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Services of the Life-Boats of the National Life-Boat Institution


LLANELLY, SOUTH Witis—On the 7 January, 1867, intelligence was received here that a vessel was amongst the breakers on the Towyn Sands with signals of distress flying.

The City of Bath life-boat was at once taken along shore on her transporting-carriage, a distance of five miles, and then launched opposite the stranded vessel, in the teeth of a heavy broken sea. The life-boat soon reached the brigantine, and found her to be the Seraphim, of Dunkirk, in ballast.

Her crew of 8 men gladly accepted the services of the life-boat, and were safely brought ashore.

On the following morning the life-boat was again launched, during a gale of wind, to a French lugger, which, being in the midst of the breakers, was exhibiting distress signals.

She was beating over the bank of the Middle Spit, with the crew in the rigging, and the sea making a complete breach over her. The life-boat succeeded in getting alongside, and in rescuing the whole of the crew of 6 men.

The lugger, which afterwards became a total wreck, was the Espoir, of Nantes.

Upon the life-boat reaching the shore after performing this service, another vessel was seen with signals of distress flying. She was apparently riding at anchor oft" the Bnrry Holmes, at a distance of about two milesanda half. Her fore-topsail, yards, &c., were gone.

The life-boat at once proceeded towards her, and, after a hard pull, succeeded in getting close to her, and found she was nearly under water, with the sea making a fearful breach over her. There was no living soul on board, and it was feared the poor fellows must have left in their own boat and been lost. She was supposed to be the brig Zenith, of Sunderland. The life-boat then returned to the shore. She behaved exceedingly well in the heavy broken sea she had to contend with for upwards of two miles. She was twice filled with water, but at once relieved herself.

PoBTHDINLLAEN, NOETH WALES.— On the 12th January, during a heavy gale of wind from N.N.E., the smack Catherine/,, of Barmouth, bound to that port from Liverpool, anchored too far to leeward in Porthdinllaen Bay. On seeing the dangerous position of the vessel, the Cotton Sheppard life-boat was quickly launched. On reaching the smack, which had parted from one of her anchors, the master availed himself of the services of the life-boat, and some of the men from the boat were put on board. Ultimately the vessel and her crew of 4 men ware brought safely into harbour. But for this timely aid, the vessel must have become a total wreck in a very short time.

SOUTHPOET, LANCASHIRE.—On the 2nd February a vessel was discovered, during a strong westerly wind, on the Salthouse Sandbank. The Jessie Kwwles life-boat was promptly manned and launched, and found, the crew of 2 men lashed to the rigging of the sloop Perseverance, of Liverpool, which had sunk. They had been thus exposed for six hours, and were very much exhausted when taken into the life-boat.

The Lytham life-boat had also put off with the view of saving the poor fellows.

NEW BRIGHTON, near LIVERPOOL.—On the 25th February the barque Coquinibo, of Sunderland, was stranded during stormyweather on Jordan Flats, in Liverpool Bay.

The Willie and Arthur life-boat was at once launched, and taken in tow by a steamer to the edge of the bank, upon which a very heavy sea was breaking. The life-boat succeeded in taking off the whole qf the crew of 14 men and a pilot, and afterwards knded them in safety.

GREAT YARMOUTH.—On the 16th January, during a very heavy gale of wind from N.E., and a thick fall of snow, signal guns were heard from the St. Nicholas light-ship. The large life-boat was immediately launched, and proceeding in that direction, the crew observed the mast of a small vessel out of the water on the west edge of the Scroby Sand; but, after searching about for some time, no signs of the crew could be found. The life-boat then bore down to the light-ship, and saw another vessel in a disabled state, with her mainmast gone. She proved to be the brig Mary, of Sunderland, in ballast. The captain engaged the services of the life-boat to take the vessel into Lowestoft, which, after some hours' exertions, was accomplished.

At midnight, on the 17th January, the Yarmouth surf life-boat, the Duff, put off in reply to signals of distress from the barque Chowdean, of Sunderland, which, during a terrific gale of wind, was seen burning blue lights close to the breakers. Owing to the heavy surf, great difficulty was experienced in launching the boat. On reaching the vessel, they found her riding and striking heavily in the breakers. The life-boat men boarded her, and, slipping her anchors, they eventually succeeded, with the aid of a steam-tug, in taking the vessel safely into Lowestoft harbour.

