launch was then taken to the midships of European Gateway and a further 15 men were rescued. All these survivors were then transferred to Dana Futura. The pilot launch went to the weather side of the casualty to search a hanging liferaft, but could find no further passengers. With the motor tug Alfred and the Harwich lifeboat, the launch searched for people in the water until 0250 on 20th December, recovering one body. 48 lives, however, had been saved, thanks to the courage and skill of the 4 Trinity House men. Because of the terms of the Emile Robin Trust, Pilot F Martin, who acted as On Scene Commander, was not eligible for nomination for the award, but the Society has decided to give him a special award in recognition of the important part he played in this rescue.

Aldeburgh

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Rev W T Marychurch

Saxmundham

Southwold

Location of mine: North Parade

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Edward Syer

Lowestoft

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr William R Seago

1922

From the Society’s Quarterly Statement January 1922 – The following is a copy of a letter (sic) received by Mrs Greengrass, caretaker of the Sailors’ Home at Lowestoft, where many crews are looked after on behalf of the Society:- “Dear Mrs Greengrass, I am writing, as I promised, to let you know that me and my brother arrived home safe and to find my mother in a ill state owing to rumours flying about that we were drowned in the North Sea, but now we are home mother seems to be picking up again. I can tell you it gave mother a shaking up. I also write thanking you for your kindness and your motherlike ways towards us, both brother and I. I almost feel sure that if it had been my mother, she could not have done more than what you done for us. My mother and father also send their thanks to you for your kindness towards brother and I. I think that you are not half appreciated for your kindness and the way that you look after our shipwrecked sailors when they are brought to the Home, and now that I have joined the Shipwrecked Mariner’s Society I mean to stick to it, and if it had not been for your kindness and the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, I do not know where me and brother would have been.” ER.

EMILE ROBIN 1938/9

Captain Arthur Jarvis Utting and Chief Officer Alfred John Ayers of the sd Plumer of Lowestoft for the rescue of 9 of the crew of the sd Reunited of Lowestoft in the North Sea on 23 November. At about 6 pm on that day the Reunited, with a crew of ten, whilst returning from the fishing grounds in the North Sea during a gale and heavy seas, sprang a leak when about two miles of SSW from Smiths Knoll Lightship, and began to founder. Distress signals were answered by the Plumer, but the seas were too heavy to permit the use of her small boat, and the Skipper of the Plumer risked his own vessel (wooden) by bringing her alongside the Reunited, so that their hulls touched. Six members of the crew of the Reunited then succeeded in jumping on board the Plumer, but unfortunately the cook of the Reunited, who also jumped, was lost. The two ships were brought together a second time and on this occasion they collided, but the three remaining members of the crew of the Reunited had not time to jump before the ships broke apart. Ropes were, however, thrown to them and they were hauled on board the Plumer. It may be added that the Board of Trade awarded a binocular glass to Captain Utting, a silver cigarette case to Chief Officer Ayers and monetary awards to eight other members of the crew of the Plumer, who effected the rescue.

EMILE ROBIN 1946/7

Skipper Charles Mewse and Second Hand George Cooper of the British trawler Grackle for their services in connection with the rescue of the crew of the Norwegian drifter Renascent. On 28 October, the Renascent, when about 90 miles east north-east from Lowestoft, in a rough sea, sprang a leak; the water was kept under control for several hours until the pumps became choked with coal dust and ashes. Some ten hours later the position became precarious and the Grackle, in answer to distress signals, arrived in the vicinity at 11.30 am. Skipper Mewse handled the Grackle with great ability, and a high degree of courage. He brought the Grackle right alongside the Renascent and took off the crew in a very rough sea, with a wind at or approaching gale force. The Renascent was rolling heavily and the Grackle bumped her head doing some damage to the upper works of the Renascent. There was considerable risk to the Grackle. The Norwegian drifter was left in a rapidly sinking condition and her crew were landed at Lowestoft.

EMILE ROBIN 1961/2

Skipper FW Hugman and Mate J Deacon of the MT Granby Queen of Lowestoft for the gallant rescue of 10 survivors of the Netherland trawler Elie Cheneviere which sank in the North Sea. While returning to her home port after fishing in the North Sea, the Elie Cheneviere sustained damage in the engine room. Shortly before 2200 on 18th October 1961, distress signals were made when it was found that her pumps could not cope with the inrush of water. The weather was severe with a force 10 NE gale. Her crew launched and manned the lifeboat, but the heavy seas pounded it against the ship’s side and they were forced to climb back on board. Her flares were sighted by the Granby Queen, which arrived alongside Elie Cheneviere about 0100 after proceeding at full speed in poor visibility. By this time the Netherlands vessel was sinking by the stern with her crew gathered on the forecastle, which was awash. One of them managed to jump on to the Granby Queen’s wheelhouse, but the remainder were unable to do so before Skipper Hugman had to sheer off, as his stern was swinging over the other vessel’s submerged deck; as he got clear, Elie Cheneviere sank. Lifebelts and a raft were thrown overboard to assist the men in the water but it was 75 minutes before a further 9 men were rescued. In spite of artificial respiration one survivor died and the Master collapsed and died an hour after being rescued. The search for other possible survivors was continued until 0600 without success. But for the fine seamanship, determination and fortitude of Skipper Hugman and the good work of his crew, there is little doubt the whole of the crew of the Elie Cheneviere would have been lost.

Great Yarmouth

Sea Palling

Mundesley

Cromer

Blakeney

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr C Temple

Burnham Overy

Brancaster

King’s Lynn

Spalding

Skegness

Chapel St Leonards

Date of first agency: 1926

First Honorary Agent: Mr William J Andrews HMCG

Mablethorpe

Grimsby

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr T Bell and Rev C Wildbore Humberstone

Rotherham

Hull

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr George Moon

Gold Medal 1865

A letter was read from Captain Campbell of Hull, late ship Bombay enclosing a list of persons who distinguished themselves at the burning of that ship in reply to one from the secretary requesting him to give the names of any officers or seamen who saved life at the risk of their own. The Committee having duly considered the list selected from it those persons who being themselves in a place of safety voluntarily periled their lives to save others and it was resolved unanimously that the following awards be made; viz – Sub Lt Henry A Mandeville, the Gold Medal of the Corporation. Thomas Shilson, Alfred Barton, William Brumner and James McMahon the Silver Medal and two pounds each, Robert Giddy, Henry Priest and Samuel Grant, the Silver Medal and one pound each, James Webb, Thomas Lee, Arthur McCardell, Thomas Auckland, William Butler and Patrick Wale the Silver Medal each. The Secretary was instructed to say to Captain Campbell that the Committee would consider any remarks he may have to make and be glad of them if it has omitted to confer the Medal on any gallant man coming within the rules by which Medals are conferred by the Corporation.

EMILE ROBIN 1883/4

Captain JW Jones and Chief Officer W Rea of the steamship Chicago of Hull for the rescue of the brigantine Feodore of St John’s, Newfoundland bound from Barbados to St John’s, in ballast. The Feodore, during the voyage in question, experienced some very heavy weather, and, when in Lat. 41 N and Long. 55.38’ W., met with a very severe gale from ESE, veering right round the compass to ENE, with a cross and confused sea. About 2.30 on the morning of 16th February, 1885, under double-reefed mainsail and mainstaysail, she shipped a heavy sea, which struck her on the starboard quarter, taking away mainsail and gear, filling the cabin, and then, rushing forward, took away the mainstaysail and stove in both boats. At the same time the ballast was shifted, and the ship hove down on her beam ends, when the crew were compelled to cut away the foremast, which in its fall tore up the deck. The cutting away the foremast righted the ship considerably, and the crew went below to trim the ballast to windward, when they found everything movable had been started, with the spars by which the ballast was lashed broken, and the stanchions lifted up. During this time the mainmast fell, breaking down the pumps and tearing away the man-rail, while several of the chain-plate bolts were drawn out, and the vessel left in a completely helpless condition. Captain Davidson made effort to keep the vessel’s head to the sea by means of sea-anchors, but without avail; and she still lay in the trough of the sea, every wave breaking over her, the water pouring freely down below, through the damaged decks, and, unless help arrived, death staring all hands in the face, the water gradually gaining in the hold, with the pumps altogether useless. At this juncture, about 6.30 am, or some 4 hours after the Feodore was hove down, the Wilson Liner, Lincoln City, now know as the Chicago, of Hull, Captain John Wilson Jones, bound from New York to Hull, hove in sight, when signals of distress were immediately displayed on board the disabled vessel, and being seen by the Chicago, she made for the Feodore; whereupon, Captain Davidson requesting her to remain by, the steamer was at once hove to, the state of weather and sea at the time for many hours rendering it unsafe to launch a boat. Hour by hour the Chicago lay by, till, about 2.00 pm, there was a lull in the tempest, when a picked boat’s crew of 7 volunteers – viz., Mr William Rea, Chief Officer, John Andean, Boatswain, George William Robinson, Quartermaster, Henry France, Quartermaster, Edward Smith, AB, George Reek, AB, and Tom Rea Beal, lamp-trimmer – gallantly manned the port lifeboat (the starboard lifeboat having been previously smashed by a heavy sea), and, with lifebelts, and oil for preventing the waves breaking over the boat, at length got alongside the Feodore, and successfully rescued the whole of the crew of 8 hands, with the Captain and his wife, 10 souls in all. The rescued were all eventually landed at Hull, by the Chicago, on 2nd March, after further terrific weather on the passage home, the steamer being hove to for 24 hours on the 22nd & 23rd February. The crew of the Fedore were altogether unable to save any of their effects, not even the ship’s papers being secured; and Captain Davidson, before leaving, as the vessel was in the direct track of ocean steamers, and reduced to a complete wreck, set fire to her. Soon after the rescue, the wind increased to a complete hurricane, and the Captain has reported that, but for the timely arrival of the steamer, and the bravery displayed in rescuing himself and crew at the earliest possible moment, they must all have been lost.

EMILE ROBIN 1897/8
Captain Horatio J Wise and Chief Officer WH Sanders of the ss Ontario of Hull for saving the lives of 27 of the crew of the ship Androsa of Liverpool, on 8th March 1897. The Androsa sailed on October 28, 1896, with a general cargo from San Francisco for Liverpool, shows that on the morning of March 2. 1897, when in Lat. 46.40’ N., Long 23.05’ W., the vessel was struck by a hurricane, and sustained severe damage, the main topmast having subsequently to be cut away, and part of the cargo jettisoned to avoid capsizing. Both the Chief and Second officers were injured. The weather continued very bad, and the pumps were kept going constantly for six days. On March 6, a steamer was sighted, but, apparently, did not observe the Androsa’s signals of distress. On Monday, March 8, about 8 am., a steamer hove in sight bound west. We hoisted the ensign up union down. The steamer came within hailing distance, and we asked to be taken off, as our ship was sinking fast, and the seas were making complete breaches over her, and we had no boats, and nothing was left even to rig a raft. We sounded the pumps before leaving, and found from 12 – 15 ft of water in the hold. The steamer proved to be the Ontario, of Hull. Immediately they sent a lifeboat in charge of the Chief Officer, with six of the crew, and managed with great diffuculty to get alongside of our ship, and took seventeen hands on board the boat, then returned to the steamer, and, after transferring them, came back to the ship for the remaining ten, including myself and Officers. In coming alongside, the boat was smashed, and it was with great difficulty that we were rescued.

