The Coastguard Cutter Vol1 No10

October 2003
Vol 1 - No.10.

The "Lady Margaret"

†|M@il Me | Visit the Website | Forum |

Beacon Hill - Dalkey, Co.Dublin

Dalkey CG Station

Called Monalto bounded by avenue or road Nerano. Five cottages containing each 5 rooms. Houses erected by the Crown in 1863. Sold to Dalkey Urban District for £600 in 1911.


By a road to Falmore village.

Officers house contains 2 sitting rooms, 4 bedrooms, kitchen etc. Four cottages of 5 rooms each. Watch-tower of 2 rooms. Boat-house of 30ft. by 14ft. These houses were erected by the Crown in 1868.

Dalkey CG Station

"The harbour was extremely favourable to the commerce of the town, vessels could lie in safety under the shelter of the neighbouring island, by which they were protected from the North East winds, and from the depth of water they could sail at any hour. There is a Coastguard Station the limit of which extends from Dalkey harbour to Irishtown." (4)

"Dalkey Navy Statue"

Is this statue erected on Beacon Hill near the Dalkey Coastguard station a monument by a local resident to a long Naval career across the Seven Seas of the World?

Not really, a local resident living on Beacon Hill manufactured various 6ft. statues for commercial use at the end of the 19thCentury and just fancied this remarkable one to adorn the grounds of his own house.

I would be glad to receive any coastguard information, stories or general snippets and pass it on in to our readers.

Dear Friend,

Welcome to the October edition of
"The Coastguard Cutter".

Two main topics this month;
†Pay, Pension & Conditions and Dalkey CG Station snippets, and as usual a few bits and pieces you may find of interest.



Joining the Coastguard Service, for a married man, had a lot of attractions, living in his own home with his family would have been better than the hardness of life in the sea-going Navy with its long periods away from home.


The 155 ton brig MANSFIELD was wrecked at Iniskea on 26-11-1834. She was abandoned by the crew north of Iniskea and boarded by south Iniskea men who then fought a battle with the coastguard under Captain Nugent. The vessel was driven into a narrow rocky cove on Iniskea and stripped. The master and his eight crew were wrecked in their lifeboat between Erris Head and Broadhaven. They were robbed by the locals. (1)


Before 1849 the Coastguards themselves had started a Compassionate Fund from their own contributions. Every man paid sixpence a month into the fund and every officer one shilling, the subscriptions being collected twice a year. In return for this the widow of a rating received a maximum of 25 plus 1 for every child under 15 years of age, while the widow of an officer received 50 and 30s. for every child. The fund soon got on its feet and, after it had been running for four years, had a very considerable balance in hand. (2)


The Coastguards often complained bitterly of the hard nature of the service. According to routine they left the watch house at five in the morning and returned at seven in the evening fourteen hours without a break and generally without shelter. They were forbidden to leave their guards even if they were wet through, and for resting they only had what was known as a "one-legged-donkey"- a stool with a single leg, on which the coastguard was permitted to rest, knowing perfectly well that if he dozed off he would capsize at once. With long periods of service of this sort it is not surprising that swollen legs and break-downs in health were frequent, yet as soon as a man was laid up one-third of his pay was stopped. (2)

Coastguard Wreck Tokens

Tokens were made of bronze and were the size of a pre-decimal penny. They were issued to assistants employed at a Wreck Service so that those who had been engaged by the officer in charge could be identified when claiming for their services. After bronze tokens were selected by the Marine Department of the Board of Trade, 3,000 were delivered, at a cost of 10 on 30th.May 1877. A second order of 1,000 coins were delivered on 16th.August 1883. Confusion arose between the Royal Mint and the Department of Trade as to whether these were badges to be worn by the men and whether therefore they would have to be engraved with the name of the recipient. The reply from the Board was: in the first place the badges are not to be worn by the men, but are merely to be given out as vouchers to be exchanged for 2/6d or 5 shillings afterwards. They will not require engraving as they are all to be alike The tokens were kept in a bag in the officers house.

All existing tokens were recalled in 1972. (5)

Examples of these can be seen at the Coastguard Museum at Bridlington and the Royal Mint at Llantrisant, Pontyclun.

