Coastguard Cutter

The Coastguard Cutter 2.15

-> Tony on July 01 2016
The Coastguard Cutter 2.15
July/August 2016. Issue 15

Q24. Coastguard Inspection. 1864.

Kingstown. The Comptroller general of Coastguards, Commodore Ryder, visited the Royal George today in his official capacity. The men were all piped to man yards as he went aboard. Captain De Courcy, R.N. Commander, V.Robinson, Inspecting Commander of Coastguards, and the officers of the vessel, received the Commodore, who, after the roll being called, proceeded to inspect the ship, her books &c. The crew afterwards went to quarters, and were put through a course of great gun drill. After this they were exercised with small arms and swords, and lastly at fire quarters. Commodore Ryder seemed evidently satisfied with the result of his inspection, having found all the men perfectly conversant with their duties.

Reference; The Irish Times 24 august 1864.

Q28. Luggage plundered 1866.

To the Editor of the Irish Times. Sir,- Your issue of yesterday contains a letter from Mr.William Haughton respecting the wreck of the Ceres, to the concluding paragraph to which I am compelled to give a complete contradiction. Mr.Haughton says “that the luggage belonging to Dr.Heard was broken open and rifled of everything valuable,” I can say most positively, and of my own knowledge, that nothing was stolen from the luggage in question. It is true that the boxes were broken open, but they were broken by the sea, and they were delivered to Dr.Heard in exactly the same state as they were in when they were washed up on the strand, everything necessary was done to protect Dr.Heard’s property; he was afforded every facility for its recovery, and I am forced to say that it was most ungracious of that gentleman to make this unfounded complaint, considering the kind manner in which he was treated in the locality when he was unfortunate enough to be wrecked. This “most respectable gentleman” who gave Mr.Haughton the information as to the plundering of the cargo and the want of protection of it, has grossly misinformed himm. The Chief Officer of Coastguard, Mr.Walsh, agent for Lloyds, and myself, were at the scene of the wreck from a short time after it occurred, and made arrangements of the most effectual kind to protect the property. We performed a nost trying and laborious duty, extending over several days, I think, with success, but, certainly, to the best of our abilities, and without any regard to our own comfort, and it is very annoying to find a man like Mr.Houghton rushing into print to discredit our actions on hearsay evidence, - I am, sir, your obedient servant John Fanning.

Reference; The Irish Times 19 November 1866.

Q52. Explosion of Paraffin and Loss of Life. 1870.

A dreadful accident occurred last wek near Cleggan in the county Galway. It appears that twenty poor persons met at night in a house at Aughrasmore, distant some 10 miles from Clifden, and belonging to man named Heffernan. The object of their assembling was to divide a barrel of paraffin that had been washed ashore. Probably fearing the arrival of the Coastguard, they bolted both doors of the house and barricaded them, leaving no means of ingress or exit, even for themselves except through a small window. They then set to work, when as it is supposed, the inflammable vapour arising from the barrel communicated with the flame of the candle held by on of the parties, and in an instant the oil becoming ignited, an explosion occurred. Michael king, aged about 17 years, and a relative of Heffernan’s who happened to be leaning over the cask was literally blown to piecess, and the limbs and trunk of the unfortunate young man reduced to a cinder in the burning oil; not a vestige of the body remained. A poor woman named Mary King was dreadfully injured, while of the remainder not fewer than 10 people have been frightfully burnt.

Acting Receiver of Wreck, Custom House, Wexford. 17th November 1866.

Reference; The Irish Times 18 January 1870.