EMILE ROBIN 1898/9
Captain R Bartlett and Chief Officer J Doran of the ss Vedamore of Liverpool for the splendid rescue of 45 men of the ss Londonian of Hull on 26 and 27th November 1898. The Londonian sailed with a crew of seventy and a general cargo and cattle from Boston, USA., on November 15, 1898, bound for London, shows that on the night of November 22 a north-westerly gale with very high sea commenced. The following day, when in about Lat. 49 40’ N., Long 17 30’ W., the steering gear became out of order, causing the vessel to broach to and lurch over to starboard nearly on her beam ends, and the injection being out of water the engines could not work. The cattle had to be driven overboard, and on the 24th water got into the stokehole. At about 4.30 am on November 25, the gale still prevailing and the vessel lying helpless in the trough of the sea, a steamer, which proved to be the Vedamore, was sighted, and, signal being made, she bore down, and at daylight the Master requested her to take the Londonian in tow, which she declined, but agreed to stand by until noon. Further cattle were discharged. The Vedamore stood by, and at 10 am the engineer reported that they could do not more below, as fire were all out and water gaining in engine-room and stokehole. The sailors and cattlemen could get no more steam to hoist cattle out, and all hands requested the Master to abandon the ship, as she was apparently slowly filling. The Master now signalled the Vedamore to send boats, as all the Londonian’s boats on starboard side were washed away and those on port side could be got at only with great difficulty; but, in spite of all efforts made by the Vedamore, she could not get a boat alongside the Londonian on November 25. At about noon on November 26 one of the Vedamore’s boats was got alongside, and the second mate with twenty hands succeeded in getting aboard the Vedamore in safety. On November 27, the Vedamore’s lifeboat having got smashed, the hands aboard the Londonian, after cutting away all gear round the engine-room skylight, succeeded in getting port lifeboat across the deck, and launched her, and twenty-four hands jumped into her and got aboard the Vedamore in safety. In a subsequent attempt to escape in the Londonian’s pinnace, seventeen of her crew were drowned. During the night the lights of the Vedamore were lost, and she was seen no more, but the eight survivors (including the Captain) got on board the Maria Rickmer, a German vessel, during the night of November 28/29, as the Londonian was on the point of foundering.

EMILE ROBIN 1907/8
Captain SE Murlin and GW Rawlinson (Mate) of the steam trawler Lord Wolseley of Hull for the rescue of the crew of the French schooner Promise, near the Faroe Islands. The report by Captain Murlin dated April 2 1907 says:- “We left Hull on March 6th last, and proceeded to Iceland on a fishing voyage. All went well, and on March 20th it came on to blow a heavy gale of wind, so we decided to steam to Faroe, and have one day and night’s fishing there, before proceeding home. As we proceeded the wind increased to a hurricane which continued for about 30 hours, when I found that we had been driven about 30 miles to the NE of our course. When we were in Lat. 63N., Long. 14.45 W., we sighted a vessel flying signals of distress. Upon nearing her we found that it was the French fishing schooner Promise of Dunkirk. Leaving my vessel in charge of my mate, George Rawlinson, with instructions to keep as close to us as possible, we launched our boat, and manned by Samuel Murlin, skipper, Robert Appleton, boatswain, and John William Thorpe, spare hand, we boarded the Promise and found her in a very disabled and sinking condition. The bulwarks, hatches, and boats were all washed away, the pumps broken and useless. The crew had taken some of the sails and nailed them over the hatchways to endeavour to keep out the water, but the seas breaking over her had more than half filled her. The Captain made me understand that his crew had been pumping and baling for over 30 hours, and that they were completely done up, and begged me to take them on board of my vessel. We found that the Captain had injured his foot, and one of the crew had sustained injuries from a falling spar. We got five of the men into the boat, and took them on board of my vessel, and on the way my boatswain, injured himself with an oar, and had to be left on board, his place in the boat being taken by Edwin Rimmer. We then went back to the Promise, returning with four men. On this journey one of my men Edwin Rimmer, was washed overboard from the deck of the Promise whilst assisting the men into the boat, but after being in the water some time we were able to pick him up. The next trip his place in the boat was taken by Thomas Gale, second engineer. We made altogether five trips to the schooner, and eventually got all the crew safely on board, and found that it was impossible to tow the schooner, on account of the quantity of water in her and the bad weather. We placed all the crew’s effects, ship’s papers etc in our boat, and then set the schooner on fire for and aft, as it was quite possible for a change of wind to have driven her into the track of trawlers proceeding to and from Iceland, when she would, if afloat, have been a serious danger. About 8 pm we had got all on board, and commenced steaming for Hull, arriving at the St Andrew’s Dock about noon on Tuesday, March 26th, when the two injured men were removed to the infirmary.”

EMILE ROBIN 1913/4
Captain JH Husband and Chief Officer GA Pattison of the ss Kilnsea of Hull for the rescue of the crew of 10 of the schooner John Twohy of Boston, USA in the North Atlantic on 7-8 October. Report from Captain Husband:- “Have picked up the crew, numbering ten men, of American schooner John Twohy, of Boston, under circumstances of great difficulty and grave danger to resting crew. Sighted schooner on October 7th, about 12.45 pm., showing distress signals, 60 miles south of Frying Pan Shoals, bore down for her and asked him what she wanted. Replied, Ship leaking badly – send lifeboat to save crew. Weather being very bad at the time, I could not send boat away, but at 3 pm, the weather having moderated a little, sent port lifeboat with Chief Mate and six men, boat getting very badly damaged leaving the side. Getting alongside the schooner, the mate found the schooner labouring so heavily that he could not get close enough to take the crew off. Also the boat was leaking very badly. Came back to the ship, and in pulling the boat up, sea struck under her bottom, knocking the after tackle, and threw one of the men into the sea, who, fortunately, was got out, boat being smashed to pieces alongside. Signalled the schooner would stand by until the weather moderated, and then try to take them off. At 7 pm the wind came down to hurricane force from the northward. At this time I laid to the leeward of schooner one mile off, afraid she would drive down on me. I steamed away ESE 7 miles. At 10 pm turned ship around and steamed back WNW. At midnight, stopped steamer and drifted until morning daylight, picked up schooner bearing N by W 1 mile. Found the crew standing on after deckhouse – cabin gutted out – compasses and boat washed over during night. Weather still so bad was unable to take them off. Stood by until 3 pm, when I sent the boat away in charge of the Second Mate and six men, who got them off with safety. At 4 pm went full speed for Norfolk.

EMILE ROBIN 1919/20
Captain WH Smith and Chief Officer GA Kirk of the ss Toronto of Hull which on 17 October 1919, in the North Atlantic, saved the crews (5) of the three-masted schooner General Knox and (6) of the three-masted schooner Alice M Moulton, both of St John’s, Newfoundland. The following is a copy of the Official Log:- ss Toronto, Antwerp to New York, October 17, 1919, Lat. 44 20’ N., Long. 39 4’ W. “At break of day a flare was observed on my port bow. I bore down towards it to ascertain what it was. At daylight it turned out to be the three-masted British schooner General Knox, of St John’s, Newfoundland, bound from Marystown, Newfoundland, to Oporto, Portugal; cargo, salt fish. The Master, Thomas Hickman, reported having lost rudder, booms and gaffs broken, decks clean swept and cabin and forecastle half full of water, and in a sinking condition, and wished to be taken off. A lifeboat was lowered and manned by Chief Officer Kirk, Bos’n Ebbesen, Carpenter Antonssen, ABs Anderson and Hugens, and rescued the Master and four men. The Master reports that on the night of October 14, the cook, Philip Fitzpatrick, was washed overboard and drowned. After completing rescue, I observed another three-masted schooner bearing south, distance five miles, flying signals of distress. I bore down towards her. It turned out to be the British Alice M Moulton. The Master, Charles Dick, reported having rudder broken and all head gear carried away, decks swept, and wished to be taken off as the ship was leaking badly and in a sinking condition. The same lifeboat was lowered and manned by Chief Officer Kirk, Bos’n Ebbesen, Carpenter Antonssen and ABs Thomsen and Snepvenger, and rescued the Master and five crew. Both Masters report that they were disabled on the night of the 14th inst., during a heavy NNE gale, with a mountainous sea running. After completing the rescue of both crews, the lifeboat was so badly smashed and leaking badly, I decided to cast it adrift, it being too dangerous to keep men in her any longer. I consider great credit is due to the Chief Officer and volunteer crews in the able and seamanlike manner in which they handled the lifeboat in effecting these rescues. It was blowing a hard northerly gale at the time, with a very high and dangerous breaking sea running.”

1926
April – Another sad loss was that of the steam-trawler Axinite, of Hull, which was posted as missing on February 10, and, in this instance, £93 ws promptly disbursed in help to 6 widows, 7 orphans and 11 parents.

1931
From the Society’s Quarterly Statement October 1931 – The following letter was received at the Central Office in July:- “Dear Sir, In September 1891 (40 years ago), being one of a shipwrecked crew landed in Hull without means of getting to the home town (Liverpool), our crowd was placed under the protecting wings of your Society, and ‘Home, Sweet Home’ was easily reached. I see your appeal in the local paper and, with a desire to wipe off a very old score, ask you to kindly accept with gratitude enclosed contribution of two guineas. Wishing you all that’s good. One you have helped. PJB.

COMMENDATION 2006/7
Sergeant Dave Standbridge for the recovery of casualties from the yacht Molly Louise. On 12th August 2006 ‘Rescue 128’, a RAF Sea King of E Flight 202 Squadron based at RAF Leconfield, was scrambled by the Coastguard to go to the assistance of the yacht Molly Louise on passage from Holland to Hull. Three of the four crew had been lost overboard. Weather conditions were poor with 5 metre high waves, a wind strength of 25 to 40 kts, a cloud base of 300 feet and torrential rain. Arriving on scene ‘Rescue 128’ started a search pattern and immediately sighted two people in the water and one separated and still. The Winchman, Sergeant Dave Standbridge, was lowered to the single individual. Winching conditions were extremely difficult with a 15ft swell and strong gusting winds and the Winchman was frequently battered and submerged by the waves. Sergeant Standbridge faced enormous difficulty in the water but eventually placed two rescue strops round the casualty who was then winched aboard. He required resuscitation. Sergeant Standbridge was again lowered to the other two who were hypothermic and managed to recover them to the aircraft. The helicopter then proceeded to Hull Royal Infirmary. It was then instructed to return to the Molly Louise to pick up the fourth crew member who had by now been transferred to the Humber lifeboat. This was also a testing evolution due to the violent motion of the lifeboat in the swell but it was successfully executed. Sergeant Standbridge showed fortitude, professional skill, determination and exceptional stamina throughout this lengthy operation.

Bridlington

Location of mine: North Pier

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr W Watson

1918

From the Society’s Quarterly Statement July 1918 – The Committee have heard with pleasure that their Honorary Agent at Bridlington, Mr TH Jackson, RN, harbour master, has been highly complimented by the naval authorities for the courage and presence of mind he exhibited not long ago by wading into the sea in an endeavour to prevent a floating mine from being cast ashore by the waves. After a hard struggle, he contrived to secure it to a pile in a groyne on the beach, but a few minutes afterwards a terrific explosion took place, doing a considerable amount of material damage, though, fortunately, no lives were lost. Mr Jackson’s health however was not a little affected by the adventure, although it is understood that he has now practically recovered.

