Emile Robin 1918

Posted: 09 February 2017 Posted In: Our History

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EMILE ROBIN award was presented to Capt Arthur Unwin and CO William H Roberts of the ss Lord Erne of Belfast for the rescue of the crew of 13 of the ss Percesien of Quebec, 9 Feb 1918.

Captain Arthur Unwin and Chief Officer William Hunter Roberts of the ss Lord Erne of Belfast for the rescue of the crew of 13 of the ss Percesien of Quebec, 9 February 1918. The following letter was written by the Officers and crew of the ss Percesien to Captain A Unwin, after their rescue:-

Dear Sir, We the undersigned officers and crew of the steamship Percesien, of Quebec, desire to offer you and your gallant officers and men our most hearty thanks for the noble manner in which you stood by our sinking ship, and finally succeeded in effecting our rescue from what seemed certain death. To the brave men who, in the height of storm and thick snow squalls, did not flinch from launching and manning the lifeboat on that night of peril, our thanks are especially due and most gratefully offered.

Words cannot sufficiently express the deep appreciation we entertain for their timely and unselfish response to our signals of distress. Under a merciful God, we owe our lives to the daring and skill of Mr WH Roberts, Ist Officer, Geo Callander and J Hart, 1st & 2nd Gunners, J McAlister, 4th Engineer, RN Turner, apprentice, and Chow Wah, Chinese sailor, who volunteered to come to our rescue. Their conduct reflects credit on their nobility of nature and was worthy of the best traditions of the race.

They have added another chapter to the annals of brave deeds performed at sea. When from our fast settling ship we sent up rockets in the hope that some passing ship might see them, it is little hope we entertained of so ready a response or one in time to be of any help. Our two remaining lifeboats, one of them in a damaged condition were then being got ready as a last resort to be launched at daybreak, should our ship remain afloat so long. How welcome then was the sight of your ship can readily be imagined as we hung between hope and despair. When your signals told us that you were launching a boat to come to our assistance, we could scarcely believe it. The darkness of the night was intensified by driving snow squalls, which added to the height of the wind and rough seas, made the launching of a lifeboat a most perilous undertaking, and it seemed impossible that a boat could be launched or that she could approach the side of our ship without disaster. That this was done without mishap reflects the greatest credit on the seamanship and daring of your gallant officers and men, and to them and to you in this insufficient, humble way, our most sincere thanks are most gratefully offered. We desire to express our regrets for the loss of your last remaining lifeboat, which was put out to us and could not again be hoisted on board and as a consequence was lost. The loss of this boat is a most serious one to you, as we approach the danger zone, and leave you in the necessity of having to improvise rafts from what materials may be at hand.

The Canadian Government recognised the courage shown by the officers and crew of ss Lord Erne by presenting silver cups to the Master, Chief Officer, 4th Engineer, Apprentice and the two Gunners.

Posted In: Our History