MOELFRE, ANGLESEY.—On the 2nd January signals of distress were observed from a vessel at anchor off this place; the wind blowing hard from E.N.E., and a heavy sea running. The life-boat was quickly manned and launched, and brought ashore the vessel's crew of 4 men. She proved to be the schooner Mary Tatham, of Chester.

Fortunately, the weather soon after moderated, and the crew were again put on board their vessel by the life-boat.

SWANSEA. — On the morning of the 9th January, during rough weather, the life-boat Wolverhampton was launched, in reply to signals of distress shown by a vessel in the bay. After speaking several ships in the outer roadstead, the life-boat ultimately found a French schooner with her ensign in the rigging. She had lost two anchors, and had her sails split. Some of the crew of the boat were put on board, and the life-boat also secured the services of a steam-tug to tow the disabled vessel into Swansea. She proved to be the schooner Jeanne D'Arc, of Nantes.

LLANDDWYN, ANGLESEY.—On the 30th December, during a very heavy gale from the W.N.W.j the brigantine Zillah, of Liverpool, was observed in a perilous position off this place. The Manchester life-boat, the John Gray Bell, was at once conveyed along shore, and launched opposite the vessel through a heavy surfj She was then taken to windward of the schooner and anchored; and, on her veering alongside, the crew were desirous to leave their vessel, although the master refused to do so. However, the wind shifted a little to the northward, and the life-boat men then slipped the cable of the vessel and brought her into Llanddwyn Roads, the vessel being leaky, and the crew entirely worn oat.

D0NGARVAN, IRELAND.—On the night of the 21st January the ship Cameronian, of Liverpool, was observed in distress off this place, the weather being hazy, with a strong wind blowingfrom S.E. The Dungarvan life-boat at once put off to her assistance ; and some of the crew of the life-boat having boarded the vessel, she, with her crew of 20 men, was ultimately brought safely into the port of Dungarvan.

PENZANCE, CORNWALL.—On the morning of the 5th January signals of distress were seen in the direction of the village of Long Rock, between Penzance and St. Michael's Mount. It was blowing a gale from the E.S.E. at the time, and a very heavy sea on.

Orders were at once given for the Richard Lewis life-boat to be conveyed to the spot.

She was then launched, and proceeding in the direction of Long Rock, found the schooner Salome, of Brixham, fast drifting towards the shore. The life-boat had only just succeeded in taking off the crew of 5 men and a boy, when the vessel struck the ground, and soon afterwards went to pieces.

On the evening of the same day the lifeboat again went off to the rescue of the crews of two vessels in distress. The night was intensely dark with very heavy rain, and the wind blowing a hurricane from S.S.E., causing a fearful sea. One vessel burnt blue flash lights in quick succession.

In less than an hour from the time the lifeboat was launched, she safely returned to the shore with the twocrews, consisting of 11 men of both vessels. One vessel was the schooner Selina Ann, of Looe, bound to Plymouth with coals, with a crew of 5 men : she went to pieces immediately after the crew were taken off. The captain spoke in the highest terms of the management of the life-boat. On arriving alongside the vessel, she was struck by three tremendous seas, either of which, if she had not been well-handled, would have disabled her. The other vessel proved to be the schooner Heiress, of Teignmouth, with a crew of 6 men. The life-boat was " watched bv the spectators on shore with the deepest anxiety, her small light now seen mounting on high on the crest of some tremendous wave, and then sinking low again between the billows, while on her errand of mercy.

About seven o'clock on the evening of the 7th January, this valuable life-boat was again conveyed to Long Rock, intelligence having been received that a large vessel was ashore near St. Michael's Mount. The life-boat was launched into one of the most tremendous seas ever remembered on this coast, the wind being S.E. right on shore.

After a long and dangerous pull the boat got near the vessel and hailed her, but received no answer. The sea at this time was breaking completely over her. On getting nearer the vessel, however, the crew were found to be on board, and 13 of them were with great difficulty got into the life-boat.

They said that the captain and 5 men were still on board the ship, which was the John Gray, of Glasgow, whereupon the coxswain again hailed her, and urged them to leave, as it was certain the vessel would go to pieces, and that very soon their rescue would he impossible to accomplish. However, they refused to leave before daylight; and, after every means of persuasion had been tried, the life-boat men were reluctantly compelled to leave for the shore, which was reached in safety. It appeared that the captain had at first ordered the men not to get into the life-boat, and, although the rocket apparatus had been fired successfully over the ship, he threatened to shoot any man who touched the same. The vessel subsequently became a total wreck, and the 6 poor fellows on board met with a watery grave. The life-boat was reported to have behaved admirably throughout these gallant services.