EDWARD AND MAISIE LEWIS AWARD 1983/4

h & Rescue D Flight 22 Squadron RAF Leconfield for the rescue of two survivors from the wreck of the coble, North Wind. On 7th May, the first standby SAR crew of D Flight 22 Squadron RAF Leconfield was Squadron Leader CM Paish (Captain & Pilot), Master Navigator RA Dedman and Master Air Loadmaster D Allen (Winchman). Following a training sortie and a fruitless search for a youth who had been washed out to sea from Scarborough the duty crew returned to RAF Leconfield for fuel; the Flight’s second crew were involved in a search for an overdue coble, the Carol Sandra. At 1520, the first standby crew were called to Flamborough Head to replace the second standby aircraft, which required refuelling after the search for the 4 persons missing from the Carol Sandra. Whilst the Wessex was approximately two nautical miles away from the incident position, a message on the marine radio was heard stating that the coble North Wind was sinking, the Wessex flew directly to the scene. On arrival it was seen that the vessel was swamped, with 2 persons still on board and 5 in the water; 2 were clinging to the side of the boat and 3 free-floating in the heavy surf. Loadmaster Allen was winched down to one of the free-floating survivors; on contact he found him entangled in rope which was twisted around the still turning propellers and slowly dragging him beneath the surface towards the boat. Working beneath the surface he was able to disentangle him but, because of the violent surf in which he was completely covered by diesel-fouled foam, he was unable to place the strop around the survivor. The Winch Operator, who was becoming concerned for the safety of his Winchman, who was only briefly visible in the surf, winched in; Loadmaster Allen gained a physical grip on the casualty and carried him up to the aircraft door. It was impossible to bring the survivor on board as he was hanging well below the aircraft sill and his saturated clothing made him very heavy. The aircraft was moved forward into calmer water where a further attempt was made to secure the strop; this again proved impossible in the 10ft high waves and again the survivor was physically lifted from the water in an attempt to place him on the Filey lifeboat. During the attempt to winch them on to the lifeboat which was lying cross-sea and rolling violently, Loadmaster Allen, still clutching the survivor, collided heavily with the lifeboat; anticipating the collision he had managed to turn the survivor away from the boat in time to take the full force of the impact himself. Now seriously injured, he continued to hold the survivor until a lifeboatman who was attached to a lifeline jumped into the sea and took charge of the casualty, eventually recovering him to the lifeboat alive. Allen, in great pain, was winched aboard the Wessex. Shortly afterwards a further survivor was seen clinging to a rock. Allen, despite being in great pain, immediately indicated to the Winch Operator that the rescue attempt should continue. This second survivor was successfully recovered using the single lift technique and along with Allen was transferred to a waiting ambulance and taken to Bridlington hospital. On arrival at the hospital Allen was found to have suffered one broken rib, two cracked ribs, six chipped vertebrae and a badly bruised back. Allen is a relatively inexperienced Winchman, who by his prompt and courageous action in appalling conditions and with complete disregard of personal safety, undoubtedly saved the life of one of the survivors in this disaster. His action and those of the other members of the crew were in the best traditions of the service and worthy of the highest praise.

Filey

Location of mine: Filey promenade

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Mr R White

1916

From the Society’s Quarterly Statement April 1916 – With regard to the wreck of HMY Melong on March 12 1916, near Filey, the weather was so tempestuous that the Scarborough & Filey lifeboats were unable to proceed to the rescue of the crew. Mr R Cammish, the Society’s Honorary Agent at Filey wrote:- “It has been a most distressing case, and I believe the men would have died before they could have been landed by the lifeboat, and it is marvellous how so many were saved by the rocket apparatus. Two doctors were in attendance, and it took hours to bring some of the crew round after they were landed on the cliff. Many of the crew say they became unconscious just before they came to the cliff, which, I should say, is about 300 feet high. The military did splendid service by the motor transport; in fact everyone went to work with downright earnestness, and the affair will be remembered by those concerned to the end of their days. It would have done your heart good to see the women hauling on the rocket apparatus whips, in and out, when some of the men were about exhausted, and the heartfelt ‘Thank God’ when one after another was landed. But I must stop for I could fill a book by praising everyone who took part in the rescue.”

Special letters of thanks were written, by order of the Committee, to Mrs Bradshaw, of Newbeggin Farm, and Mr Dennison, a neighbour, for splendid services they rendered to some of the shipwrecked men, who were in a very exhausted condition and received every attention, for which no sort of compensation would be accepted.

EMILE ROBIN 2003/4

Helmsman Michael (Pip) Farline – RNLI, Filey Lifeboat Station to the assistance of a girl in difficulties at Reighton sands. At 1320 Filey lifeboat station received a request to launch their inshore lifeboat, RNLB Rotary District, to go to the aid of a 12-year old girl in difficulties at Reighton sands, an area of strong tidal streams and undertows with shifting sandbanks known as leys. The lifeboat was launched across the cobble beach at 1328 and headed south at 20 kts. The wind was northerly, force 4, with a swell of 3-4 metres. En route to the scene they were informed that there were two casualties in the water, the child and an adult who had gone to her aid but was now in difficulties herself. Helmsman Farline was aware that with a northerly swell, conditions would be severe in the shallow, exposed inshore waters and briefed his crew accordingly. At 1333 the lifeboat arrived in the search area but there was no sign of the casualties. It was a flood tide. Running in towards the surf line on the crest of a swell the crew spotted, first, the adult and then the girl and headed for the latter. The child was on top of a ley being buffeted and knocked down by the breaking seas, which were also scooping the sand from under her feet. The swell was accelerating and steepening before dumping on top of the sandbank. Fighting the sea and the strong tide Helmsman Farline manoeuvred his boat stern first over the ley and positioned himself alongside the casualty, with his bow into the sea. It took two attempts to get the teenage girl into the boat and required the effort of the whole crew, including ‘Pip’. In the process the boat at the mercy of the sea, was spun round, grounded on the ley and was swamped by a succession of dumping seas putting her in danger of capsizing. The boat freed herself, but with water up to the transom and four people onboard, she was sluggish and unwieldy. They then proceeded to rescue the second casualty. With five people onboard, the boat was broached and driven towards the shore beam on and over the ley with the bow and canopy driven two-thirds into the water. Recovering the situation ‘Pip’ brought his craft and the casualties safely to the beach at 1355. As if this was not enough they were tasked to relaunch into the surf to search for the woman who had originally raised the alarm but she was subsequently found safely ashore. The boat returned to Filey and was ready for service again at 1452. The courage, determination, leadership and boat handling skills of Helmsman ‘Pip’ Farline undoubtedly saved the lives of these two people and is recognised by the Society of the Emile Robin award.

Scarborough

Location of mine: Harbour, seafront

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Mr John Stap

March 1914

The Society’s Hon. Agent at Scarborough, Mr WH Ellis, was personally presented by the skipper of the Dutch ss Leersum with the boats in which the crew escaped when their ship had been blown up by a German mine, but Mr Ellis generously made a donation to the Society’s funds of £10, resulting from the sale of the boats.

From the Society’s Quarterly Statement April 1916 – With regard to the wreck of HMY Melong on March 12 1916, near Filey, the weather was so tempestuous that the Scarborough & Filey lifeboats were unable to proceed to the rescue of the crew. Mr R Cammish, the Society’s Honorary Agent at Filey wrote:- “It has been a most distressing case, and I believe the men would have died before they could have been landed by the lifeboat, and it is marvellous how so many were saved by the rocket apparatus. Two doctors were in attendance, and it took hours to bring some of the crew round after they were landed on the cliff. Many of the crew say they became unconscious just before they came to the cliff, which, I should say, is about 300 feet high. The military did splendid service by the motor transport; in fact everyone went to work with downright earnestness, and the affair will be remembered by those concerned to the end of their days. It would have done your heart good to see the women hauling on the rocket apparatus whips, in and out, when some of the men were about exhausted, and the heartfelt ‘Thank God’ when one after another was landed. But I must stop for I could fill a book by praising everyone who took part in the rescue.”

Robin Hood’s Bay

Location of mine: Top of bay bank

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Rev Dixon and R Wyllie

Origins of Sailors’ Homes

On the 18th October, the ‘Emporium’, of Shields, was cast ashore in Robin Hood’s Bay, on the Yorkshire coast, when, lamentable to relate, the master, Charles Bruce, his son, and two of the men, were drowned. Upon learning the disaster, Benjamin Wooley, Esq., RN., in command of the coast-guard station, and the Hon. Agent of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, acted with great promptitude. Many of our readers will remember the accident which occurred here some years ago, when, through the insufficient supply of gear, and defective or rather no command of the Robin Hood’s Bay lifeboat, a sad loss of life took place, including that of Lieut. Lingard, RN. We give the following from the Hon. Agent’s letter, which does him great honour.

“Yesterday, at 9am a barque was reported to me as likely to come on shore near at hand, on which I ordered the rocket apparatus to be got ready, and finding that the vessel was drifting rapidly alongshore, I hired a horse, and ordered the men to carry the apparatus alongshore. At about 10.0am she struck the rocks about 1,000 yards off Peak Way Fort, a fearful place, when we tried to effect a communication, but in vain. At 3pm she fell over on her starboard broadside, when, melancholy to relate, the master, Thomas Bruce, his son (a lad) Robert Brown, a Brazilian cook and steward, and Allen Crills, an apprentice, were washed overboard, and drowned. At 5pm, having moved the apparatus 1,000 yards to the northward, we effected a communication with Carte’s rockets, when James Whitten, chief boatman, John McDonald, boatman, Booth Harrison, permanent extra man, and several fishermen, among whom I must name John Avery, Michael and Edward Pinkney, gallantly, and the two first James Whitten (who has already been twice rewarded by the Society) and John McDonald, at the risk of their lives, rescued the remaining eight, for whom I had given orders for a cart to take them to Robin Hood’s Bay, as they were very weak and exhausted from exposure to the weather so many hours, from 9am till 5.30pm. I cannot too highly commend the exertions of the two men, Whitten and McDonald, who I think highly deserve any reward the Society can give them, for their gallant exertions in the preservation of the lives of their fellow-creatures. The other men named, too, are highly commendable for their praiseworthy exertions in the same cause. The vessel proved to be the ‘Emporium’, of South Shields, and not one of the crew belongs to our Society; but I have put some of our circulars into their hands, and they will join the first opportunity.”

Whitby

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr William Brown

Middlesborough

Hartlepool

Location of mine: Quayside at Museum of Hartlepool – Jackson Dock

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr William Vollum

EMILE ROBIN 1896/7

Captain FW Chambers and Chief Officer PG Haggberg of the ss Damara of West Hartlepool for the rescue of the crew of the brig Victoria of Fowey. The following account is given by Captain AF Moelgenborg, late Master of the Victoria. “Sir, as requested by you, I beg to state the services rendered by the boat’s crew from the Damara, of West Hartlepool, were such as I can scarcely describe; for our vessel was in a sinking state with a hole in her stern, and sea making clean sweeps over her, also water gaining on the pumps very fast, having made three feet of water in eight hours, and the pumps kept constantly going. At the time of making signal to the steamer, I had very poor hopes of her being able to render us any assistance, on account of the terrific high sea running, with a heavy gale blowing from the NW., and only for the oil cast on the water from the steamer, keeping the sea from breaking, their attempt, I fear, would have been useless; and then, when the difficulty of letting their boat into the water on the second attempt was over, each wave was looked upon with dread, and had not the boat been manned with a skilful crew and brave hearts, they would never have managed to do what they did, for it took about two hours hard contest with the sea and weather in rescuing myself and crew off the Victoria. The fact that they were unable to save the boats is also another evidence of the state of the sea at the time. Trusting that this statement will satisfy the Board of Trade in the matter; or, should they require any further evidence from me, I shall be very glad to state anything I might know to render justice to the crew of the Damara’s boat.

Seaham Harbour

Sunderland

Location of mine: Cliff Park, Roker

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Joseph Spence

05/01/1844 Mr Hudson (HA) reported loss of 3 men lost in the ‘Eleanor’ of Sunderland on Barnard Sand on 28/10/1843. Thomas Kent left a widow and 3 children [15, 12, 10]. Widow receives 3/- per week from the ‘Muster Roll’ and hopes for £2-8-0 per annum from Trinity House. £8 granted. William Nesham left a widow who received £20 from the Master Mariners Benevolent Society and 4/- per week from Merchant Seamens Fund. £2 granted. William Clark left a mother aged 50. £2 granted.

06/04/1844
Henry Kinley, mariner, lost in the ‘Cleveland Packet’ on 09/03/1844. Sister wholly dependent upon him and also her husband who from infirmity and disease has been unable to work for 15 years. £3 granted.

Alan Carr, mariner, fell from the topmast of the ‘Hylton Castle’ in the Thames and was killed. Widow very poor with 2 children [10, 9]. £2 granted to enable her to buy a mangle from which she may earn a living.

06/06/1845
James Trueman, mariner, washed overboard from the ‘Elizabeth Jane’ and drowned on the voyage to Richibucto on 29/04/1845 leaving his dependent mother. £2 granted.