The first recorded service of a new life-boat was on the 6th. March 1826, when the barque Richard Pope was driven ashore in a fierce gale. At least two boats put out to the stricken barque, but the tremendous surf beat them back. The crew of fifteen realising the difficulties of their would-be rescuers, decided to try to save themselves. Five men clambered into a ships boat and attempted to make the shore, but the boat capsized in the breakers. Seeing what had happened, Alexander Douglas, an onlooker, swam through the surf in an effort to save life, but four of the men drowned. The remainder of the crew wisely stayed put, and eventually two boats reached them in safety. For his part in this hazardous and prolonged rescue Captain J.R.Morris R.N., a local coastguard, was awarded the Silver Medal of the


Reference; ‘Shipwrecks of the Ulster Coast’ by Ian Wilson p.21


The barque Richard Pope was ashore and in distress at Newcastle in Dundrum Bay 6th.March 1836. The vessel was among the breakers. Fishermen launched a boat from Newcastle but they drifted back to the shore and beached after a struggle as approaching the pier was impossible. A sturdy yawl was put on a cart and launched from a proper spot manned by six from coastguard station Captain John Roe Morris R.N. (author of a letter to the paper describing the events) She got alongside but none of the ship-wrecked men could board the yawl. A boat from the Richard Pope was launched but overturned and 4 of the 5 aboard were lost. During the night one more seaman died of cold. Then Lt.Usher of the coastguard launched his boat and brought the Captain and 4 crew ashore. The next the the shore boat brought the remaining crew ashore. In all 5 were lost and 11 saved.

Reference: “Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast” Vol. 3 by Edward J.Bourke.

P215. Another Famine. 1860.

An extract of a letter send to me by a friend at present residing in the most distressed district of Erris.Belmullet, Co.Mayo. 6 June 1860

My dear sir,- I dare say you have seen by the papers an account of the distress- the great suffering of the poor people here. Their cattle are still dying; they are so weak they cannot calve, and I declare to you that in the whole district there are not 20 pigs. You may then judge of the people’s want; it is so urgent that they sell their beds, hens and every available thing to enable them to purchase meal. God only knows what they will do until the potatoes are fit to dig- about the 20th. of August. I give but sparingly anything gratuitously, for I think it demoralising; but I would wish much to be enabled to give them work – such as reclaiming portions of mountain and bog-land, and afford them other useful employment; and we have this in contemplation, if assisted by the affluent and charitable, and to pay the poor in meal. Will you, therefore kindly exert your interest. The smallest donations, promptly sent, will save much suffering, for your fellow creatures are perishing – God bless you all.
Believe me, my dear sir, faithfully yours,
R.Edwards, Inspector of Coastguards.

I will only add that any contributions addressed to the rector of the parish of Rathfarnham shall be thankfully acknowledged and forwarded to Lieutenant Edwards. Your faithful servant L.Dowdall

Rector of Rathfarnham.

Reference; The Irish Times 19 June 1860.

P317. Blacksod boat acc. 1877.

Melancholy Boat Accident.

A very sad occurrence, resulting in the drowning of three Coastguards, took place in Blacksod Bay, Belmullet, Co.Mayo, on Thursday evening. The three men, in company of one of their wives, had gone across the bay from the Blacksod Coastguard station to the town of Belmullet, a distance by water of three miles, for the purpose of marketing, and were returning in the evening when the galley in which they were was struck by squall and capsized, the sea at the time being very rough. The boat was seen from the shore to turn clean over the three men, and they did not ever once appear above the surface. The bodies have not been recovered, although the men’s caps, a basket, and other tings which were in the boat have been washed ashore, the boat being held fast by its anchor, which dropped out when it capsized. The woman was afraid to return in the boat, and thus escaped a similar fate.

Reference; The Irish Times 1 September 1877.

P374. Clogher Head fisherman drowned. 1863.

Clogher Head. Aug 3. On Saturday evening a man named Nicholas Tallon came by his death under the following circumstances. He was engaged with three others in “lifting” the leaders of the static nets, in order to fulfil the law regulating the weekly close season. A sudden squall filled the boat, and deceased, in a moment of fright, leaped into the sea. The boat soon righted, and his companions flung an oar to Tallon, who swam manfully for some time. Meanwhile the Coastguards having observed the accident put off to the assistance of Tallon, but before any help could be given he sank from sight. It is only astonishing that more lives are not lost in the same way from the strict rule of the conservators of fisheries obliging men to put out in any sort of weather to avoid prosecution.

Reference; The Irish Times 4 August 1863.

O.5. State of the Irish Fisheries. 1838.

County of Mayo.