WEXFORD, IRELAND.-—On the 9th Jannary intelligence was received here that the Blackwater light-vessel had been observed to exhibit signals of distress during the night.

The Civil Service life-boat was at once launched and proceeded out to her, in tow of the steam-tug Ruby. On arriving alongside, it was found there were two shipwrecked seamen on board the light-ship. They had belonged to the smack Noah, of Cardigan, which vessel had foundered close to the Blackwater Bank during a very strong gale of wind. The poor fellows were taken on board the life-boat, and safely brought ashore.

On the 23rd March the life-boat again went off to the assistance of the crew of the barque Loretio, of Liverpool, from Antwerp, in ballast, which was observed riding at anchor in great danger close to the shore in the North Bay, near Blackwater Head. The captain gladly accepted the services of the life-boat, as one of the chains had parted, and had the other given way, the ship and her crew of 14 men would in all probability have been lost, as the sea was running very high. With great difficulty the life-boat men boarded the barque, and with the aid of two steam-tugs, which subsequently arrived, she was taken safely outside the Banks.

On the 9th May this valuable life-boat was instrumental, in conjunction with two steam-tugs, in saving from destruction the crew of 4 men and the brig Ayrshire Lass, of Ardrossan, which had struck on the Long Bank during blowing weather from the E.S.E. Some of the life-boat men boarded the vessel, and succeeded in taking her safely into harbour.

On the 17th August the smack Robert Hudson, of Arklow, while making for Wexford with a cargo of fish, stranded on the south end of the Dogger Bank. A steamtug and pilot-boat passed close to the smack as she got ashore, but owing to the heavy seas, they were unable to render any assistance.

Her signals of distress, however, were observed from the shore, and the lifeboat was launched without delay; and on nearing the sands, found the vessel labouring heavily. With some difficulty the lifeboat got close enough to rescue the crew of 4 men, and afterwards landed them in safety.

TEIGNMOUTH, DEVON.—About midnight on the 23rd January, a telegraphic message was received here that a ship was on shore between Dawlish and Langstone Point, and that the life-boat was immediately required.

The crew were at once assembled and the life-boat China launched. She proceeded over the bar through a heavy sea, the wind blowing from S.E., towards Langstone, and found the brig Anne, of Milford, in a very dangerous position—rolling heavily, with the sea breaking over her, and only 12 feet of water under her. The life-boat men boarded the vessel, and, after great difficulty, succeeded, with the assistance of her crew of 8 men, in olacing her in safety, leaving 2 men on ooard to assist in working her off the land.

WINCHELSEA, SUSSEX. — On the 23rd January, during foggy weather, the barque Marie Amelie, of Quimper, got on shore near this place. The Winchelsea life-boat was at once launched to her assistance, and after some hours' exertion, succeeded, with the assistance of a steam-tug, in getting the vessel safely into Rye Harbour. The lifeboat subsequently brought ashore the captain's wife.

On the 1st February this life-boat was again launched to the assistance of the Origan tine Estelle, of Preston, which had un ashore to the east of the boat-house.

Although she was making a good deal of water, the life-boat men succeeded in getting ler off the sand, and placing her in safety.

The wind was S.W. by W., and weather f°ggy- CAISTER, NORFOLK.—On the night of the 28th February, during blowing weather, the Birmingham No. 2 life-boat put off, in reply to signal-lights of distress, and found a vessel lying on the outer side of the Inner Barber Sand, in the midst of the swell of the sea, and beating on the Sand. The Scratby life-boat came up about half an hour afterwards, and with the help of the tvro life-boats the vessel was got off the Sand, and taken into Yarmouth by daylight. She was the fishing-smack, Striver, of Yarmouth, with a crew of 4 men and a boy.

On the 7th March the Prussian schooner Louise was observed in distress in the Wold off Winterton. The wind was blowing strong, E. by S., and squally. The Caister life-boat went off, and found the captain and crew quite bewildered by stress of weather, and ignorant of their position, with sands and breakers about them. The captain gladly availed himself of the services of the life-boat, and the vessel was subsequently safely got out of her dangerous position.

On the 21st May the services of this valuable life-boat were again called into requisition.