From The Shipwrecked Mariner Vol 111 1856 Summary of early days of RNLI.
New lifeboat at Sunderland – On Monday, 26th November, a new lifeboat was launched at Sunderland, which has been obtained by subscriptions promoted by the seamen of the port. Hitherto the lifeboat at Sunderland has generally been manned by pilots and fishermen, whose experience in the management of boats has been considered a guarantee of their superior ability. They have often braved the dangers of a heavy storm, and been successful in their endeavours to save life in cases of shipwreck. Some instances, however, have occurred in which they have not been successful, which has been a source of much reflection and altercation. The seamen have appealed to public feeling, to enable them to have a lifeboat built on the most approved principles, and placed under their own management, which is intended to be carried into effect by the boat just launched. A number of spectators witnessed the scene with great satisfaction. The model is that patented by Mr Hawksworth, which has already been publicly described. The new boat was subjected to tests when manned by 20 men. On being precipitated violently into the water, so as to cause her to fill and sink, she rose buoyantly in a few seconds. She is capable of being worked with both oars and sails. It will, however, require a tempestuous sea to test her capabilities effectually, and also to try the professed superior ability of the seamen over the pilots and fishermen in working the boat. When this is done we shall faithfully report according to the results. While we highly commend a spirit of emulation in the seamen of Sunderland, in the praiseworthy object of their endeavours to save the lives of each other in times of danger, we hope they will avoid any manifestation of unfriendly feeling on this subject towards the pilots and fishermen who are their competitors. We are not unmindful of the interesting and exciting nature of the duties of such undertaking, but if those duties are engaged in without due consideration for all parties acting in friendly conjunction, or if feeling os animosity are cherished and bickerings practised, as with victor and vanquished, much ill-will may be promoted, which it is, of all things, desirable to avoid.

EMILE ROBIN 1910/1
Captain Morpeth Jameson and Chief Officer Robert Forster of the ss Carham of Sunderland for the rescue of the crew of 22 of the ss Trevorain of St Ives on 25th January 1910. The Trevorain, of 1,433 register tonnage, with a crew of 22 hands (all told) left Barry dock on 22nd January for Taranto, having a cargo of coal consigned to the Italian Government. In his examination on oath at Cardiff on 21st February, the Master, Nicholas John Woolcock, gave the following details:- “On the passage out we encountered very heavy gales with high seas. On 25th January the vessel being then in Lat. 48 6’N., Long. 6 44’W., the weather had increased in severity, and having sprung a leak the previous night, the steamer was sinking. About 7 am we sighted the Carham, of Sunderland, and signalled that my vessel was in distress. She bore down on us and steamed round us, pouring oil on the water. By this time the high wind had somewhat abated, but the seas were still very high. In lowering a boat from the Carham, it was smashed. A second attempt was successful, and it got away from the vessel only partly manned. Some of the rescuing crew had to jump into the sea and swim to the boat. She came up as near as possible, but was unable to come close alongside. A rope was thrown to the boat from our vessel and made fast, those in the boat rowing continuously to prevent bearing down on the sinking ship. We had already improvised a raft of a ladder and planks, and this was manoeuvred backwards and forwards, carrying two or three of my crew at a time until all were saved. The boat had to make two journeys to get all of us off. The work of rescue occupied about three hours, and was full of peril for the rescuing party. As far as I can remember the boat was manned by the Chief Officer, boatswain, and four others, but I do not know their names. In trying to get the boat up on board the Carham, it was smashed against the side and washed away. We received every attention on board the Carham until we were landed at Ferrol four days afterwards. The Trevorian sank, bow foremost, at 4.45 pm on the day of the rescue.” The Official Report of the loss contained the following paragraphs:- The Court have great pleasure in placing on record their high appreciation of the most valuable services rendered by the Master and the crew of the Carham, and especially the men who manned the boat of the Carham, which resulted in the saving of the lives of the crew of the Trevorian. The Court considers that the services were rendered in the face of unusual risk, and performed with great judgement and ability, and well upheld the high reputation British seamen have earned all over the world. His Majesty the King, on the recommendation of the Board of Trade, awarded silver medals to Mr Forster and the four men who accompanied him in the boat; and the Board of Trade also presented Captain Jameson with a piece of plate and Mr Forster with a binocular glass, and gave £3 each to the other members of the boat’s crew.

EMILE ROBIN 1956/7
Skipper Samuel James Pells Hall and Mate Arthur L Dobson of the st York City for the rescue of 8 of the crew of the German ms Gertrud on 29th January 1956. While on voyage from Sunderland to Bergen with a cargo of coal, the Gertrud took a heavy sea during a gale and developed a list of 45° to starboard. The York City sighted her distress flares and altered course to her position. She found the distressed vessel lying broadside to the wind with heavy seas breaking over her. York City manoeuvred in close and fired rocket lines, but they were carried clear of the vessel by the strong wind. Skipper Hall, thereupon asked the Skipper of the fishing vessel Junella which had also come to Gertrud’s assistance, to spread oil on the rough seas so that a lifeboat could be launched. Before an attempt to launch a boat could be made, however, Gertrud took a heavy sea which increased her list to 90° and soon afterwards she capsized, her crew of nine clinging to the keel. The two trawlers then circled the wreck, but as York City which was the nearer, was approaching it to try and save the crew, a big sea washed the men off the keel. Skipper Hall immediately placed his vessel to windward of the men in the water at a position less than fifty yards from the wreck, and by skilful manoeuvring broadside on to the wind he enabled the crew to pick up eight of them. The ninth survivor drifted away clinging to a piece of wreckage and was rescued by Junella. Throughout the rescue operation Skipper Hall navigated his vessel with great skill and accuracy depite the very severe weather and conditions prevailing. Great credit is due to him for the complete success of the operation.

South Shields

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr George Potts

17/02/1843

Mr Potts (HA) reported George Dodd late Master of the ‘Thomas 2 Mary’ lost on 18/01/1843, leaving his widow Mary in poor circumstances. £2 granted.

20/01/1854

Silver Medal each to Jacob Harrison, John Mulhuan, Joseph Smith and Jacob Burn, who manned the lifeboats at Shields to rescue the crews of vessels stranded on the Herd Sand during the awful gales of January. Also £26 granted to 48 pilots during the same incidents.

10/02/1854

£2 each awarded to Mrs Jackson and Mrs Young for their energetic and untiring zeal and most praiseworthy exertions in ministering to the necessities of the shipwrecked crews brought on shore by the lifeboats during the prevalence of the late awful gales.

Origins of Sailors’ Homes

On the 18th October, the ‘Emporium’, of Shields, was cast ashore in Robin Hood’s Bay, on the Yorkshire coast, when, lamentable to relate, the master, Charles Bruce, his son, and two of the men, were drowned. Upon learning the disaster, Benjamin Wooley, Esq., RN., in command of the coast-guard station, and the Hon. Agent of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, acted with great promptitude. Many of our readers will remember the accident which occurred here some years ago, when, through the insufficient supply of gear, and defective or rather no command of the Robin Hood’s Bay lifeboat, a sad loss of life took place, including that of Lieut. Lingard, RN. We give the following from the Hon. Agent’s letter, which does him great honour.

“Yesterday, at 9am a barque was reported to me as likely to come on shore near at hand, on which I ordered the rocket apparatus to be got ready, and finding that the vessel was drifting rapidly alongshore, I hired a horse, and ordered the men to carry the apparatus alongshore. At about 10.0am she struck the rocks about 1,000 yards off Peak Way Fort, a fearful place, when we tried to effect a communication, but in vain. At 3pm she fell over on her starboard broadside, when, melancholy to relate, the master, Thomas Bruce, his son (a lad) Robert Brown, a Brazilian cook and steward, and Allen Crills, an apprentice, were washed overboard, and drowned. At 5pm, having moved the apparatus 1,000 yards to the northward, we effected a communication with Carte’s rockets, when James Whitten, chief boatman, John McDonald, boatman, Booth Harrison, permanent extra man, and several fishermen, among whom I must name John Avery, Michael and Edward Pinkney, gallantly, and the two first James Whitten (who has already been twice rewarded by the Society) and John McDonald, at the risk of their lives, rescued the remaining eight, for whom I had given orders for a cart to take them to Robin Hood’s Bay, as they were very weak and exhausted from exposure to the weather so many hours, from 9am till 5.30pm. I cannot too highly commend the exertions of the two men, Whitten and McDonald, who I think highly deserve any reward the Society can give them, for their gallant exertions in the preservation of the lives of their fellow-creatures. The other men named, too, are highly commendable for their praiseworthy exertions in the same cause. The vessel proved to be the ‘Emporium’, of South Shields, and not one of the crew belongs to our Society; but I have put some of our circulars into their hands, and they will join the first opportunity.”

From the Society’s Quarterly Statement October 1907 – At the Central Offices of the Society in London there has been received one of the annual cards of membership, which has a strange and pathetic history connected with it, inasmuch as it has been recovered from the bottom of the ocean. It was issued at Bo’ness, NB, to Martin Jensen of 85, Maxwell Street, South Shields, on 29th Jan the day on which the ill-fated ss Stag, of Newcastle, sailed for Bremen, the man being one of the crew. The vessel was never heard of again, and, after the usual lapse of time, was posted at Lloyd’s as ‘missing’, having presumably foundered in the storm of 30th January. In August a Tyne fishing vessel was at work in the North Sea, when the trawl brought up the body of a man (so decomposed that it was necessary to sink it again immediately), and also part of a seaman’s bag, containing a copy of the Apocrypha, between the leaves of which was discovered the card in question, the writing on it being easily decipherable. Thus the mystery of the Stag was solved after 7 months, it being evident that she went down near the spot where the remains were found. Some of the newspapers, in commenting on the case, stated that the finding of the ticket would entitle Jensen’s widow and five orphan children to a grant of £5 from our Society, but this is incorrect, as the issuing of the card had been verified when the ship was ‘posted’ and Mrs Jensen had received a grant of £9 15s. ‘Immediate Relief’ (on account of the husband having been lost at sea) on 21st February, and the membership grant (according to scale) of £10 13s 9d on 1st March. She will also be given further assistance during the next five years. The crew of the Stag consisted of 16 persons, and 7 cases of distress among the bereaved dependants having been discovered by the Society’s Hon. Agents, a total sum of £109 7s 6d has, up to date, been distributed amongst those families.

1933

From the Society’s Quarterly Statement January 1933 – Amongst the benefits of the Society’s membership system is the charitable relief granted by the Committee at their discretion to old members in sickness, distress or old age, and a specially deserving case was brought to their notice on 16th December, when a grant of £3 (following previous ones) was made to a seaman at South Shields, suffering from phthisis, and with a wife who is nearly blind. He (quite spontaneously) sent the following touching reply to the Secretary:- Dear Sir, Will you allow me to express my heartfelt gratitude for the assistance which your Society gave me so generously and so promptly? The £3 which I received last Saturday morning, has undoubtedly saved my wife’s life. Picture me, if you can, at four am last Saturday, with my wife very seriously ill with influenza and only able to moan piteously that she was sinking, and I without the money to pay for a private doctor, while there was no possibility of applying for a Guardians’ doctor before 9.30am. I was distracted with worry and anxiety and, depending on your Society sending me some assistance that same morning, I staggered out, sick and unwell myself, to try and get medical assistance ere it was too late. I was lucky enough to find a doctor up in the first place I tried, who came at once and did everything he could for her. The money you sent me, which I received about eleven on Saturday forenoon, enabled me to buy milk, Bovril etc without which she would have certainly died. The doctor has told me this afternoon that she has now improved considerably and with care will ultimately be restored to health. I hope you will not consider this an impertinence on my part in writing you at such length, but my heart is so full of gratitude, that I feel I must speak of it to you or have a breakdown, and my own health is so poor that I think I feel more acutely than a more robust person would do. It has done me a lot of good merely to write this to you about the matter, as I do not as a rule betray my feelings to everyone. In conclusion, I wish you again to express my thanks and gratitude and wish the Society and yourself every success.

*The Committee made a further grant of £2 and a lady from West Worthing who wanted to remain anonymous donated £5 to their cause, which paid the doctor’s account and purchased some necessary clothing for them both.

