Emile Robin 1919/20
Emile Robin award made to Captain WH Smith and Chief Officer GA Kirk of the ss Toronto of Hull for rescuing the crew of the British schooner General Knox of St John’s, Newfoundland, sinking in the North Atlantic on 17 October 1919 in dangerous seas. Silver Medals were also awarded to 17 of the crew.
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.”
Silver Medals along with small pecuniary gifts was awarded to Mr Stephen Wilkinson, Mr GW Briscoe, Mr J Fitzgerald, Mr RA Fulton, Mr A Malabar, Mr G O’Gorman
*, Mr H Owen, Mr J Owen, Mr JT Owen, Mr P Rodger *, Mr H Sheldon *, Mr JC Simms, Mr P Starkey*, Mr J Steele *, Mr J Unthank, Mr N Watson, and Mr O Williams*. (* Posthumous awards. They lost their lives effecting the rescue). The awards were publicly presented at the Liverpool Sailors’ Home by MajorJ Geoffrey Beazley.