The Coastguard Cutter Vol5 No3

The Coastguard Cutter
"The Lady Margaret"

March 2007
Vol. 5 - No. 3

Dear Friend,

Many Coastguards were involved in life-saving episodes over the years. Family members, were also to the fore rendering assistance to those in distress.

Coastguard boys in rescue. 1842

At 3 p.m. a lighter working its way up to Belfast was seen to founder off Whitehouse between Mandon Point and White Abbey with scarcely time to place a ladder against the mast so that crew could take refuge, water already up to the shrouds. Master Sewell, aged 14, the son of Lieutenant H.F. Sewell R.N., and Master Kennedy, aged 12, the son of Commissioned boatman P. Kennedy, launched the Whitehouse Coastguard station punt and rowed three quarters of a mile to save two men from the sunken barge.

Awarded Silver Medal each by the R.N.L.I. on 16 March 1842.

BalbrigganBARRETT, WILLIAM. Chief Officer, Coastguard, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin. Silver Medal 9 December 1852

BARRETT, WILLIAM. Junior, (his son) Silver Medal

SYNGE, Alexander, Reverend Silver Medal

On the 14th.-15th.November 1852 the Glasgow barque ‘Young England’ was wrecked on Carabates Rocks near the Balbriggan Coastguard station. William Barrett, with his son, the Reverend Synge, two coastguards and three fishermen, got to the coast opposite the wreck, and at 9 p.m. saw articles from the shop coming ashore. After much difficulty, Mr. Barrett succeeded in launching his boat and about 1 a.m. reached the ship and took the Master and nine crew from the rigging. A second attempt failed. At daylight he made a third attempt from another spot with the coastguard galley, and after three hours at the oars, rescued the six remaining survivors. Two of the crew had perished.

The Storm November 1901.

Kinstown BoathouseThe storm which swept over Dublin Bay was one of the fiercest experienced in living memory and it is confidently assured that nothing to equal it in violence has been witnessed by the inhabitants of Kingstown for the last 50 years.

The gale blew from the NE and all the ships in Dublin Bay suffered the effects of its violence. The Revenue cutter ‘Flora’ which has been stationed at Kingstown, was like a plaything at the mercy of the waves, and before the storm was many hours old she was dashed upon the rocks near the Coastguard station and in a short time became a total wreck. She carried a crew of ten and they were all saved by lifelines which were cast to them from the shore.


Reward of Gallantry.

Walter Dash.Esq. Commander H.M. Cutter ‘Racer’ lying at Kingstown has on the representation of Captain Boyd, H.M.S. ‘Ajax’ been presented by the Royal Humane Society with a Bronze Medal for having on the 11th.June last while cruising off the coast of Donegal, jumped overboard and saved the life of one of the Naval apprentices who had fallen from the topmast head into the sea. A very strong tide was running at the time, which rendered the gallant service the more dangerous. The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have also appreciated this noble and generous conduct by presenting Commander DASH with a handsome gold watch with the following inscription:- “Presented by the Lords Comm. To Mr. Walter Dash, in approval of his prompt and gallant conduct on the 11th.June 1860.”

Cruisers for Arklow.

We understand on reliable authority that the First Class Cruisers ‘Thesius’ and ‘Grayton’ will arrive in Arklow Bay on the 3rd.December and will remain there until the 8th. The effect of the visit it is said is to run torpedoes, a course of experiments which owing to their incidental risks have to be carried out in a quiet place. Each cruiser carries a crew of about 500 hands, and during the week, Chief Officer Freeman of the local Coastguards had a rather busy time arranging with the local traders to supply the sailors with provisions etc. As it is possible that the sailors will be allowed to land, the visit will be welcomed by various traders, but unless an amicable understanding is arrived at the fishermen may not be over joyous over an intrusion on their preserves.

Coastguard News from England

Terrible boating Disaster 9 Boy Scouts drowned near Leysdown . 1912.

On Sunday afternoon nine Boy Scouts belonging to the Dulwich Scouts Mission lost their lives in a cutter accident, off Leysdown, their boat capsizing when within two miles of the spot where they were to land. The cutter which had a foresail and a mainsail left Erith on Sunday morning and was in charge of men who were accustomed to boats. From this has transpired it seems that the cutter was making for the shore when a strong gust of wind struck the boat and caused it to capsize, with disastrous results.

Most of the occupants were thrown into the water. The craft righted itself and a minute or so later capsized again. There were 28 in the cutter – 23 Boy Scouts and five men. Some of the boys clung to the upturned boat and others caught hold of the dingy. After the boat capsized the first time one boy clung to the boom, on which one of the men, Mr.Filmer, was also clinging, but a wave washed them into the sea. Some of the lads could swim and were able to keep themselves afloat. Scout Master Marsh who was in charge of the party and the other men did their best for the boys, and the Scout Master nearly saved one lad named Thompson Filmer.