Newcastle

North Shields

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr R Turnbull

EMILE ROBIN 1887/8

Captain D Munro and Chief Officer H Hanson of the ss Stag of North Shields for the rescue of the crew of the German ship Shakespeare of Bremen. The statement of Captain David Munro:- On 20th December 1889, off the banks of Newfoundland, during voyage from Bremen to New York, the wind was blowing at hurricane force and we were forcing our way through big seas, when, about 3 am., the look-out discovered away in the distance, through a veil of rain and hail, the lights of some vessel about 3 miles or so off. The first light was quickly followed by another, and then a huge rocket shot skyward. I knew that it was a ship in distress trying to attract our attention. I kept the light in sight and headed for them. When daylight dawned I was close enough to discern a dismasted ship, her crew waving and shouting in the frenzy of despair. About 7.15 am, I was close enough to signal the vessel, which proved to be the American clipper built German ship Shakespeare, bound from Hamburg to New York. I told them to keep their courage and that I would pick them up at the first opportunity. At that time it was blowing a frightful hurricane and a boat could not have lived a moment in the seas. Shortly after a heavy snow squall shut out the fast sinking ship, and all through the following day and night the vessel was obscured, but every once in a while we could see the flash of lights and rockets telling us where they were. All that night we sailed about the ship, hoping that the storm would abate sufficiently to allow us to go to the crew’s succour. For hours we could not see their distress signals, and it gave me intense anxiety for fear I would lose them. When morning dawned I again made a search for the ship. After hours of fruitless endeavour the snow squall suddenly ceased, the mist cleared away, and disclosed the ship to our view. She was almost level with the water. The sea was still frightfully high, but I knew that the crew’s safety depended upon my promptness. I ordered away the port quarter boat, and called for volunteers to man it. Everyone of my crew to a man instantly responded to the call of duty and humanity. Second Officer Noel and 4 of my ablest seamen manned the boat and rowed to the rescue. On account of the heavy sea the boat could not get within 50 feet of the sinking ship. Then those on the ship threw my men a line and jumped into the sea, and, with the aid of the rope, were pulled through the sea into the boat. Owing to the state of the sea, my boat, which was the jolly-boat, could only rescue 5 men the first time, and it made 4 successive trips, each of the men having first to jump into the sea, and then, with the aid of the line which was attached to their ship, swim off towards the boat. On the last 2 trips a fresh crew of volunteers, in charge of First Officer Harold Hanson, went to the wreck. Chief Officer Ferdinand Mette, the last person to leave the sinking vessel, could not hold on to the rope, his hands being so sore and blistered from exposure and cold, and had to swim the whole distance, my men dragging him out of the water, benumbed and exhausted. The rescue, although attended with the gravest difficulty, was successfully accomplished, and the conduct of my men and the presence of mind displayed by the Shakespeare’s crew are deserving of the highest praise. We abandoned the ship, and the late Captain’s pet dog, to the mercy of the elements, and continued on our trip. The rescued men were weak and exhausted from fatigue and exposure, and were one mass of bruises and sores. They had been tossing about the Atlantic for nearly 2 months, having left Hamburg on 24th October. Their ship was dismasted in a gale on 17th December, in which she also sprang a leak. For 4 days and nights, amid frightful hurricanes, the big seas constantly sweeping over them, the brave crew manfully worked at the pumps, in a hopeless endeavour to keep their ship afloat. Captain Carl Muller, of the Shakespeare, died from heart disease on 17th December, and, just as a big sea swept his ship, hurling the mizzen mast with part of the mainmast to the deck, his body was buried in the sea. Communication to Captain Munro from Chief Officer Ferdinand Mette, of the Shakespeare:- We, the officers and crew of the German ship Shakespeare, being about to depart for Europe, desire to express to you, our heartfelt thanks for the kindness and relief given to us in our recent disaster. Our ship, in mid ocean, was dismasted and nearly filled with water, the rudder damaged, and pumps disabled; our Captain dead, and ourselves exhausted by protracted exposure. The ship would undoubtedly have foundered in a short time, and all on board have perished, had it not been for your timely appearance and prompt assistance. You stood by us for nearly 36 hours, and at great risk of your lives, lowered and sent a boat to us, and by your heroism and daring succeeded in saving our entire ship’s company. After you had taken us on board your vessel, you extended to us every kindness; our wounds were dressed, and we were fed and clothed. A loving mother could not have treated her children more tenderly. In conclusion, we feel and know that to your bravery we owe our lives, and we shall always cherish your memory in our hearts.

EMILE ROBIN 1949/50

Captain Gordon Beckham Elliott and Chief Officer Arthur Alexander Neller of the ss St Clears for the rescue of 21 of the crew of the ss Cydonia. ss Cydonia, 3,594 tons gross, registered at North Shields, left Workington in ballast for Cardiff on 20 October, 1949. At about 4.20 pm on the following day she was struck by a floating mine, which exploded and made a hole about 20ft in diameter in the hull. The engines were put out of action, and the engine room, plunged in darkness, was rapidly flooded. The engineer on watch escaped, but the greaser on watch in the engine room lost his life. SOS signals were answered by the Danish coaster Mary Jensen and later by the St Clears. At the time it was blowing a moderate south-westerly gale, with a very rough sea. Cydonia launched a lifeboat with 14 persons on board, all of whom were taken safely on board the Mary Jensen. The boat was lost, however. By this time all Cydonia’s remaining lifeboats were out of action, and St Clears took over the rescue operation. There was a ready response to her Master’s call for a volunteer crew to man the motor lifeboat, which left the ship at 6.25 pm in charge of Chief Officer Neller, with the Third Engineer Thornbury in charge of the engine. The boat was so light that the propeller was often out of the water, and the crew had a long pull in rough seas to reach Cydonia. In spite of difficult conditions, however, the Master and the remaining 20 members of the crew of Cydonia were rescued and taken safely on board the St Clears. The survivors from St Clears were landed at Liverpool and those on Mary Jensen at Swansea. Cydonia was towed to Milford Haven.

01/10/1840
Crew of the ‘Ann’ fishing boat from Lerwick, which was driven by the gale to North Bergen and sent to North Shields by the British Consort, there Mr Turnbull (HA) sent them on to Leith, requesting the HA there to send them on to Lerwick.

18/04/1845
Samuel Patterson wrecked and drowned in the ship-wash on night of 27/03/1845 on board the ‘Edward’ of South Shields, leaving a widow. £2 granted

12/09/1845
Loss of the ‘Elizabeth’ of North Shields on 21/08/1845 about 80 miles off Hartlepool during a tremendous gale. All except one of his crew were drowned having been lashed to the pumps for 40 hours and then exhausted could not keep the pumps going and the ship foundered. John Usher left a widow. Grant £4

12/09/1845
George Twaddle, mariner, drowned from the ‘Pacific’ of Scarborough during the late gale, leaving a widow and 5 children. Grant £5.

Blyth

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Joseph Hodgson

Craster

Holy Island

Location of mine: Market square

Date of first agency: 1839

First Honorary Agent: Mr Donaldson

Eyemouth and St Abbs

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Thomas Bowhill

EMILE ROBIN 1976/7

Mr PW Hood and Mr PR Hood of the lobster boat Sterina for the rescue of the crew of the fv Vigilant. On 29 September 1976, while on passage from Bell Rock towards St Abb’s Head, the Vigilant ran aground on one of a cluster of rocks known as the Ebb Carrs. At the time, visibility was very poor, there was an onshore wind, with very substantial sea and swell, which made conditions very dangerous among the many rocks in this area. The Skipper and 3 of the crew members were in their bunks at the time of the grounding and although an inflatable liferaft was launched, before they could put on their life jackets and board it, the vessel sank. The 5 men had to jump into the water and only one was able to get hold of the liferaft. Mr Hood and his son had been down at St Abb’s harbour that morning with the intention of proceeding to sea in their lobster boat Sterina, but because of the prevailing conditions, they had decided to return home, when they noticed through the fog the lights of a fishing vessel steering past the harbour and knew instantly that it was heading into danger. The two men immediately boarded Sterina and tried to radio a warning message, but met with no success. They then decided to put to sea in Sterina to see if they could assist in the impending calamity. They arrived at the scene about five minutes after the Vigilant had sunk and, despite the dangers of the surrounding rocks, immediately started rescue operations. With great difficulty, the 4 men who were swimming were hauled aboard and then the man who was holding onto the liferaft, thus completing a courageous and difficult rescue.

Edinburgh and Leith

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: MR BF Gray & Mr W Watson

EMILE ROBIN 1900/1

Captain JH Davison and Chief Officer WN Thirlaway of the ss Glengoil of Leith for the rescue of the crew (29) of the ship Nonpareil of London in the Atlantic on the 22nd September. The following official statement was made by William Christian, First Mate of the Nonpareil:- “On September 21, 1900, a violent hurricane came down on us in mid-Atlantic. All sail was taken off the Nonpareil but three lower topsails, and they in turn blew away about an hour afterwards, say 3 pm. At the same time the ship lay over on her beam ends, the boats were torn away on starboard side and smashed on port side, the crew lashing themselves to the port quarter, the only part above water. At about 4 pm., 22nd, the Glengoil bore in sight, having run 80 miles out of her course on account of the gale. She sailed twice around us, not believing any one was on board, but to get our name, and when they saw us, made signs that they were sending assistance. A crew of four and Second Officer came first and took off six of our crew, putting them safely on board the Glengoil. The second lifeboat was then launched and two of our own men volunteered to make the second and third journeys with two of the original four of the rescuing crew, the Second Mate continuing in charge. When the second lifeboat had completed its second trip, one of the Glengoil’s men was crushed between boat and ship and sank forthwith, the second lifeboat being then cast adrift owing to her damaged condition. There was a very heavy rolling sea at the time of rescue, the wind having moderated. The loss of both boats will show the arduous and dangerous nature of the service rendered, and I consider the Captain managed his steamer with great skill, as did the Second Mate his boats, and the greatest praise is due for their exertions and the kindness shown to us all while on the Glengoil, which landed us in New York on 1 October”.

EMILE ROBIN 1925/6

Captain G McMillan and Chief Officer GS Matthew of the ss Benvorlich of Leith for the rescue of the crew of 6 of the Newfoundland schooner Nancy Lee in the North Atlantic on 24 October 1925. The Nancy Lee of St John’s, Newfoundland, of 188 tons gross, was on a voyage from Emily Harbour, Labrador, to Seville, with a crew of six, when she encountered a succession of gales from 3rd October until the 18th October, 1925. By this date she was leaking badly owing to straining in the gales, and from the 18th to the 21st October the vessel was hove to. At midnight on the 22nd October, a heavy sea struck the vessel and carried away about 35’ of bulwark, rails, stanchions etc, the latter breaking off below the deck. The vessel’s lifeboat was also smashed. The storm abated somewhat, and at 10 pm on the 23rd October the lights of the Benvorlich were sighted, and signals of distress made. At midnight the Benvorlich closed with the schooner, but could not render immediate assistance, so she stood by until daylight, when the Master of the steamer sent to the rescue a boat in charge of Mr Matthew and manned by Mr JD Wilson, 2nd Officer, Mr RCT Baillie, 3rd Officer, Mr NA Richardson 4th Engineer, Mr WI Costello, Wireless Operator, Cheung Tong Seng, Carpenter and See Ah Sing, Sailor. They succeeded in rescuing the crew of the Nancy Lee and in so doing incurred considerable risk owing to the heavy sea and high wind.

Musselburgh

Grangemouth

Glasgow

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr W Martin

Silver Medal 1854

Silver Medals were presented to Mr Henry Hildebrand and Mr EH Blake:- During a thick fog and heavy breakers on the 6th September, proceeding to the rescue of the cries of passengers (in all 200 persons) of the Prince of Seas of Glasgow and saving the vessel under God from being a total wreck, between Sunderland and Boffin Island.

