Emile Robin 1953
Emile Robin award to Skipper John Allan Whitelam and Second Hand Stanley Jones of the trawler Yardley for the rescue of six of the crew of the Norwegian fv Arvid and five of the crew of the Norwegian fv Herdla on 11th April 1953.
The Arvid was returning from a fishing trip on 11th April 1953, when she encountered a storm off the West Coast of Norway. The gale was of exceptional force and Arvid was soon in difficulties. Rails and lifeboats were washed overboard and the vessel developed a bad leak. The Herdla, which was in the vicinity, although unable to render assistance to the stricken ship, sent out distress messages. This message was picked up at 1030 by the Yardley which was approaching Svion on her way to the Norwegian coast fishing grounds. Yardley immediately altered course to the position indicated by Herdla. No trace of the ship could be found at the position given, but eventually a wireless signal was received and a bearing obtained, and Arvis was finally located some 14 miles away. The weather was worsening and the Arvid which had received a severe buffeting was making water fast. Skipper Whitelam, manoeuvred his vessel alongside the Norwegian craft so that Yardley lay broadside to the storm in the heavy seas. The crew of Yardley, wearing lifebelts and roped to the ship for safety on account of the heavy seas being shipped, stood by to assist the six Norwegian members of the crew who jumped on to the Yardley from their sinking ship. Soon after this rescue had been carried out, at about 1600 hrs, Yardley received a further radio message from Herdla requesting assistance. Yardley immediately made all speed to Herdla’s positon, which was reached 4 hours later. The distressed vessel was shipping heavy seas and was leaking badly, but Skipper Whitelam again carried out the difficult manoeuvre of bringing his ship alongside the other vessel and in the same manner as had previously been employed, the Herdla’s crew of five were taken safely on board Yardley. Herdla sank only a quarter of an hour later. The weather was still bad and Yardley made her way to Lodingen, where she arrived on the night of 13th April.