The schooner New Whim, of Portsmouth, was observed stranded on the West Scroby Sands, off Yarmouth. The life-boat found her under water, only her mast and sails being seen. After cruizing about for some time, they saw a small boat at the stern of a schooner riding in the roads, and ascertained that the shipwrecked men had ' succeeded in boarding that vessel by means of their own boat. At their own request they were landed at Lowestoft by the lifeboat.

The wind was blowing hard at the time, N.E. by E. While returning to Yarmouth the life-boat bore down, in reply to signals, to the brig Rover, of Whitby, and brought ashore from that vessel the crew of 7 men belonging to the brigantine Union, of Cowes, which had foundered in the " Deeps." ST. IVES, CORNWALL. On the 17th March the schooner Mary Lewis, of Aberystwith, ran on shore near the Old Pier Head during a very heavy gale from E.S.E.

The Moses life-boat reached the schooner, and succeeded in taking off the crew of 5 men, afterwards landing them in safety. The lifeboat left a second time, and conveyed a line from the vessel to the Pier Head.

FOWEY, CORNWALL.—On the 17th March, during a heavy gale of wind from the S.E., the schooner Devonia, of Padstow, was observed to hoist signals of distress whilst riding at anchor in Polkerris Bay. The Rochdale and Catherine Rashleigh life-boat was immediately launched, and proceeded to the vessel. They found the crew had no hope of her being able to hold to her cable in such terrific weather, and as night was coming on, and there was no chance of getting out of the bay or running for Par Harbour, they resolved to quit the vessel rather than risk their lives on a lee shore. They were consequently brought ashore in the life-boat, the gale still blowing furiously. The vessel) however, fortunately held by her anchor during the night, and the next morning, the weather having moderated, the crew were again put on board of her.

THEDDLETHORPE, LINCOLNSHIRE.—On the 18th March the barque Centurion, of South Shields, struck on the Rose Sandbank off Saltfleet, during a heavy gale of wind from E.S.E. The Dorinda and Barbara life-boat was at once got in readiness and conveyed five miles along the shore, and then launched to the rescue of the vessel's crew. After a hard pull, and long exposure to the bitterlycold weather, the vessel was at last reached, and her crew of 16 men, a pilot and one passenger, safely taken into the life-boat, and brought ashore. The vessel afterwards became a total wreck.

TRAMORE, IRELAND.—On the 23rd March the barque Wild Horse, of Windsor, N. S., was driven into Tramore Bay, and stranded on the beach. It was blowing a gale from the S.E. at the time. As soon as her perilous position was observed, the life-boat, Cambridge University Club and Tom Egan, was at once launched to her assistance, and fortunately succeeded in rescuing the whole of the crew, consisting of 10 men, and in bringing them safely ashore.

DROGHEDA, IRELAND. — On the 23rd March, during a fresh gale from S.S.E., the schooner Mary, of Dublin, bound from Runcorn with rock salt, drove on shore on the North Wall, Drogheda Bar. The Drogheda life-boat was thereupon promptly launched, and proceeded to the wreck, and with great difficulty succeeded in rescuing her crew of 3 men.

TYHELLA, DUNDRUM BAT.—On the 23rd March the sloop William, of Paimpol, was stranded, during a heavy gale of wind, about a mile from the Watch House in Dundrum Bay. The crew laid out both anchors, in hopes of getting her off, as she was stranded at low-water mark, and they could have walked ashore had they been desirous to leave their vessel, but this they would not do. As the gale increased and the tide made, it was evident the smack would probably part from her anchors or founder in the broken water, and indeed she shortly did so, and came broadside to the sea. The Tyrella life-boat was quickly launched, and proceeded to the scene of the wreck; but in the meantime, 7 of the crew had left in their own boat, and had succeeded in reaching the shore, but were unable to return for the remainder of the crew. The vessel soon foundered, and the sea washed' completely over her. When near the wreck, two of the oars of the life-boat were broken, and she was driven to leeward and on to the beach in spite of all the exertions of the crew. The boat was however again taken to windward and launched, but with a similar want of success. By this time, through the severity of the weather, some of the gallant men in the life-boat were exhausted by their exertions, but volunteers were soon obtained in their place, and the boat was again launched, and proceeded through the broken water. Every sea filled her, but she behaved most nobly under these trying circumstances; and after great difficulty the vessel was reached, and the 6 men who were left in her were rescued from their perilous position and brought safely ashore in the life-boat..