EMILE ROBIN 1885/6

Captain J Brock and Chief Officer J Mullen of the ship Fiery Cross of Glasgow for the rescue of the crew of the barque Oruro of Liverpool. Report of Captain Brock, Master of the ship:- The ship Fiery Cross, of Glasgow, 1,399 tons (net), the crew consisting of 24 hands, all told, left San Francisco, for Falmouth, March 30 1887, with a cargo of wheat; and on Sunday, 29 May, at 9 am, sighted a dismasted vessel flying a signal of distress; weather at this time fresh and squally, with a heavy sea running. Stood for the disabled ship, and hove to at 10 am., about a mile to windward of her, in about Lat. 56 S., Long. 74 W. Finding that the boats on board the distressed vessel were all smashed, sent ship’s lifeboat, with the Chief Officer (Mr John Mullen) and 6 hands, who volunteered to bring off the crew, the whole of which, namely, the Master and 14 hands – were brought off in two trips, without their effects, which had to be abandoned. The Chief Officer on his return reported that the abandoned vessel was the barque Oruro, of Liverpool, that the fore and main masts were gone by the board, and the decks ripped up, and that the Master stated that there was 5 feet of water in the lazarette, and the pumps were broken. Having rescued all the crew of the Oruro, continued voyage at noon, it appearing probable that the dismasted ship would soon go down. On 4th June, in. 50 S., Long. 51 W., transferred the Master and all the rescued crew of the Oruro on board the French Man of War Fontenoy, except the sail-maker, who was too much injured to be moved, and was brought on to the Fiery Cross, and landed at Falmouth, on 10 August. The lifeboat was at last stove against the Oruro, and, on account of the heavy sea running, it was considered too dangerous to attempt getting it on board again, and it was therefore abandoned. Statement by Captain William George McNeily, Master of the barque Oruro of Liverpool:- The iron barque Oruro, registered tonnage 499 (net), of Liverpool, with crew of 14 hand, laden with sugar, from Pacasmayo to Liverpool, left Pacasmayo 28th April. All went well until about 6th May, when we encountered a succession of gales from NW to SW., with heavy cross-seas. On 27th May, the ship being hove to under main lower topsail, about Lat. 55 52’ S., Long. 72 30’ W., at 4.30 am., during a heavy squall from N., a heavy sea struck the vessel, carrying away all the bulwarks, fore and mainmast, and smashed two largest boats, and carried away pumps, galley, forewinch, jib-boom, and mizzen topmast. The foremast in carrying away broke the deck up in the forepart, myself and 3 men being injured. Cleared away all the wreckage and rigged temporary pumps, and judged there was about 5 feet of water in the hold, and gaining at the rate of 2.5 – 3 inches an hour. The gale moderated the next day, but almost immediately freshened up again. We set the spanker and put out the broken mizzen topmast for a drag, to keep ship up to the sea, until 29th May, the water having increased to about 8 feet. About 8 am, the ship Fiery Cross came in sight, and, after signalling, sent a boat, and had great difficulty in getting alongside; but, after some time, in two trips, all were transferred to the Fiery Cross about noon, the boat being stove in on the last trip. On 4th June we were all, but one injured man, transferred to the French Transport Fontenoy, bound for Brest, from New Caledonia, and which landed us at St Helena, on 28th June, where we remained until 4th July, when we shipped by mail steamer Moor, and landed at Southampton, 18th July.

EMILE ROBIN 1893/4

Captain Robert Duncan and Chief Officer Frank Percy Whitehead of the ss Norham Castle of London for the gallant rescue of the Master, officers and 14 of the crew being 18 lives in all, of the barque Fascadale of Glasgow, on 7th February 1895. Left East London, bound for Natal at 3.00 pm on February 6, light north-east wind and moderate sea. At 8.00 pm light breeze and overcast, with continual rain. At 3.00 am on the 7th, instant hard squalls from the south-east, with heavy rain; impossible to see anything ahead, the weather being so thick and dark. Slowed the engines, and hauled the ship two points off the land. At 5 am sighted red topped hill, North Sand Bluff. At 6.30 sighted a four-masted sailing ship, with all sail set, ashore on the rocks, near the south bank of the Impenjali River, Lat. 30 59’ S., Long. 30 17’ 20’ E. At 7 am steamed in as close as possible, and stopped the engines. There was a heavy swell from the south-east, breaking clean over the ship, and the crew were observed waving their clothes, some of them clinging to the rigging of the jigger mast, and some to the end of the jib-boom. The Chief Officer, Mr Whitehead, volunteered to go away in one of the boats and attempt the rescue. Accordingly, a boat was immediately lowered, and proceeded towards the ship, and at 9.30 succeeded, after great difficulty, in taking off eighteen of the crew. It was not until after several attempts that a line could be attached and communication made with the ship, which was only effected by the Chief Officer jumping into the sea with a line and swimming towards the ship, being met half way by one of the Apprentices, who swam towards him with another line from the ship, when, by joining the two lines in the water, seventeen of the crew were hauled aboard the boat in a very exhausted condition. The Captain of the ship, who was washed off the poop, was brought aboard in an exhausted state, his legs being badly bruised, the Chief Officer, again jumping into the sea and swimming back with him to the boat. A second boat had in the meantime been lowered from the Norham Castle, in charge of the Second Officer, and, transhipping the eighteen rescued men from the first boat, brought them alongside the steamship, whilst the Chief Officer’s boat continued to try and get off the remainder of the crew, five in number, who were clinging to the jib-boom. But the surf being so very heavy, combined with the back wash from the beach and the current, it was not possible to get near them, and the boat returned to the Norham Castle to obtain rockets and a small line with which to endeavour to send a line over the jib-boom. Before, however, she got back to the ship, the five men were either washed off the jib-boom, or dropped into the sea to try and swim ashore, perhaps thinking the boat might not return to their assistance, and losing heart. Seeing that there was no one left on board the ship, which had parted amidships and was fast breaking up, the two middle masts having gone overboard, the boats returned, and being got onboard and made fast, the Norham Castle proceeded for Natal at 12.50 pm. Four out of five men, it is believed, succeeded in reaching the shore, but three of the crew, it is reported, were washed overboard and drowned before the Norham Castle arrived on the scene; so that four were drowned out of the total crew of twenty-eight. The wrecked ship proved to the the Fascadale, Captain RJ Gillespie, of Glasgow, from Java, with a sugar cargo, bound for Lisbon for orders, the name of the Apprentice who swam from her to meet the Chief Officer, being Robert Patrick Gordon Ferries.

EMILE ROBIN 1894/5

Captain JW Murray and Chief Officer JT Spiers of the ss Batanga of Glasgow for saving the lives of the crew of the barquentine Indian Chief of Banff. The following account given by Mr William Kinloch, owner of the Indian Chief. “This vessel left Alloa on December 3, with a cargo of coals bound for Barbados. After sailing she experienced a long continuation of head winds and bad weather in the North Sea. She passed the Lizard on December 21. On the 22nd they experienced a very heavy gale of wind and high sea, during which time her rudder stock gave way below the steering screw and upper band. They tried by every means to secure it in the casing, but were unable to do anything with it below the counter. It rocked about so much, and the ship pitching with the heavy sea caused the rudder braces to be carried away and started the vessel’s stern post, which caused her to make a large quantity of water. The crew wrought hard at the pumps, but were unable to keep her free. They then thought it advisable to abandon the ship for their own safety at the first opportunity, so they put up signals of distress. They then sighted a steamer which proved to be the Batanga. She bore down upon them and put out her lifeboat, and went as near the Indian Chief as they could with safety, but could not go close to the ship, the sea being so high. The crew of the Indian Chief then put on their lifebelts and jumped into the sea, one after another, and were picked up by the crew of the steamboat and taken to Liverpool. I consider that the lifeboat crew risked their own lives in rescuing the crew of the Indian Chief, and deserve all praise for doing so.”

From the Daily Mail, 29th September 1913 – “A remarkable story of the sea has reached here (New Zealand) in a private letter from London. It is stated that two survivors of a vessel wrecked off Cape Horn found the wrecked Glasgow ship Marlborough in a cove with 20 skeletons near by. The Marlborough left Lyttelton, NZ, in January 1890 for London, and was not heard of again. It was supposed that she sank in a collision with an iceberg. Her captain was W Aird”. The Society checked its books and found the ship was reported as missing in July 1890.

EMILE ROBIN 1916/7

Captain GR Harris and Chief Officer DB MacFarlane of the ss Netherpark of Glasgow for the rescue of the crew of the Japanese ss Kenken Maru in the North Atlantic 5 February 1916. The following is a translation of the Diploma granted by the Japanese Government:- Diploma for the Medal of the Empire of Japan, GR Harris, Captain of the British steamer, Netherpark. “On the 5th February, in the fifth year of Taisho (1916), the Kenken Maru, a steamer owned by Messrs. Inui & Co., Kobe, encounted a heavy storm off the coast of Nova Scotia during her voyage to Baltimore, USA from Cartagena, Spain. Having been exposed to high seas for several days, she was entirely at the mercy of the huge waves, with water rushing into her engine rooms, when the above-named, in response to signals for rescue, approached the ill-fated steamer with two of his crew in a boat commanded by himself, in the face of the boisterous seas and at the risk of his own life, and, after exercising his utmost endeavours, succeeded in rescuing the crew of the steamer, comprising Captain Mataichiro Fujimoto and thirty-four sailors.” In recognition of this good deed, the Kohju Hohaho (crimson-ribboned Medal for Merit), instituted by the Imperial Ordinance of the 7th December in the 14 year of Meinjo (1881) is hereby conferred upon him. Count Sanemasa Ohgimachi, Third Class of the Rising Sun, Junii, President of the Bureau of Decorations.

EMILE ROBIN 1929/30

Captain Philip Linton and Chief Officer John Chater of the ss Manchester Regiment of Manchester for the rescue of the crew of 45 of the ss Volumnia of Glasgow on 8 December 1929. The Volumnia of Glasgow, was on a voyage from Falmouth to the USA and from the time of sailing on 28 November, very bad weather was encountered. On 7 December, the vessel was hove to in a severe south-westerly gale, with mountainous seas running, which constantly swept the deck, causing serious damage and putting the steam steering gear out of action, and an SOS was sent. This was answered by several ships, including the French liner, La France, which was the first vessel to reach the position of the Volumnia, and the ss Manchester Regiment, which reached the vicinity about 3 am on Sunday, 8 December. Both ships stood by for a lull in the storm before trying to effect a rescue of the crew of the Volumnia, which had sprung a leak and was settling down by the stern. Later, by agreement between the Masters, the Manchester Regiment took over the rescue operations and the La France continued on her voyage. The Manchester Regiment then proceeded to spray oil on the sea in order to make the work of rescue easier; at this stage the American ss Saco arrived and gave valuable help by also spraying oil on the sea. After this operation the Manchester Regiment took up a position on the weather side of the Volumnia, and as near as possible to her; at 9 am there was a slight lull in the storm, although there was still a dangerous sea running, which caused both vessels to roll heavily, and the Master of the Manchester Regiment decided to attempt a rescue, as there was little prospect of further improvement in the weather. All hands on board volunteered, and the Second Mate, Mr Downing, was selected to take charge of the lifeboat, with Mr Espley, Third Mate, Mr Bromage, Mr Manin, Mr Stringer, Mr Kerns, Mr Chidlow and Mr R P Ziegler, a passenger, to form the crew of the boat. The lifeboat was, with great difficulty, successfully launched, but in the operation of getting away Mr Downing had his left hand severely crushed and the first joint of one of his fingers was severed. He continued to take charge of the lifeboat, and by skilful handling of the boat he succeeded, in two trips, in taking the entire crew of 45 off the Volumnia without accident and safely transferred them to the Manchester Regiment. During the operations several men fell into the water, both alongside the Volumnia and the Manchester Regiment, but they were, fortunately, rescued. The rescue was completed by 11.30 am. Very great risk was incurred by the rescuing boat’s crew owing to the tremendous seas running, and at times there was grave danger of the boat being capsized. The boat was so badly damaged that it had finally to be abandoned.

1933

From the Society’s Quarterly Statement April 1933 – The following genuine letter of thanks from Glasgow from the widow of a man drowned, who was left with a little girl aged 6, seems worthy of record:- Dear Sir, Just a few lines to thank you for your very great kindness towards me in my time of trouble by granting me the sum of money that you did. Believe me it was very acceptable as I have only my widow’s pension, and I was so delighted when the old gentleman (the Society’s Sub-Agent at Glasgow) called that day to think there was such a place to help me. It was just wonderful to think I had friends I had never know before. Excuse me for not writing sooner, as I put it off for to get someone to write for me and I would be waiting yet so I though I would try and write myself. Thanking you once again.