During the herring fishing, the cod and ling also abound, but are not fished for, and the large shoals of mackerel and skad which visit this coast during several months of the summer are only taken with hand-line instead of nets. Lobsters are abundant and would form a very profitable fishery; but they are only caught by the Coastguards for their own consumption.

County of Mayo.

Mr.Brown, an officer of the Coastguards says ‘ I have recently visited the Islands in Clew Bay and the adjoining mainland, and such an appearance of poverty and want of domestic comforts I have never witnessed before.

Reference; The Times, London 2 January 1838.

O244. Coastguard Saves Governess. 1907.

An exciting incident occurred at Courtown Harbour, Co.Wexford, on Saturday evening, over the rescue of Miss Spence, a governess who, while bathing, was swept out by a tidal wave. Miss Spence was with Lady Esmonde and children, and, alarmed by her cries, Lady Esmonde ran to the Coastguard station and informed them of what had occurred, and Coastguard reswell, whose reputation as a life-saver is well known, jumped into the water, and swam towards Miss Spence with difficulty, and, seizing her as she came up after sinking, a terrible struggle arose. Mr.Creswell, however got the better of circumstances, and endeavoured to swim to the shore with Miss Spence, who is of fine physique and in the effort he felt much overpowered.

Lady Esmonde, who all the time was a terribly distressed spectator of the struggle of both, jumped into the water, and seizing Miss Spence and Mr.Creswell, brought them to the shore. Miss Spence remained unconscious for some time, and was attended by Dr. Stephens and Dr. Nolan, of Gorey, and soon after was able to be moved. Mr. Creswell’s action in rescuing her was most creditable, and in the effort he was very much exhausted.

Reference; The Irish Independent. 6 August 1907.

O297. Illicit Still Seized. 1900.

Within the last few days two important seizures of illicit material were effected by the Constable at Malin Head and Coastguards under Mr.Webber, Station Officer, on the island of Glashedy, Co. Donegal. The seizure consisted of 100 gallons of wash together with all the necessary distillery machinery. A cave which served as a still-house it is stated, resembled a miniature distillery, and was well stocked with fuel and provisions.

Reference; The Irish Times 8 September 1900.

L13. Went to Corbally for a boatrace. 1869.

On Sunday 6 June after the cancellation of a boat race, many men went to a pub in Ballymacaw for refreshments. John Keohan,Thomas Keohan and Patrick Joy stayed on till late in the evening. They went to the ferry and requested Thomas Hayes, a Coastguard, to row them across the Rhineshark. He told them that he could not do so as his boat was upon the beach. The three men then decided to wade across the channel- at low water it is so shallow that it would only cover a man up to his knees. As it was very dark at the time Coastguard Hayes remonstrated with them and advised them to walk along the road to Tramore. They refused and started to wade across. They had not gone too far when they realised they could not make it across. Patrick Joy and Thomas Keohan returned but John Keohan continued on despite their pleas. His body was recovered at Brownstown on Tuesday 8 of June.

Reference; “Tramore of Long Ago” by Andy Taylor.

L150. Fire at Killiney Hill 1859.

A considerable portion of the southern side of the Obelisk Hill, Killiney, the favourite resort of the citizens, and the admiration of tourists was on Sunday evening destroyed by fire. About 7 o’clock the first symptoms of the conflagration were observed opposite Victoria Castle, the present residence of Henry Roe, Esq. It soon spread with great rapidity, bounding from rock to rock until a large area was compressed within its growing circle. which presented a grand but melancholy spectacle, visible for miles around. Some gentlemen resident in the neighbourhood had hastened to the spot to render assistance, and endeavour, some of the working class, who happened to be near to cut down furze, so as to prevent the further progress of the flames. A few of the Coastguards who were also visiting the place interested themselves with a similar object. The cause of the fire is not yet correctly known, but it is believed it originated in the carelessness or love of mischief of some few individuals who, having lighted a cigar, threw a match into the furze, which owing to the recent hot weather, had of course, become very flammable. A considerable number of young trees, recently planted by Mr.Warner, have been destroyed, but the damage, although considerable, is fortunately not as great as was at first apprehended.

Reference; Evening Mail Tuesday 26 July 1859.

L155. Wreck of a Norwegian Barque. 1874.

