Coastguard Boat Sunk


 A 27ft. steel pinnace attached to the coastguard station at Ros na Mihil near Westport was sunk in 1917 or 1918. A local man swam out to the craft and released the anchor. He then sank the vessel by making holes in her bottom. Though two naval vessels searched no trace of the pinnace was found.

The story behind the report.

The boat was stationed at Rosmoney. A Mr. Kelly, Merchant Navy, home on leave, was having a drink in Nolan's grocery and pub in Westport. He overheard the Chief Officer's wife boasting about the new motor boat which they had received. She commented that "this would wake up the sleepy Irish". So as a dare more than anything else, Mr. Kelly decided with his friends that they would make her eat her words so to speak. At that time the Station had been reduced to six men , and the building was protected by twenty-five Marines. That very night Mr. Kelly swam out to the boat, let go the mooring rope and clung to the boat as it drifted away. His friends met him in their rowing boat and brought the wooden motor vessel near the shore. They drilled holes in the hull and filled the boat with rocks from the shore. All rope and unattached equipment they locked into the forepeak. It sank close to the Island within sight of the two Royal Navy minesweepers anchored about one mile away.

The following morning Mr. Kelly turned up at the Coastguard shebeen. It was the house at the eastern end of the building. He was well dressed, he ordered a drink and listened with amazement to the story of the missing boat. Every house in the district was searched and there was "hell to pay" in the area over the loss of the boat. The minesweepers dredged the bay but failed to locate the pinnace.

The last survivor of the group showed James Cahill exactly where the boat lay. James and a diving friend located all that remained, a few tiny fragments of wood, and the steam engine buried in the mud. It remains there. His friend removed the propeller, shaft and pressure gauge from the engine. These items are on casual display in Quay Cottage Restaurant, The Quay, Westport.


Reference: Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast’ by Edward J.Bourke.


0 Comments · 3914 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on June 30 2007

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