Coast Guardsmen in the Navy (14 April 1854)

Coast Guardsmen in the Navy

To the editor of The Times

Sir,- Before I left England I observed an error published by several of your contemporaries, relative to the pay of the Coastguardsmen employed at present in Her Majesty's navy, which was, that they should have 3s. per day while employed. This is correct with regard to the men sent from England and Scotland, but those sent from Ireland receive only 2s. 9d. per day. Now Sir, as the Coastguardsmen are considered the best disciplined in the fleet, there is no doubt but they will be the first called upon for cutting out and storming. Does any person imagine that there will any distinction made between the three shilling and two and ninepenny men? In this case I think not. Why then, should this miserable pittance be deducted from the men taken from Ireland at a time like this, when, perhaps many of us will never return to enjoy it? Besides, the majority of us are Englishmen. When I say this I do not mean to cast any slur on my Irish shipmates; they are as deserving in every respect, as I know many of them volunteered out of the Coastguard who never signed articles on entering it, to join the navy.

Perhaps Sir, you will have the goodness to allow me to trespass a little further on your columns, in making a few observations on this grievance, so long complained of by the men serving in the Coastguard service in Ireland. The committee appointed for manning the navy, in their allusion to the Coastguard as a nursery for the naval department, laid a great stress on the responsibility of the petty officers, or, as I should say, chief and commissioned boatmen in that service, and recommended that petty officers out of the navy should hold their rank when appointed to the Coastguard. Permit me Sir, to give you an idea of the advantage of this class joining from the navy, taking myself as an example, having been appointed about six years ago from the navy to the eastern coast of England as boatman in the Coastguard, where I got severely beaten by a party of smugglers in making a seizure, and, for my good conduct, I was promoted to the rank of commissioned boatman, and sent to Ireland. This step gives no increase of pay, but, on the contrary, reduces it 5l. (?) per annum, which is the case with every one similarly sent to Ireland. The next step, and the last, is that of chief boatman, which increases his pay, on his removal to Ireland, 1s. per annum. for this shilling he must do the duty of his chief officer in the event of his getting sick for three months, or going on leave of absence, and his own duty besides. The above grievance is caused by paying the man in the late Irish currency, while all grades of officers, naval, military, and civilians, are paid not only in British currency, but some of them have their pay nearly doubled. Surely, if British pay is good for the officers, it cannot be bad for the men? Who ever heard of the officer of any department being paid in the currency of one country, and the men in that of another, except the men serving in the Coastguard in Ireland? It is a well known fact, that hundreds of petitions have been sent to the proper quarter in order to have this grievance redressed, and some not more than six months ago , which, I believe, have never been answered. Lastly Sir, may I beg to observe, that not only the Coastguardsmen, but very many of their sons form a numerous force in Her Majesty's navy at present, and are willing to venture life and limb for their country's sake? I trust you will plead in our behalf in redressing these little grievances both at home and abroad.

I am, Sir, your humble and obedient servant,

Scan of original newspaper

2 Comments · 8595 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on June 18 2007


#1 | saoirse on 17/05/2008 01:25:56
this is the best ever ,

it should be sent to Dail
#2 | Michael Hogan on 04/09/2008 02:46:33
A wonderful article on petty treatment of those connected with Ireland

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