Queenstown, Wednesday night.

The Norwegian barque ‘Seventeenth of May’ which on several occasions was reported drifting about the Western Ocean, was boarded on Sunday night last by the Dublin Steamer ‘Magnet’, Captain Beaton, from Glasgow, with a cargo of iron for Oporto, and three men were put on board and taken in tow for Queenstown, but a heavy southerly gale set at an early hour to day in which the hawser parted, and the derelict went ashore at Inch Bay, situated between Poor Head and Ballycotton. Two men were saved by means of the rocket apparatus from the Coastguards station, but the third was lost. Immediately on information being received here, Messrs. Scott and Co. dispatched one of their tug steamers to the scene with the Queenstown lifeboat in tow, but the crew which manned the lifeboat were principally coal-porters, and when they got into the seaway cried peccari and the tug steamer was compelled to return to the harbour without having sighted the ship. In the meantime one of the principals of Messrs. Scott and Co. went overland, and on returning tonight reports that the vessel has broken up.

Reference; The Irish Times Thursday 8 January 1874.

LX156. Ship News. 1823.

Thursday night last during a heavy gale from the north-east the ‘Adventure’ which sailed in the morning from the Port of Drogheda, having thirty puncheons of whiskey on board, was driven ashore about a mile south of Clogher Head. Owing to the praiseworthy exertions of captain Leslie and Lieutenant Dextor R.N. and the Water-guard under their command aided by G.Hueson Esq and a party of the Queensborough Officers, the property valued at £1,000 was saved. The whiskey was landed and brought into Drogheda. The ‘Victory’ of Newry, Cairns, said to be from Liverpool with coals for Cork, arrived at Cove on Thursday. She was captured by Mr. Masters of the Preventive Water Guard, and his two boat’s crews, of the Ballymacaw Station(near Poor Head) in consequence of finding 600 bales of tobacco on board her.

Reference; Freemans Journal 4 November 1823.

LX224. Smuggled Goods. 1824.

On Thursday was tried before the Sub Commission of Customs, Sylvester Cullen, of Ballyvalden, for, on the 20th September 1822 offering a bribe to Mr.William Biddick, (the Chief Officer of the Preventive Service, on the Blackwater station), to allow the landing of smuggled goods. The trial was put off on a former occasion, and on the present, the defendant, (Sylvester Cullen) was fined £500. Mr.Biddick attended from Cunnemara, in the Co.Galway, in which he is stationed. (Wexford Herald)

Reference; Freemans Journal Tuesday 16 March 1824.


Melancholy Shipwreck of a vessel bound for Oporto with Troops. December 1832.Clifden, Co.Galway. On Wednesday morning last a portion of a ship was seen floating near the entrance of Roundstone Bay, and by the active exertions of the Coast Guards on that station under the command of Lt. Hunter R.N. it was immediately secured. On the following day the remainder of the wreck was discovered at some miles distance from the first named place. Some uniforms and several bodies have been washed ashore, it was at first concluded that one of his Majesty’s ships had been lost somewhere in the offing. However lately a few trunks with mutilated papers and other articles have been found by Captain Bushby, R.N. Inspecting Commander of this district to whose politeness I am indebted for the following particulars gleaned from the remains of the ships papers :- she was a brig of about 350 tons, Captain, Will Wallace, bound from Greenock to Oporto with recruits and stores for the Ex Emperor, Don Pedro’s service. The vessels name was the ‘Rival’; but although I cannot find out the exact number of troops on board, still it is to be presumed that it was considerable, as the chartered party states “That she shall not take more than 480 men” Up to the present time five bodies have been washed ashore, and it is more than probable hat others would have been found, had it not been for the prevalent tempestuous weather which almost precludes further search. It appears from a letter from the owners to the Captain (being brothers) that the ship was to proceed from Oporto to Marseilles. The opinion of mariners on the coast is, that this deplorable wholesale loss of lives took place on the Skird Rocks.

P.S. From the nature of this coast and of the storm, it seems impossible, that a single individual, on board could have escaped. (correspondent of the Galway Free Press)

Reference; Evening Freeman Saturday 8th.December 1832.

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