Five Coastguards Drowned. 1869


Five Coastguards Drowned. Inquest on John Scott, Coastguard 1869.

On Monday an inquest was held at Dungannon on view of the body of John Scott, Chief Boatman of Dunmore station, who was found drowned on the previous Saturday on the strand at Duncannon.

Mathew Shea, acting Chief Officer at Arthurstown, identified the body, and deposed that on the morning of the 29th January deceased, along with four other Coastguards named respectively William Rogers, carpenter, John Baldwin, commissioned boatman; Edward Nash, boatman; and Henry Stewart, boatman left Arthurstown for Dunmore, Co.Waterford, about 10 o’clock in a lifeboat built at Cowes, Isle of Wight, which had arrived at Arthurstown the previous evening, for the use of the Dunmore station. At the time they left the weather was very unsettled, the wind being W.S.W. Witness told Scott that he thought it was not prudent to start. He replied that he would try it, and said that he was Chief Boatman in charge for 18 years and was well acquainted with his business. They soon after left. Shea stated that both Scott and the other men appeared to be perfectly sober and steady at the time.

Patrick Rogers, pilot at the Dunmore station, stated that on Friday, 29th ult. He was sailing in a cutter close to the mouth of Waterford harbour, about the hour of 11 o’clock in the morning, and saw a boat abreast of a place called Broomhill; he thought it to be a ship’s boat looking for a place to land, and made for her; on coming alongside the boat he sung out that he would give them a tow out of the sea; there was no reply, but they beckoned as if they did not require assistance – the wind at the time was W.S.W. the latter then hove to expecting the boat would come up; the men did not do so, but pulled down through the sea abreast of Crean Head; witness stated that he then went below, and in a short time heard some of the men on deck sing out that the sea would “do” them; on coming up he saw one of the men out of the boat in the water, the cutter being at the time about 300 yards from the boat, and on making to it to render assistance, Roger said that the cutter became unmanageable, and they were obliged to wear ship; he then saw a sea capsize the boat, but it was impossible to do anything for them; Scott was steering the boat at this time.

The jury returned the following verdict :- “That John Scott was found dead on the strand of Duncannon, Co.Waterford, on 30th January 1869; and that deceased lost his life by drowning through the accidental capsizing of a lifeboat in the river Suir, on the 29th January, while crossing from Arthurstown, Co.Wexford to Dunmore, Co.Waterford; and we are of opinion that deceased acted with bad judgement in proceeding to Dunmore, contrary to the advice of the officer in charge in Arthurstown, together with refusing the assistance of the pilot of the cutter ‘Sea Gull’ when offered; And we are also of opinion that the boat should not have gone out without being provided with lifebelts”


Reference; Wexford Independent Saturday 6 February 1869.





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