Coastguard Cutter

The Coastguard Cutter 2.24

-> Tony on January 01 2018
R3. The Rocket Apparatus. 2013.
A Life Saving Device. The early use of the rocket apparatus involved the use of George Manby’s design for firing a 6lb. Mortar with a line attached across a stricken ship just offshore. The line was then used to pull a boat to the vessel and take off the crew and any passengers it carried. Henry Trengrouse improved on the design with the firing of a rocket across a ship in danger of being wrecked by high seas and storm or fire. This involved the use of a chair to remove the crew and any passengers in a chair one by one. One end of the line was attached to a mobile pole in a cart pulled by horses or at times by menn, and the other end attached to the distressed vessel. Sometimes a pole was placed just on the shoreline, at a selected location and left there, in a permanent position. One example of this, a ‘monkey pole’ stands on the Murrough at Wicklow. It is only half the height of the original. There was another pole south of the Black Castle. John Bennett then improved on this rocket design which was used up to the 1980s. The Wicklow Town Rocket Apparatus of the 1880s, the cart and equipment is stored in a well known Wicklow factory. This was for rescue in the days of sail when time was the essence for saving lives.

Life Saving in action at Five Mile Point and Killoughter.
One example of the value of the apparatus in saving lives off the Wicklow coastline, took place on the 28th. of January 1885 when two Italian vessels went ashore in Wicklow Bay on a Wednesday morning. There was a high sea running at the time. The Brigantine ‘Guerrera’ went ashore between five and six o’clock in the morning at Five Mile Point. The Coastguard there used their rocket apparatus to effect a rescue. A rocket was fired and a line got aboard at the first essay. The life saving apparatus was rigged up and the crew of nine, including the Captain taken ashore not a moment too soon as the vessel went to pieces with extraordinary rapidity and in a few hours scarcely a plank of her hull was left.

The second vessel the barque ‘Giorgina’ went ashore opposite the old railway station at Killoughter. The Wicklow Coastguards under the direction of Chief Officer Bickle arrived at the ship about 8 o’clock with the rocket apparatus by which means the crew were got ashore, the Captain however refusing to leave his ship for some hours. As in the case of the Brigantine the men were able to save their clothes. Not all vessels in distress were lucky enough to have a rescue attempt mounted. The case of the ‘Elaine’ in January 1883 is an example of a ship being wrecked and an entire crew being lost in the darkness of night without anyone noticing that a vessel was in trouble. By the time the wreckage was found it was too late and all that could be done was to recover the bodies of the drowned crewmen in the following weeks. They are buried at Nun’s Cross and Newcastle graveyards. Many times the only notification of a wreck was an upturned hull floating in the water or a cabin house washong up on a beach. The Rocket Apparatus was however very efficient in mounting a rescue on a distressed vessel close to shore and without a doubt saved countless lives across the British Isles.
Reference; County Wicklow Heritage. By Stan O’Reilly.

R4. Coastguard station, Bannow, Co.Wexford. 1889.
HC Deb 02 May 1889 vol 335 cc993-4
Mr.W.Redmond (Fermanagh.N.) asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it was a fact that the owner of the houses occupied by the Coastguars, as a Coastguard Station at Bannow, county Wexford, had received a thre months notice that the houses are to be vacated; that these houses were built about fifty years ago by the grandfather of the present owner at the request of the government of the day, and that of recent years they were enlarged and considerably improved; was it the intention to abolish the Coastguard station at Bannow, and would any compensation be given to the owner of the houses?
Lord G. Hamilton. It is the case that the owner of the houses referred to has received notice that the houses will be vacated, the reason being that they are not kept in proper repair and they are in an insanitary condition. It is not known by whom the houses were originally built or when, but there is no reason to believe that they were built at the request of the Government or taken at other than a quarterly tenancy. The houses were improved by the landlord in 1866. It is not intended to abolish the Coastguard Station at Bannow. There is no ground for a claim for compensation by the owner.
Reference; Hansard Papers.

R9. Redfaced rescuers. 1819.
On May 22nd. 1819, the “Savannah” put to sea, with steam and sails on the historic trip which wouldtake her from America across the Atlantic ocean to England, Sweden and Russia with stops in norway and Denmark before returning home. The ships Commander Captain Moses Roberts well understood the rection of uninformed persons seeing for the first time the “Savannah” sailing with bare poles under steam. He eagerly waited for the first European to react, which happened off the coast of Ireland.

An attendent at a Signal station spotted the ‘Savannah’ and immediately assumed she was on fire. The speedy British revenue cutter “Kite” found herself chasing the “Savannah” for four or five hours before she caught up with her, enabling the ‘rescuing’ Lieutenant Bowie to board her and discover the incredible truth.

As can be imagined, the newsspapers told and retold the story to delight their readers – even expanding on the length of the chase and the prowess of the American vessel and her Captain. A Russian newspaper not only changed the location of the chase to Scotland but also claimed that the “Kite” never caught up.

