John Hurley Coastguard
John Hurley 1839-1923, Career Summary
1858 Aug – Ordinary Seaman HMS Marlborough
1859 Aug – signed up for 10 years
1861 Feb- Able seaman
1862 Oct – Leading Seaman
1864 Aug - Promoted to 2 Cap Man Top/SGI Ce
1864 Dec – HMS Cambridge
1866 Jun – HMS Lord Clyde
1866 Nov – demoted to Able seaman Lord Clyde **
1866 Nov – HMS Ocean
1867 May - Promoted to 2 Cap Fre Top
1868 Apr – Promoted to Cap Fre top
1869 Aug – signs up for a further 10 years
1871 Jan – Transferred to HM Coastguard Great Crosby and Sefton as Boatman
1873 Jan – HMS Resistance as Boatman
1873 Jun – HMS Caledonia as Boatman
1875 May – HMS Achilles as Commander Boatman
1875 July – Transferred to HM Coastguard Amlurch
1877 May – Transferred to HM Coastguard Holyhead
1878 Apr – HMS Resistance as Petty Officer 1st Class
1878 Aug – HM Coastguard Holyhead Commander Boatman
1879 Oct – Promoted to Chief Boatman HM Coastguard Carnarvon
1880 Jun – HMS Defence – Chief Boatman
1880 Dec – Promoted to Chief Boatman in Charge
1881 Jan– HMS Warrior as Chief Boatman in Charge
1881 Mar- Promoted to Chief Officer
1881 Mar – Transferred to HM Coastguard Gerrans Bay as Chief Officer
1881 May - HMS Hercules
1881 Sep – Transferred to HM Coastguard Belleisle, bay of Lough
1885 Oct – HMS Coastguard Oysterhaven
1894 Sep – Pensioned off
John Hurley, my Great-Grandfather was born in Queenstown, Cork in 1839. His wife, Margaret Cashman was also from Queenstown. They married in 1870 and she accompanied him on all his land Coastguard assignments, living in Sefton, Holyhead, Carnarvon, Gerrans Bay, Bay of Lough and finally Oysterhaven. They had six children who were born during this peripatetic life and moved with them. They all grew up taking on professional careers with the three boys in the Navy and the girls a teacher and two nuns.
His service record was impeccable except for one incident. In 1866 his career took a backward step. He was on board the Lord Clyde when a mutiny broke out. He was not one of the instigators, but the crew refused to identify who was involved and many, like him, were castigated. “This man having been concerned with the mutinous behaviour on board the Lord Clyde 12th Sept 1866, is ineligible for a good conduct medal”. See note ** below.
When he was finally pensioned off in 1894, our understanding is that the family continued to live in the Coastguard House in Oysterhaven which is now derelict having been destroyed by fire in 1921. By 1901 all the children had left home and John and Margaret had moved back to Cork
* Abbreviations in Career Summary.
2 Cap Man Top - 2nd Captain of the Main-top, a rate equivalent to a modern junior Petty Officer. This man would be one of the ships elite seaman working high up in the rigging and directing other 'topmen' under the Captain of the Main-top on the main mast.
SGI Ce - Seaman Gunner 1st Class, a rate awarded to men who acted as gun captains directing the firing of a single cannon.
Cap Fre Top - Captain of the Fore-top, a similar position to Captain of Main-top but this time controlling the men in the Foremast.
POIC - Principle Officer 1st Class when used to describe a Coastguard rate, and Petty Officer 1st Class as a Navy rate, but equivalent.
**Note: newspapers reported that the crew were unhappy – both with Captain Dew and particularly with the lack of shore leave granted. On 10 Sep a court-martial was held on a seaman named Marshall on a charge of striking a ship’s corporal; he was found guilty; sentenced to be flogged – 48 lashes – and then imprisoned for one year in Prison. This resulted in ‘disturbances’; when the morning watch was ordered to wash decks, they refused and holystones (block of sandstone used to scrub the decks) were thrown at the door of the Captain’s cabin.
The Port Admiral then came onboard to address the ships company and assure them that any grievances would be heard; shore leave was granted. Two men were subsequently arrested; one sentenced to 21 days detention and in November several Petty Officers were dis-rated and others transferred to other ships, because they had refused to pick out the ringleaders of the disturbances. Also noted that the Royal Marines detachment had not been involved in the mutinous behaviour.
Newspapers also reported that a letter had been sent to the Lords of the Admiralty complaining of the regime onboard Lord Clyde; it was stated that the letter was dismissed as it was evidently written by “insolent harpies” who ran a grog-shop.