Robin Hood’s Bay
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.”