Aberdour

Location of mine: Seafront

Date of first agency: 1911

First Honorary Agent: Mr John Connel and James Drysdale HMCG

St Monans

Date of first agency: 1897

First Honorary Agent: Messrs Mackintosh & Watson Anstruther

Pittenweem

Dundee

Arbroath

Montrose

Location of mine: Near Ball House, High St

Date of first agency: 1839

First Honorary Agent: Captain Wilson RN

Gourdon

Stonehaven and Catterline

Aberdeen

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr John Humphrey

Gold Medal 1853

Duncan Forbes Ritchie, Steward of the Duke of Sutherland. For rescuing and being the means of rescuing 19 lives of the crew and passengers of the steamer Duke of Sutherland of Aberdeen wrecked on the rocks off the pier at Aberdeen, 1st April 1853, remaining on the deck to effect the saving of the lives, after all had quitted at the imminent risk of his own.

EMILE ROBIN 1881/2

Captain D McDonald and Chief Officer J Gunning of the barque Alumbagh of Liverpool for the rescue of the crew of the barque Carnatic of Aberdeen. Report to Mr J Herron, the owner of the barque Alumbagh, from Captain D McDonald. I have to report that during our homeward passage on 5th August 1883, in Lat.35 S., Long. 25 E., we rescued the crew of the British barque Carnatic under the following circumstances:- At 9 am on the 4th August it was blowing a hard gale from WNW with a terrific sea, when we saw the Carnatic to windward of us, flying signals of distress. He bore down on us, and signalled that his vessel was sinking, his pumps broken, and three feet of water in the hold, and that all his boats were destroyed. He requested us to send a boat to rescue them. We had suffered ourselves considerably during the gale, having lost our headrails, part of the main bulwarks, and everything movable about the decks; our cargo had shifted a little, so that we were lying with our waterways under water; the ship was leaking freely, requiring the crew pretty constantly at the pumps. I signalled the Carnatic that it was then impossible for a boat to live in such a sea, but best for us to stand to the northward, where we ought to get the sea more moderate, and in the meantime that I would stand by him. The weather continued the same during the day, and thinking it best to get a crew ready for the boat in case of the worst, I called the crew aft and told them the facts of the case, and asked for volunteers to go in the boat. They thought I was going to put the boat out then, and, at the same time, were well aware that it would be almost certain destruction to attempt it; yet, to their credit, they volunteered to a man, the Chief Officer (Mr Gunning) requesting to have charge of the boat. I then requested Mr Gunning, to pick a crew, and by signals from the vessel, found that they might keep her afloat till morning. Agreed to show a light to each during the night. The gale continued with unabated force till near daylight, when it began to moderate a little, and the sea had gone down considerably, but still blowing hard, with a heavy sea. We closed with the vessel, when they signalled that she was getting very helpless. I therefore decided to launch our boat at once. The crew consisted of the following, who, in my opinion, are deserving of all praise:- Mr J Gunning, Chief Officer, H McKee, Third Officer, Robt. Kaetz, AB, Thos. Haynes, AB, J Freeman, AB and H Leigh, Apprentice. At 8 am we succeeded in launching the lifeboat safely, and she behaved splendidly. At noon, after three trips, all the crew had been got on board (nineteen all told, including the Captain’s wife), without any accident to any person, but we got our own good boat stove in whilst taking her on board. At 1.45 pm (one hour and three-quarters after the last of the crew got on board of us) the vessel sank, distant from us at the time about 5 miles. I need hardly say that we all tried to make them as comfortable as possible. We had them on board for 21 days, when we landed them at St Helena.

Peterhead

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr A Robertson

EMILE ROBIN 1993/4

Captain Nolan and Chief Officer McGillivray of the Suffolk Mariner for the rescue of the crew of the fv Evening Star. In the early hours of 4 December 1993, the Evening Star was reported taking water in severe weather 45 miles north-east of Peterhead. In gale force winds, rough seas and a 20ft swell the vessel soon lost all power due to the rising floodwater. The skipper decided to abandon ship, sending 3 of his 6 man crew in the first liferaft. Two helicopters had arrived on scene but the Sea King had to depart with engine failure while the Dauphin lacked winching facilities. Among the 4 vessels which responded to the distress call, it was agreed that the Suffolk Mariner with its lower freeboard would rescue survivors from the liferafts, whilst the Star Vega and Highland Pride would attempt to provide a lee. The rescue of the 3 survivors from the first liferaft was quickly accomplished without any complications. By the time the remaining 3 crew members had taken to the second liferaft, the Dauphin had returned from escorting the Sea King and could observe events in detail. As there was a long rope trailing in the water upwind from the liferaft, the Master of the Suffolk Mariner had to approach from the downwind side. This caused severe problems for both survivors and rescuers as the heavy seas pushed the liferaft against the side of the ship and broke over the crew in their exposed position on the main desk of the Suffolk Mariner. A line was passed to the liferaft and the Master then skilfully turned his ship to port around the liferaft to bring it into his own lee. The other 2 ships also manoeuvred to provide more effective shelter. With careful timing the deck crew were then able to snatch the survivors one by one from the liferaft as it reached the top of a wave. This was a successful rescue in extremely hazardous conditions. The Masters and crews of all 3 vessels each played a vital role, but Captain Nolan, the Master of Suffolk Mariner, and his Chief Officer, Mr McGillivray, in particular deserve great credit. Their deck crew was in considerable danger as the main deck was washed by breaking seas. They showed cool professionalism and exceptional seamanship in manoeuvring their ship in such a way as to minimise that danger and in achieving a successful rescue. Their outstanding actions fully merit this award. Letters of Commendation have been sent to the Masters of the other two vessels.

Fraserburgh

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr Robert Stephen

1852

The Silver Medal was awarded to Mr Matthew Rickinson for saving the lives of the Captain and 3 crew of the schooner Celebrity of Fraserburgh. (No further details available).

LADY SWAYTHLING 1996/7

Coxswain A Sutherland, RNLI Lifeboat Fraserburgh in assisting fv Hopecrest. On 16 February 1997, Hope Crest, which had been fishing with another vessel 50 miles NE of Fraserburgh, was reported to be taking in water. A RAF Sea King helicopter made several attempts to lower a pump to the fishing vessel but, due to the extreme weather condition, was unable to put it on board. The wind was reported to be 40 kts from the south-east, sea height 40ft. At 0645, the Fraserburgh lifeboat, under the command of Coxswain Sutherland, with two portable pumps embarked, cleared the harbour and proceeded at full speed through ever worsening sea and swell towards the casualty. About two hours later, the lifeboat found the Hope Crest steering a south-westerly course at slow speed using engine pumps, hand pumps and men with buckets to try and keep the water level from rising. Coxwain Sutherland requested the Hope Crest to turn onto a northerly course, which he assessed would give the best chance of success, and then took up position on her port beam and edged slowly towards her. Both boats were being picked up by huge swells and thrown down the face of them so that the speed and heading of the lifeboat had to be adjusted constantly in order to avoid a collision. A bag containing the suction hoses was thrown across as the boats came together but it was impossible to transfer the pump as their decks were continuously at different levels. Coxswain Sutherland had to turn away sharply at this point and the chance was lost. As the lifeboat closed for a second attempt, Coxswain Sutherland had to go full astern as the swell threatened to throw the lifeboat onto the casualty as she rolled to port. As the casualty rolled back to starboard, the decks of both vessels came level for a moment and the lifeboat crew managed to pass the portable pump across, with its engine already running, enabling the crew of the Hope Crest to set it to work immediately. The Hope Crest resumed a south-westerly course towards Fraserburgh with the lifeboat in close attendance. In time, the weather began to moderate, the pump reduced the water level sufficiently for the Hope Crest to increase speed and both vessels arrived safely in Fraserburgh at 0230. Coxswain Sutherland and his crew showed commendable skill and determination in the conduct of this hazardous rescue in extremely adverse weather. The successful transfer of the pump in conditions which defeated the rescue helicopter was an outstanding feat of seamanship and boathandling by Coxswain Sutherland.

