The Coastguard Cutter Vol1 No12

December 2003
Vol 1 - No.12.

The "Lady Margaret"

| Visit the Website | Forum |

I wouldbe glad to receive any coastguard information, stories or general snippets and pass it on into our readers.


Aberdeen Evening Express.

At the height of the gale, the harbour master radioed a coastguard on the spot and asked him to estimate the wind speed.

He replied that he was sorry, he didn't have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff.

E-mail from America


Good day to all Coastguard Officers, Crew Members and Associates

I remain grateful to read of your commendable exploits and accomplishments.

As I recall a story passed down to me that occurred at a Lifeboat Station near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

A vessel was foundering during a storm off coast (Diamond Shoals-"The Graveyard of the Atlantic") When the Commanding Officer of the Station, ordered his crew to man the boats.

One crew member stated "Captain, we might make it out there, but I don t think we will make it back". The Commanding Officer replied "The book says, we have to go out, it doesn't say a damn thing about coming back."

So be it. "Semper Paratus" "Always Ready" God bless all.

John J. Sweeney.
Prior USCG and a descendant of Donegal Predecessors. Slainte Gael.

Merry Christmas,

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

I would just like to wish all the visitors to my little site a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
Best Wishes,



A coastguard meets a pirate on the dock. The pirate has a peg leg, a hook, and an eye patch. "How'd you end up with a peg leg?" asks the coastguard. "I was swept overboard in a storm," says the pirate. "A shark bit off me whole leg." "Wow!" said the coastguard. "What about the hook!" "We were boarding an enemy ship, battling the other seamen with swords. One of them cut me hand clean off." "Incredible!" remarked the coastguard. "And the eye patch?" "A seagull dropping fell in me eye," replied the pirate. "You lost your eye to a seagull dropping?" the coastguard asked incredulously. Said the pirate, "It was me first day with the hook."

THE SMUGGLER'S SONG by Rudyard Kipling.

If you wake at midnight and hear a horses feet,
Don t go drawing down the blind, or looking in the street,
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by.

Five and twenty ponies
Trotting through the dark,
Brandy for the Parson,
'Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,

And watch the wall, my darling, while the gentlemen go by.
Running round the woodlump if you chance to find,
Little barrels, roped, and tarred, all full of brandy-wine:
Don't you shout to come and look, nor take 'em for your play:
Put the brushwood back again, - and they'll be gone next day.

If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the linings wet and worn- don't you ask no more.
If you meet King George's men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you "pretty maid", and chuck you 'neath the chin,
Don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one's been.

If you do as you've been told, 'likely there's a chance,
You'll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of pretty lace, and a velvet hood,
A present from the Gentlemen, along o' being good.

Somewhere on the East coast of Ireland is a Coastguard Station that possesses its very own "Mystery Man". He was seen when the Station was built in 1875. His next sighting was by the owners a few years ago during house re-decoration, when after much interior cleaning of surfaces he appeared on an indoor wall to their surprize and amazement.

Sometime after construction of the interior walls this man drew his face on the wall surface, and signed it thus, "Decorated by me, 9th.November 1876, James (illegible)" For many years the drawing was covered by coat after coat of whitewash. Was he a builder, with a few moments to spare in his work, or was he a coastguard at a later date?. If he was a builder he will have seen in the house he helped to build, the ups and downs of life of many coastguard families. Maybe he was a Coastguard , now keeping eternal vigil and seeing, as ever, the dangers of the nearby unrelenting sea. He has not gone away and, we know that at some future date he will be seen again.


A Whale of a job.

The stranding of whales on the Irish coast and the subsequent killing of them for their blubber has occurred down the years. On Tuesday 28th.August 1888 at Wicklow Town two local pilots John Ward and John Connor were standing at the "look out" inside the harbour at 4 a.m. when they were startled by a strange noise in the water near the Lifeboat slip. They observed two large Bottle-nosed whales beating the water violently with their tails. After some discussion they decided to attempt to capture the whales, to this end one of them ran to the Coastguard station on Summer Hill. He informed Mr. Howard, the watchman, of what they had seen and heard. Arming himself with a revolver and cartridges, Mr. Howard accompanied the man to the harbour.

