Coastguard Cutter

The Coastguard Cutter 2.26

-> Tony on June 25 2018

The Kynoch ammunition factory sited on the beach in Ireland at Arklow between 1895 and 1918, and adjacent to the Coastguard Station, had an number of fires and accidents. An explosion in 1895 was only the first of four fatal accidents and other accidents.on site. In 1907 one man died when a fire broke out in an acid. In 1910 twoo men were blown up while pushing a bogey containing arkite paste, and a similar accident happened one year later, again killing two men and damaging fifteen buildings

A large fire had just occurred at the Chemical Works (producing War materials) very adjacent to Station. “As the fire progressed and the dull thuds of explosions were heard and lurid flames with immense volumes of smoke shot skywards, the steam alarm whistle in the works was kept going and a large crowd gathered rapidly. Considerable alarm was felt by the townspeople.”

Newspaper Report.

(I take it for granted that the Coastguard families were also very concerned to say the least.)

Coastguard Station Arklow, Co.Wicklow. 1st. December 1897.

Sir, In correspondence with your telegram to hand this day I beg to state that the fire at Messrs Kynocks Chemical Works had no effect on this Station.

I am, Your obedient servant, P,Barrett, Chief Officer.

To J.Millward Esq. Surveyer Officer of Dublin Works. Dublin

Reference; 2066 2/3/98.

Arklow Coastguard Station. Co.Wicklow.

Admiralty enquiry whether Messrs Kynock Cordite factory constitutes a source of danger to the Coastguard Station


In reply to Admiralty letter of March 1st 1898. I beg to state that since the establishment of this factory, one explosion has occurred. The result of this was that many of the windows at the station were broken and portion of the ceiling were cracked and portions of the same fell.

While there might not be actual danger to life or limb it is apparently clear that much injury would occur to the nervoussystems of the women and children from shock which would naturally follow a serious explosion. It might also be bourne in mind that the Government factories of Cordite where the greatest care and caution is exercised explosions have occurred accompanied by loss of life in some cases.

It might be suggested to the Admiralty that it might be well to seek the opinion of the Inspector of Explosives in charge of inspection of these works on behalf of the Government who is familier with the relative position of the factory and the Coastguard Station.

J.Millward. 8th March 1898.


The substance of the accident repord should be communicated to the Department of Works adding that as the demand increases for Cordite the works will probably be extended in the direction of the station and a serious explosion much nearer to the houses than that which occurred some time since would in all probability do serious damage to the structure of the houses.

T.Mellon. 9th.March 1898.

Reference; O.P.W. files National Archives, Bishop St. Dublin 8.

LX183. Kynochs Story 1917.

Early in the morning of the 21 September 1917 Kynoch’s munitions factory at Arklow disintegrated in a terrific explosion, the four magazines situated at 50 yard intervals disappeared in a bang that was heard 20 miles away, twenty-eight workers were killed and many injured. Tight wartime security lowered a veil pf secrecy over the event. Witnesses at Kynoch’s inquest however described a whirring sound just before the main explosions, the manager believed that the plant had been shelled from the sea. It was surmised that a submarine had shelled the plant. Also it was surmised that a submarine wreck was that of the German submarine which foundered during a crash dive following the attack. However local divers have failed to locate the submarine and no official records describe a loss at this location.

Reference; “Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast” Vol.2. by Edward J.Bourke.

76. Shipwreck at Malahide.

At Malahide, on Saturday last, about 11 o’clock in the forenoon, a very heavy sea was running on the beach, a vessel which proved to be tha Mary Anne, of Whitehaven, laden with coal for Dublin, was observed to be in a very dangerous position off the north point of the bar, fast drifting on shore. Word was immediately conveyed to Captain Stubbs, RN, commander of the Coastguards, who, with his usual promptitude, at once gave orders to have the galley launched and manned to the rescue. In a very short time the Chief Officer Mr. Hanna, had the boat out, and in the teeth of the fierce wind and sea she was pulled over to the low lying sand hills on the north side of the estuary. When the party reached the bar beach the brig was found to be fast on the sandbank .

It was useless to think of rowing any boat that they had out to her out to her. Fortunately Mr. Bew, chief boatman in charge of Portran, where the rocket apparatus is stationed, had seen the boat go ashore, and hurried to the rescue also. By great exertion, and in a wonderfully brief period, considering the difficult ground they had to carry it, it was brought round nearly four miles, and placed on the beach so as to cast a line aboard. The distance however was so great that the line could not reach her. Two attempts were made to reach her. Two attempts were made, and then it was advisable to wait for the fall of the tide so as to narrow the distance of the brig from the shore. About low water, other unsuccessful attempts were made to communicate with her.