Macduff

Whitehills

Portsoy

Cullen

Findochty

Location of mine: At harbour

Date of first agency: 1970

First Honorary Agent: Mr James W Massie

Buckie

Location of mine: At harbour

Date of first agency: 1848

First Honorary Agent: Rev W Chrystie

Lossiemouth

Location of mine: On harbour near office

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Lt J Tod RN

EMILE ROBIN 1953/4
Skipper William Imlach and Second Hand Andrew West of the trawler Loch Awe for the rescue of the crew of the mb Caronia on 31st January. On Saturday 31st January, the Caronia was steaming from Wick to Lossiemouth after landing her catch. During the morning a heavy sea struck the vessel and washed overboard seine nets and ropes which were lying on deck. These fouled the propeller, rendering the vessel out of command. The Caronia got in touch by radio with the Loch Awe which came to her assistance. During this time the wind was steadily increasing to hurricane force, the seas were the worst that had been known by experienced skippers and visibility was down to a few yards owing to snow and sleet. A second heavy sea completely smashed the port side of Caronia’s deckhouse, and at 4 pm, when the Loch Awe approached, she was sinking. Taking his vessel round to windward, Skipper Imlach let the gale drift the trawler against the Caronia and called to the crew to jump aboard. By an excellent and daring piece of seamanship Skipper Imlach effected the rescue of a crew who would otherwise have had no chance of survival in mountainous seas with darkness approaching.
EDWARD AND MAISIE LEWIS 1980/1
Flight Lieutenant M J Lakey and the crew of ‘D’ Flight 202 Squadron RAF Lossiemouth for the rescue of the crew and passengers of mv Finneagle. During the night of 2 October 1980, the Finneagle transmitted a mayday message from its position 50 miles north-west of Orkney. The vessel had suffered an explosion and was on fire amidships, with 22 persons, including 3 women and 2 children, on board. The first standby had already been scrambled and although D Flight had no requirement to maintain a second standby helicopter during the hours of darkness, it was decided to assemble an off-duty crew to assist. Flight Lieutenant Lakey volunteered to captain the second crew and took off at 2350 to go to the assistance of the stricken vessel. The crew consisted of Flight Lieutenant TWM Campbell, Winch Operator, Sergeant RJ Bragg, Winchman, Flight Lieutenant DA Simpson, Co-Pilot and Squadron Leader HS Grant, a RAF medical officer, who volunteered to accompany the flight. The conditions at the scene of the incident were appalling, with a mean wind speed of 50 kts gusting to 70 kts and a very high sea state giving wave heights of 60ft. The first Sea King had been forced to abandon its attempts to put a line on the vessel’s deck and a civilian S61 helicopter, after making several similar attempts, was also forced to withdraw from the scene. The Finneagle’s Captain had assembled the crew and passengers on the vessel’s foredeck. He was forced to maintain an into wind course because of the severe weather conditions and to prevent the fire and resulting fumes from reaching those on board. Flt Lt Lakey had no choice other than to attempt to position his helicopter for winching from the vessel’s port bow, despite the fact that this would require him to manoeuvre very close to a foremast and a high forward superstructure. The Finneagle had lost electrical power and the only illumination was from the helicopter’s own lights and the glow of the fire. An attempt was made to lower the Winchman on to the foredeck, but because the vessel was pitching and rolling extremely violently, FL Lt Lakey’s efforts to maintain a steady hover caused the Winchman to swing through a dangerously wide arc. The crew therefore decided to employ the hi-line winching technique which obviates the necessity for the helicopter to maintain an absolutely precise overhead position. The prevailing conditions were so bad that it took 20 minutes to achieve an accurate positioning of the hi-line on the Finneagle’s deck. Two rescue strops were attached to the winch hook and as the first survivors were about to be lifted, a massive waved pitched the ship so close to the aircraft that immediate evasive action was necessary. By exceptional skill, not only the aircraft but also 2 female survivors, each clutching a child, were saved. After lifting 8 survivors, the crew learned that the vessel’s cargo was highly dangerous and included a consignment of carbide. The vessel was well on fire, with intermittent explosions taking place, and the remaining 14 survivors were experiencing difficulty in breathing, due to the fumes from the burning cargo. At this moment, the Finneagles’s Captain radioed that he considered the vessel to be in imminent danger of sinking. Fl Lt Lakey rapidly assessed the situation and having discussed it together with his crew, decided to carry on with the rescue, undeterred by the obvious danger. The remaining 14 crew members were then successfully winched to safety, despite the necessity of renewing and repositioning the hi-line twice during the winching period. Continuing to display inestimable skill, Fl Lt Lakey flew his aircraft to safety with 27 people on board.
EDWARD AND MAISIE LEWIS 1998/9
This award is presented to Squadron Leader Fauchon and crew of RAF Sea King helicopter ‘Rescue 137’ for the rescue of fourteen of the crew from the chemical tanker Multitank Ascania on fire in the Pentland Firth on 19 March 1999. Shortly after 0300 on 19 March 1999, the Multitank Ascania reported that she was stopped about 3 miles northwest of Stroma in the Pentland Firth with a fire in the engine room. The fire extinguishing system had been activated. The vessel’s cargo of vinyl acetate was highly explosive. The Coastguard immediately requested two lifeboats, a helicopter and a tug to assist. The SAR helicopter ‘Rescue 137’ from RAF Lossiemouth under the command of Squadron Leader Fauchon arrived at 0425 and found the vessel rolling heavily in gale force winds and a six metre swell, in danger of running aground on a lee shore little over one mile away. In these conditions the Pilot had considerable difficulty maintaining a steady hover. The Winchman carefully monitored the relative movement of ship and aircraft and with exceptional skill and judgement managed to deploy the hauling-in line onto the deck of the vessel at the first attempt. Aware of the imminent risk of explosion the Winchman nevertheless opted to be winched down onto the deck in order to ensue the swift and orderly evacuation of the crew. Fourteen crewmen were lifted off but the Master insisted he remain on board. As the Winchman was being recovered, only swift action by the Winch Operator prevented possible injury when the Winchman’s leg was caught in the ship’s struture. The survivors were landed at Wick where the helicopter remained on standby. Throughout the helicpoter winching operation, the Thurso lifeboat under the command of Coxswain William Farquhar had been standing by. At 0545 the tug Eimar arrived on scene and the lifeboat assisted the tug to pick up the berthing line which the Master of Multitank Ascania put over the side. The tug then began to tow the casualty bow to bow in a north-easterly direction until 0640 the tow parted and the tug Master reported there was nothing further he could do. The casualty now began to drift dangerously towards Dunnet Head only 3 cables away and the Master was asked to let go his anchor. Coxswain Farquhar manoeuvred the lifeboat close to the casualty and managed to pick up the floating mooring rope and establish a tow. Unfortunately, with the casualty’s anchor already let go Coxswain Farquhar had to use full power on both engines in order to keep the vessel clear of Dunnet Head. In the rough seas the violent motion of the lifeboat on several occasions lifted the propellers clear of the water when the stretch of the towrope then caused the lifeboat to be catapulted back towards the casualty. But Coxswain Farquhar persevered declining the Eimar’s offer to take over the tow, until the casualty was well clear of danger and the anchor was beginning to hold. With the casualty in a relatively safe position, but still on fire, the Master was lifted off by the Coastguard helicopter from Stornoway, and rescue operations were then suspended until it was safe for a fire and salvage team to board the vessel the following day. The helicopter crew was: Sqd Ldr Fauchon, Sqd Ldr Ardley, Flt Lt Pilliner and Flt Sgt Forsyth.
EDWARD AND MAISIE LEWIS 2007/8
To the crew of ‘Rescue 137’, a Sea King helicopter from D Flight 202 Squadron RAF Lossiemouth consisting of Squadron Leader Pete Richardson (Aircraft Captain), Flight Lieutenant John Darlow (Co-pilot), Flight Sergeant Dave Hutt (Radar and Winch Operator) and Master Air Crewman Duncan Tripp (Winchman). On 12 March 2008 ‘Rescue 137’, was scrambled to rescue a severely ill crewman onboard the Russian fishing vessel, Semyon Lapshenkov, some 200 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, at the extreme range of the aircraft. Fuel planning was critical and, prior to departure from Lossiemouth, the crew instructed engineers to remove as much non-essential equipment as possible from the helicopter in order to permit the maximum possible amount of fuel to be carried. Nevertheless, the crew calculated that they might only be able to remain with the Semyon Lapshenkov for twenty minutes. ‘Rescue 137’ departed Lossiemouth, routed west to Benbecula airfield, refuelled and then headed west at low-level, but in the strong headwind could only achieve an over water speed of 60kts which gave an en route time of three hours and twenty minutes. When she reached the vessel, it was dark, there was no moon and it was raining heavily. The Semyon Lapshenkov was pitching and rolling violently in sea state 7 to 8 and 40kt winds and the only viable winching area was surrounded by numerous obstructions. With the casualty’s poor condition and only limited fuel available, ‘Rescue 137’ was under pressure to expedite the casevac. The atrocious conditions meant that the crew had difficulty establishing a safe position over the vessel and that there was a high degree of risk involved in transferring the Winchman, Master Air Crewman Duncan Tripp, using the rescue hoist. As he neared the deck, the violent motion of the vessel caused the hoist cable to become entangled with the superstructure and there was a real risk that either the helicopter would become attached to the vessel or that the hoist cable would have to be ‘cut’ in a position that would release the Winchman into the sea with little likelihood of his subsequent rescue. Due to the acute motion of the vessel Master Air Crewman Tripp was injured by impact with a crane adjacent to the winching area. Although the Pilot and Winch Operator were operating to their limits, from the end of the hoist cable the Winchman communicated that he wanted them to continue to try and place him on the deck and this was eventually achieved. The casualty was rapidly prepared for extraction and recovered onboard the aircraft which then departed for Stornoway Hospital. The casualty had suffered a myocardial infarction; he underwent emergency surgery and his life was saved.

Hopeman

Burghead

Fortrose

Inverness

Date of first agency: 1842

First Honorary Agent: Mr A Hood

EDWARD AND MAISIE LEWIS 1984/5 Captains David Kinnell and Allan Dent and crew of a Bond shuttle helicopter for the rescue of six survivors of the fv Whyalla. On Friday 16 November, in storm force 10 conditions the Inverness registered fishing vessel Whyalla was taking water and in danger of sinking 10 miles north east of the BP Forties field. The BP Forties in-field shuttle helicopter, operated by Bond Helicopters, crewed by Captain David Kinnell, Captain Allan Dent, Winch Operator Alex Knight and Winchman John Kelly, the latter a BP Heliclerk volunteer on his first live mission; was alerted in readiness for SAR. Five minutes after the initial call, Whyalla foundered in tempestuous seas, leaving the 6-man crew adrift in a liferaft. All radio contact was then lost. The duty helicopter co-ordinator, David Keys, immediately contacted RAF Nimrod Watchdog 2, on routine patrol. Rescue vessels and all ships in the area were alerted and the shuttle helicopter was scrambled for an SAR mission. Co-ordination was hampered because the sinking vessel had given a confusing Decca/geographical position, but a tripartite educated guess by Forties Alpha, the shuttle helicopter and Smit Lloyd 120, who had intercepted the mayday call, established a rescue datum on which all groups converged. Fifteen minutes later, the Nimrod aircraft and Smit Lloyd 120 sighted a red flare and the Nimrod assumed the role of ‘On Scene Commander’. Shortly after this, the shuttle helicopter spotted a liferaft; the Winchman was lowered, but the raft was empty. Some 4 minutes later, a second liferaft was sighted and the Winchman made 5 descents to rescue survivors. As the fifth man was being pulled clear, the liferaft overturned, trapping the sixth man underneath. The Winchman was thrown clear and as he was drifting away he had to inflate his life jacket to stay afloat. The Winchman was recovered while the sixth man righted the liferaft. As the hi-line weak link had broken, a second hi-line was rigged to recover the sixth survivor. The weather conditions were appalling, with seas averaging 10 metres. The helicopter reported maximum wave heights of 18 metres (60ft) every third or so wave. The Pilot of this commercial aircraft actually had to lift over the wave crests and descend again into the troughs, as he had only a limited length of winch wire paid out. The professionalism and remarkable flying of the Pilot and his crew ensured a very well co-ordinated and successful rescue in hazardous conditions. Moreover, the exceptional courage and determination displayed by Winchman John Kelly under these dangerous conditions are especially worthy of recognition, particularly so, as this was his first operational mission.

Lairg

Invergordon

Wick

Thurso

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr David Robeson

LADY SWAYTHLING 2004/5 Second Coxswain Duncan (Dougie) Munro – RNLI, Thurso lifeboat station in the rescue of the vessel Arnoytrans. At 1320 on 27 August 2004 the Norwegian registered live-fish carrier Arnoytrans, on passage through the Pentland Firth en route for Scrabster, reported that her steering gear had failed.

At 1330 the Thurso lifeboat, RNLB Taylors, a Severn Class vessel, left her berth in Scrabster harbour with Coxswain Munro in command and seven crew onboard. As the lifeboat cleared Dunnet Head speed was reduced progressively to 10 kts as the full effects of the west-northwesterly storm force 10 winds and 10 metre seas, produced by wind against the west going 4 kt tidal stream, were felt. Visibility was less than half a mile.

At 1430 Arnoytrans was identified lying beam on to the confused and breaking 10-12 metre seas in the tidal race know as the Merry Men of Mey. This is a notorious tidal race, which in a westerly sea becomes very violent with large waves forming suddenly and from varying directions making them difficult to anticipate or counter. Coxswain Munro decided to take the casualty in tow. His skilful boat handling combined with the efforts of the two crew on the after deck, resulted in the tow being passed and fully connected in less than 20 minutes. Slow headway was made at 3-4 kts in a north-westerly direction. Then, at 1520, in particularly heavy seas, the towline parted. At 1550 the lifeboat made an approach to the Arnoytrans, which was lying beam on to the wind in a very confused sea.

On the first attempt a huge sea broke over the lifeboat submerging the after deck and two crewmen who managed to hold on. The second attempt proved successful, the tow was reconnected and the lifeboat held the casualty head to sea making slow westerly progress out of the tidal race until they were able to head south-southwest towards Scrabster. At 1740 the towline parted again but at 1752 the Master of the Arnoytrans reported that power had been restored and he could proceed on his own. The RNLB Taylors escorted her into harbour. This service was carried out over 4 hours in some of the worst conditions that can be encountered in the Pentland Firth. The Master of the Arnoytrans described the seas as some of the worst he had ever seen, ‘like running into a wall’ and was of the opinion that without the lifeboat’s aid there would have been a high probability of his vessel being lost when the tide turned and wind and tide would have driven her towards the rocks.

Kirkwall

Location of mine: Pier head

Date of first agency: 1841

First Honorary Agent: Mr James Wall

Lerwick

Date of first agency: 1840

First Honorary Agent: Mr JR Duncan

Where We Operate – Throughout the UK

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society helps people all over the UK from its main headquarters in Chichester, West Sussex, and through a national volunteer network of 200 Honorary Agents. The Society also has an Honorary Agent and a few beneficiaries in Malta.

Our Honorary Agents are situated mainly in port areas and they are actively involved in giving fundraising support and/or acting as caseworkers visiting former mariners and their dependants in need.

Our help and support to mariners is not confined to just the port areas. If you have a need and there is no local Honorary Agent, or you are unable to make contact, then call us at Central Office on 01243 787761 or 789329 between 0915-1630, or e-mail grants@shipwreckedmariners.org.uk

The UK’s coastline is also home to our iconic red collecting mines. Originally more than 200 were donated by the Admiralty in recognition of the Society’s unique contribution supporting seafarers, their families, as well as others shipwrecked, during both World Wars. Unfortunately the ravages of time and the weather have reduced their number. There are still around 50 in operation so if you spot one on your travels, please stop and make a donation. We are always grateful for donations of any size as they are key to what we do and enable us to continue providing financial or practical support to former fishermen and mariners across the country.

How to use the map

This map is an extensive source of historical information, including details of Skill and Gallantry Awards presented by the Society since 1851.

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Map Key

red-new – Honorary Agent and Collecting Mine

yellow – Honorary Agent

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