The accident was witnessed by the Coastguard men on duty at the Leysdown coastguard Station and an alarm was promptly raised. A boat was manned by a Coastguard crew and in a very short space of time was launched. There was however a two mile pull against the tide before the scene of the disaster could be reached. Boy Scouts who could swim left the camps in the vicinity of the beach and followed the Coastguard men with lines to render assistance. When the Coastguard men reached the scene the boys and men were in the water in all directions.

Chief Petty Officer Streeter and his men picked up 17 Scouts and five men, two of the lads being in a state of complete collapse, and all the other survivors being more or less exhausted. Having satisfied himself by pulling around that there was no possibility of saving the other lads, the Chief petty Officer gave instructions to his men to pull might and main to the shore.. The boat was beached near the Leysdown Coastguard Station and attention was immediately given to the two unconscious lads. After an hour and a half’s effort, one of them, Scout Schofeld, was restored, but the other lad, although restorative measures were kept up for two and a half hours, had to be given up as dead.

Up to Sunday evening he had not been identified, And Mr. Filmer, who was one of the rescued was unable to give the names of any of the missing excepting his sons, Thompson Filmer and Noel Filmer, two Boy Scouts, who had perished in the disaster. Mr. Filmer attributed the accident purely to a gust of wind from the land striking the boat, and he also stated that Scout Master Marsh, who was in charge, tried hard to save his son Thompson. ”Several of the boys” remarked Mr. Filmer, speaking with deep emotion, ”were crashed out of the cutter on the first gust and had no chance of clinging to the craft or dingy attached”.

Two boys are stated to be in the craft, the sail having gone over as the cutter collapsed. The craft lying on its side is just visible from Leysdown. Up to Sunday evening none of the seven missing bodies had been recovered. The Coastguard men rendered splendid service and but for their promptitude the loss of life would have been much heavier. Some of the Scout masters also rendered valuable service with first aid and one swam nearly to the scene of the disaster with a life line. (7)

Flora Rescue

There are two women who deserve the greatest credit for their heroism during the storm on the night of the 12th.. They are the wives of the two Coastguards who are stationed at the Coastguard Depot at Kingstown. One of the two, Mrs. Pyne, sustained a severe sprain to her foot, while running for help to rescue the crew of the Flora, which was in process of being wrecked off the harbour. Both of them were instrumental in saving the lives of this party, and, indeed the first man rescued, who swam for the shore, was pulled out of the boiling surf in an exhausted condition by the two women alone. We hope to be able to give the other lady’s name next week. (2)

The name of that other lady, perhaps woman is a nobler term, as things go – is Mrs. Davy, who so heroically assisted her comrade Mrs. Pyne in the rescue of the drowning sailor from the wrecked craft ‘Flora’ on the night of the terrible storm. We promised to give this lady’s name in referring to the incident two issues ago. (3)

Smart Rescue in Kingstown Harbour. 1901

A smart rescue was effected in Kingstown harbour on Sunday by a young fellow T.F.Prothero, son of the Chief Officer of the Coastguard station at Kingstown, who on seeing a boy named Albert Holt, aged 5 ½ years, fall into the harbour promptly jumped in and pulled the child out before he was the worse for his wetting, Coastguard William J.Collins, who also witnessed the occurrence, assisted in getting the child out.

Life-saving Honour to Louth. 1897

The Committee of the Royal Humane Society, London, on Saturday awarded the following, a handsome testimonial recording the service rendered :-

A lad of 15 – William Bennett, of the Coastguard Station at the Mouth of the Boyne, Queensborough, near Drogheda, for saving James Forbes 14, son of the Chief Warden of H.M. Prison, Drogheda. The case sent by the Rector of Termonfeckin shows that, though neither of them could properly swim, Forbes ventured too far into the sea, was carried away by the tide, and got out of his depth. In his distress he called for help which was instantly rendered by young Bennett, who ultimately rescued him as he was fast succumbing. The rescue was effected about 15 yards from shore in 8 feet of water. (4)

Irish Wit and Wisdom

"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about."

Oscar Wilde.

Coming in April edition

Sailors Superstitions.

  1. Lifeboat Gallantry by Barry Cox. Page 76.
  2. Wicklow News-Letter 23rd.November 1901.
  3. Wicklow News-Letter 7th.December 1901.
  4. Dundalk Democrat Saturday 16th.January 1897.
  5. Morning News Tuesday 4th.September 1860.
  6. Wicklow People Saturday 29th.November 1913.
  7. Wicklow People 10 August 1912.


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