The men on board , how-ever, seemed to have been encouraged by the slight subsidence of the sea, and by the sympathy of those on shore, to try their boat, and by letting her out gradually with a line from their vessel, keeping her head to the breakers, with the gallant assistance of the coastguard, who waded up to their middles in the surf, and hauled the boat off on the shore, the crew of six men and the master were brought by batches to land all safe and sound.

Reference; The Irish Times. 29th. October 1881.


Captain Burke, of the Kite Revenue Cruiser, captured on Saturday last a fine brig hovering in the entrance of the North Channel. She proved to be the Elizabeth, British Property, and had on board 500 bales of tobacco, cautiously stowed away under an apparent cargo of salt. Captain Burke has been since his appointment - which follows immediately upon his navagating his late Majesty George 1V to this country, - one of the most active, zealous and indefatigable cruiser in the Channel and we wish him joy, that he has earned the reward of his skill and perseverence.

Reference; The Dublin Evening Mail Wed.23rd.October 1830.

F12. Ship News

The Barque 'Prince Regent' yet lies on the strand at Tramore and it is thought that she cannot be got off for a fortnight hence until the next Spring tides. She is now nearly unloaded under the watchful superintendence of Mr.A.R.Pope, Lloyd Agent who is ceaseless in his attention. Several persons are employed aboard her, all of whom in the receipt of 2s. per diem and their dinner aboard, with plenty of grog, to which they often pay their devoirs during the day. (Waterford Chronicle)

Reference; Dublin Evening Post Thursday 4th.July 1839.

E168. Station Life.

Ireland was an unpopular posting for the coastguards, who were almost always English. It felt isolated, particularly for the wives and families who had been used to living in the big cities. Coastguards were unpopular in that they were seen as another arm of the law sent to stop people from taking wreck along the coast, and they also seized poitin stills. Generally a coastguard's tour of duty in Ireland lasted for no longer than five years, and they were often shifted from area to area. The coastguards were generally self-sufficient. They grew most of their own vegetables but would buy milk and eggs from the neighbouring farmers when available.

The coastguard's wives were very knowledgeable in first-aid, homemade remedies and cures.At Dunnycove station in Co.Cork it is said that two coastguards, named Giles and Fielding, helped the local farmers at threshing times in the fields. But their presence was resented - not because they were British, but because they drank more than their fair share of porter.

Many of the children attended the local National schools. They walked barefooted to school by road and field. Awaiting their arrival at the school was a stone trough set into the floor with water And they would cleanse their soiled feet. The non-Catholics amongst them would wait outside the school from 3.00-3.30pm while Catholic instruction was taught. Afterwards all the children would walk home together.


Naturally on a coastguard's pay the living had to be of the simplest description, but the men liked to have some little place which they could keep for best and which would house the trophies which they had collected in long service all over the Globe. Therefore the most popular stations were those built with large kitchens for living and small sitting-rooms for best, and nearly all of them were built on this principle. Some were not, and were built with beautiful sitting-rooms and pokey little kitchens into which the family had to be packed somehow.

The authorities made a point of providing a certain amount of furniture for the men's quarters, but it was very little. The regulations mentioned one double bed, two small bedroom tables, one six-foot kitchen table, six windsor chairs, one dresser built into the wall of the kitchenn, and three sets of fenders and fire-irons.

Needless to say the domestic peace of the station was sometimes difficult to maintain. Each station officer had to maintain the greatest tact to keep peace in his charge, but even so quarrelling among the wives was constantly having to be referred to the Divisional Officer for intervention, a job he hated. As a rule a stern reprimand from such an authority was sufficient to restore peace, if not he could recommend the removal of a quarrelsome pair to another station.

The man was told that if he could not control his wife's temper he would have to move his goods at his own expense instead of at the Government's, this threat generally proved effective.There is a yarn on record of one woman who had not the least intention of embarrassing her husband by quarreling or getting drawn into a quarrel, so avoided the possibility by never speaking to her neighbours in any circumstances. In order to avoid meeting them she would invariably leave the house by way of the sitting-room window straight on to a path which led out of the station, never going through the front door and the yard.

G115. Wreck ‘City of Limerick’ .
Shipwreck at Ballybunion, Six firkins of butter supposed to be part of the cargo of the ‘City of Limerick’ schooner, which was wrecked and plundered on the river Shannon, near Ballybunion, during the late storm, were this day (Thursday) detected by the police in the possession of two country men, who were offering them for sale in this town. The firkins had a considerable portion of sand adhering to them. The two men arrested were Thomas Hanrahan and Phillip M’elligott. (Tralee Mercury)

Reference: Morning Register Saturday 14th.December 1833.

Shipwreck at Ballybunion.

A Correspondent requests us to state that the ‘Limerick Chronicle’ has greatly exaggerated the misconduct of the people at the shipwreck of the ‘City of Limerick’ at Ballybunion.
Reference; Morning Register Monday 16th.December 1833.

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