Actually the most amusing part of the incident was not revealed till years laterr in seperate accounts by Stephen Rogers and A.Thomas, a fireman on board. The only way the “Kite” could stop the “Savannah” was by firing several warning shots across her stern.

There was a discrepancy over pensions. Officers who entered the Coastguard service after it had been taken over by the Admiralty found that they were not entitled to a pension of any sort. This was put right in 1866 when it was ruled that a chief officer would get £100 a year with an additional 35 for every year of service, Senior mates from £82 to £110, and second mates from £62 to £100.

Boatmen and commissioned boatmen were to be retired at 50, chief boatmen at 55 and second-class chief officers at 60.
Former members of the old Coastguard service who had been compulsorily retired at the time of the take-over were given pensions on similar scales to those who had previously retired in earlier years. One old Coastguard established a record for the length of pensionable time. A Mr. Oxenford lived to the age of 100 and at the time had drawn a pension for 52 years.
Reference: ‘ Coastguard’ by William Webb

R 67. The Belfast P323. Lifeboat Procession. 1909.
A branch of the National lifeboat Institution held its annual procession this afternoon in most unfavourable weather circumstances. – Among the various supporting groups was the Tableau of the Belfast Model Steamer Club, a lifeboat, manned by Co. Down Bangor Coastguardsmen, under Chief Officer Samuel Pearce.
An incident occurred during the procession resulting in injuries to a Coastguard named James Mason of Ballywalter. It appears that he was in the stern of the lifeboat. The procession had stopped in great Victoria street near the Great Northern Railway Terminus, and as a start was being made Mr.Mason was jerked onto the roadway on his face. He was stunned by the fall. Chief Officer Pearce had him immediately conveyed to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where he was treated for lacerated wounds.
Reference; The Irish Times 25 October 1909.

G53. Piracy in Galway Bay.
The boat ‘Mary’ of Clonisle, S.B. on leaving Galway Dock with a cargo of seed barley, on Tuesday, was boarded by the crews of 2 boats from Claddagh who cut the bags of barley in search of meal. The crew of the ‘Mary’ made every defense possible for two men to do against such numbers. One of the party made a stab at them with a large knife, and they were obliged to submit to the rovers. The ‘Mary’ was again boarded by the crew of a row-boat from Co.Clare, pulling three oars, about two miles to the westward of Spiddle, who treated them most grossly by entering the cabin and taking away their small sea stock of provisions, none of these three boats were numbered or marked and cannot be identified.
Galway Vindicator

Belmullet, June 5. I have to acquaint you that I have been this day informed that the ‘Wellington’, bound for Westport from America was plundered of a large quantity of her cargo (Indian Corn meal) off the entrance to Blacksod Bay on the 2nd.inst.
Reference; Dublin Evening Post. 10th. June 1847

Q100. Loss of a vessel in Galway Bay. 1859.
Galway Monday,- I am sorry to say the severe gale which has been blowing on the west coast for the last two days has not been without its disastrous effects. A fine schooner from Dublin, named the Enterprize, laden with coals from Troon, was wrecked in the bay on the night of the 31st July. She was commanded by Capt. Hugh Delorgy, of Cushendal, county Antrim. She left Troon on the 23rd July and nothing occurred until she was off Innisthroill Light when the breeze increased to a gale. She shortened sail and rounded Slyne Head, the wind still blowing fresh from westward, but being favourable she came beautifully up the bay before the wind.
On the night of the 31th ult. she neared Black head, when night setting in, and the storm increasing, the vessel struck with her hull on the south end of the projecting rock, and the tide ebbing she settled down and was stove in. At this time there was no light visible, and the rain was descending in torrents. The crew tried to launch the life-boat, but it was immediately swamped, and the heavy sea making a clean breach over the vessel. At the rising of the tide the crew were compelled to betake themselves to the rigging, where they remained till daybreak the following (this) morning, when they were rescued by the Barna Coastguard men, who put off at great risk to themselves and saved the crew. The ship, I am sorry to say will be a total loss, and is not insured.

She is valued at about £1,000, and the cargo at £165, and the loss will fall very severely on the poor captain, who, I am informed , had a very large share in her.
Reference; The Irish Times 3 August 1859.

8A. Water supply
Some stations left a good deal to be desired. Many landlords regarded the Coastguard stations as a heaven-sent blessing, not hesitating to make all that they possibly could out of the Admiralty. A bad case of this, although unhappily only one of very many, was the drinking water of the Roche’s Point Coastguard station in 1886, when it was admitted that the water yielded by the existing well was so brackish that it was practically impossible to drink it, and that the fifty-one persons in the station were compelled to collect rain-water and boil it to make it fit to drink. The Admiralty admitted quit frankly that state of affairs was most undesirable, but pointed ouy that all efforts to sink a new well during a number of years had failed because the rent asked was absolutely prohibitive.
Reference: ‘His Majesty’s Coastguard’ by Frank Bowen.

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