More Smuggling Tricks

The Water Cask

"The Coastguards and Customs Officers soon learned that the coasters, as well as the overseas traders, were Smuggling, and a false bulkhead shortened a hold by three or four feet was bound to be discovered. More subtle hiding-places were therefore needed, and a favourite device was the ship's water-cask, "doctored" as shown. It was proof against any ordinary examination, for the Customs probe would still be in water when it twisted as far round as the size of the bung-hole would allow."

Ogden's Cigarettes Cards; "Smugglers and Smuggling" No.28


Captain Knowles, an army officer had been on leave in Scotland and decided to return from Greenock to Kingstown in his big schooner-rigged yacht Tana. With him he brought his wife, their fifteen-month-old child and a servant Agnes Murray, while he enlisted three men to crew the Tana for him. On the 11th.September 1867 at 11 a.m. she struck the Skullmartin and sank in little over five minutes. Secured on deck had been a boat, but it was filled with lumber and could not be cleared in time. As confusion reigned Agnes Murray inadvertently let the child fall into the sea and it was never seen again.Mrs.Knowles and the servant put on life-belts and floated tied to a mast, while the Captain, with no lifebelt, clung on beside them. For long, nightmarish hours the little group tried to keep each others spirits up, but Mrs.Knowles and Agnes Murray, both distraught by the loss of the child, died during the night, as did Captain Knowles just before dawn. At first light the wreck was spotted by coastguards and the survivors brought ashore in the last extremities of exhaustion. All on board could have been saved, declared Ballywalter Life-boat coxwain Robert Boyd, had only distress signals been sent. (6)

Salary in 1831

†England & Scotland†Ireland
Chief Boatman£10 * (3s per Day)£9-4-8d (2s 3d per day)
Commissioned Boatman and Boatman £5 * (3s per Day)£4-12-4d (2s 9d per day)


There was a discrepancy over pensions. Officers who entered the Coastguard service after it had been taken over by the Admiralty found that they were not entitled to a pension of any sort. This was put right in 1866 when it was ruled that a chief officer would get 100 a year with an additional 35 for every year of service, Senior mates from 82 to 110, and second mates from 62 to 100.

Boatmen and commissioned boatmen were to be retired at 50, chief boatmen at 55 and second-class chief officers at 60.

Former members of the old Coastguard service who had been compulsorily retired at the time of the take-over were given pensions on similar scales to those who had previously retired in earlier years. One old Coastguard established a record for the length of pensionable time. A Mr. Oxenford lived to the age of 100 and at the time had drawn a pension for 52 years.

CG Pensions;

Time served in the Coastguard will be reckoned as follows, :-

Chief Boatmen-in-charge, as Chief Petty Officers.
Chief Boatmen and Divisional Carpenters as 1st Petty Officers.
Commissioned Boatsmen as 2nd Class Petty Officers.
Boatmen as Able Seamen.

The age for absolute discharge from the Coastguard, whether fit for service or not, will be -

Chief Officers and Chief Boatmen-in-charge - - - at 55
Chief Boatmen - - - - - - - - at 50
Commissioned Boatmen - - - - - - at 50
Divisional Carpenters - - - - - - - at 50
Boatmen - - - - - - - - at 50


For COASTGUARD FAMILY RESEARCERS some good news.........

It will be of interest to know that the famine of Church of Ireland Baptismal and Marriage records has eased somewhat . Since the start of the New Millenium many Church records, up to now, retained in Local custody have being donated to the R.C.B.L. ( The Representative Church Body Library) at Braemor Park, Churchtown, Dublin 14 and are now open for public inspection.

You can also find links to other interesting websites here
References :
  1. "Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast" Vol.1by Edward J.Bourke.
  2. His Majesty s Coastguard by Frank Bowen.s
  3. "Coastguard" by William Webb
  4. "A Topographical Directory of Ireland" by Samuel Lewis. 1837.
  5. Article by Paul Lane,Former Controller,Coastguard in 'Coastguard August 1996
  6. Shipwrecks of the Ulster Coast by Ian Wilson. p.75.

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0 Comments · 6667 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on June 17 2007


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