With the tide rising and not wanting to lose such a valuable prize Mr. Howard climbed down the rocks and fired nine shots into the head of one, and ten into that of the other. After some time the noose of a strong rope was firmly secured over the head of nearest whale, and then fastened to a thick ring at the coastguard boathouse. The other whale had by this time grounded on the shingle a few yards away and with much difficulty a rope was run over its tail and made fast. The plunging, spouting, and bellowing continued for six hours. They both measured about twenty feet in length.

Hundreds of people visited the slipway during the day. Next day the sailors in charge acquired a large canvas tent, covered the whale carcases and charged two pence admission to see "the Sea-Monsters". They further contacted a leading firm of candle makers and sold the carcases for seven pounds sterling.


The discovery that the Chief Officer's wife was having an affair with one of the crew was the cause of recrimination which finally resulted in the closure of the station in Ireland. Apparently the affair had been going on for a number of months before the wronged wife found out. The couple had managed to hide their liaison by means of the feigned attempt by the boatman to convert the Chief Officer's wife from her belief in spiritualism to his strong orthodox views.
Their initial meeting occurred when he was off duty whilst his wife was having a baby and the Chief Officer was away on duty. They met one day on the road between xxxxxx and xxxxxx and began to discuss their views on the philosophy of life. This led to their meeting more frequently and they began to go to the Golden Strand and conceal themselves amongst the sand dunes. Their mutual affection increased and this led to a full-blown affair and to the physical expression of their passion. This continued, until one day one of the local wives was going along the beach with her children and came upon the couple.

It transpired that the local woman had built a strong friendship with the mans wife and had been of great help to her during her pregnancy. The consequent revelation of the affair led to much acrimony amongst the families of the coastguard station and between the crew and the Chief Officer's wife. The Chief Officer's report to his superiors expedited the decision to close the station.

The two families involved in the tragedy separated when the station closed and the Chief Officer's wife and her lover moved to xxxxxx where they bought a shop.

The closure of the station was marked by a final gathering of all the crew and their families. A number of the local community organised a farewell party.

The following day the station was burned to the ground.

'Napoleon and the English smugglers, Part 1'

In exile on Elba he wrote:

Napoleon"They did great mischief to your Government. During the war all the information I received from England came from the Smugglers.They are people who have courage and ability to do anything for money.At a camp prepared for them at one time there were upwards of 500 of them in Dunkirk. I had every information I wanted from them. They brought over newspapers and dispatches from the spies that we had in London. They took over spies from France, landed and kept them in their houses for some days, dispersed them over the country and brought them back when wanted. They assisted the French prisoners to escape from England. The relations of French prisoners in your country were accustomed to go to Dunkirk and to make a bargain with them to bring over a certain prisoner. All they wanted was the name, age and a private token by means of which the prisoners might repose confidence in them. Generally in a short time afterwards they effected it, as, for men like them, they had a great deal of honour in their dealings"

They offered several times to bring over Louis and the rest of the Bourbons for a sum of money, but they wanted to stipulate that if they met with an accident or interruption to their design, they might be allowed to murder them. This I would not consent to".

'Part 2' in January Edition

You can also find links to other interesting websites here

References :
  1. Jimmy Cleary, Wicklow Historical Society Vol. 3 No. 2 June 2003.
  2. John Legg.
  3. "Coastguard" by William Webb.

To unsubscribe from this newsletter just click here

Copyright 2003 [coastguards of yesteryear]. All rights reserved.

0 Comments · 4215 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on June 17 2007


No Comments have been Posted.

Post Comment

Please Login to Post a Comment.