Advanced search

Services of the Life-Boats of the National Life-Boat Institution (continued.)

BALLYWALTER, Co. DOWN.— On the evening of the 4th April, 1881, informa- tion was brought from the Coastguard Station that the Bell Buoy, a vessel which is placed about two miles off the shore to warn vessels off the Stullmartin Reef, had broken adrift. As there was a strong wind at the time, with considerable sea, precluding the use of any ordinary boat, the Ballywalter Life-boat was launched, and with great difficulty got the craft into the harbour.

BROUGHTY FERRY, N.B.—It was re- ported, about 5 P.M. on the 4th March, that a schooner had gone ashore on the Lady Bank, and when she could 'be seen through the snow and drift, which was only at intervals, she appeared to be partially dismasted. The English Me- chanic Life-boat went out under oars, in the teeth of a strong S.E. gale and heavy sea, and found the vessel was ashore between the Lady Bank and the mainland.

The weather was very thick, and as dark- ness was coming on, the Life-boatmen exerted themselves to the utmost to rescue the crew before it became totally dark.

After nearly two hours hard pulling, the Boat got alongside the vessel, which proved to be the Swedish schooner Niels, took off the crew of five men, and safely landed them at Broughty Ferry.

QUEENSTOWN. —A telegram was received from the officer of Coastguard at Bally- croneen, at about 3 A.M. on the 4th March, stating that a vessel was displaying sig- nals of distress off that place. The Quiver Life-boat was speedily despatched to the spot in tow of the tug Lord Bandon, and found that the brigantine Bessie Whinery, of Maryport, from Pembrey for Cork, with a cargo of coal, was embayed; she was, however, under way, and endeavouring to beat out of the bay when the Life-boat arrived. Some of the Boat's crew went on board to assist at the pumps and direct her into port, where she arrived about 9 A.M. She carried a crew of six men.

MONTROSE, N.B.—On the 5th March, during a very heavy gale from the S.S.E., and an exceedingly heavy sea, accompanied by a snowstorm, the schooner Agnes, of Llanelly, bound thence to Newcastle, while running for Montrose Harbour, went ashore on the sands to the northward of the Annat Bank., The No. 2 Life-boat Roman Governor of Caer Hun immediately put off to her assistance through a very heavy surf, and, after a severe struggle, rescued her crew of five men. In the absence of the regular crew, this Life-boat was partly manned by eight young fishermen, who volunteered for the service, and who be- haved admirably under very arduous circumstances.

On the following day the gale still continued, and as it was reported that several vessels were ashore along the coast, and that others were in danger, the crews of the Life-boats assembled in readi- ness for service. At about 10 A.M. the brig August, of Barth, bound from Ant- werp to Newcastle, in ballast, was seen to be gradually driving ashore. The No. 1 Life-boat Mincing Lane was accordingly sent to the mouth of the harbour, and the No. 2 Life-boat was despatched to the beach. The brig missed the harbour's mouth and went ashore about a quarter of a mile north of the Annat Bank. The No. 2 Life-boat was launched with the aid of the numerous spectators, who gallantly assisted in the work despite the waves, which again and again came upon them, completely drenching them, and placing them in some peril. No sooner was the Boat floated off than she was dashed back again, and it was only after the most strenuous efforts had been put forth that she succeeded in getting away, when she rowed towards the brig through a very heavy surf. Meanwhile the No. 1 Life-boat, seeing the danger of the brig, pulled across the Annat Bank in a very dangerous sea, and reached the vessel first, but was driven past her two or three times, although her veering line was fast to her. The No. 2 Boat then got nearer to the vessel, and, being a lighter boat, the veering line was trans- ferred to her, and she got alongside the brig and rescued the crew, consisting of seven men, and safely landed them, amidst the cheers of the spectators. The brig's masts soon afterwards went overboard, and she broke up entirely within an hour or two.

The Life-boats had scarcely been hauled out of the surf after the performance of the last-named service, when the s.s.

Norma, of Bergen, bound to that port from Newcastle with coal, was seen to be driving ashore, and she eventually stranded about a mile north of Montrose.

She made signals of distress, in response to which the No. 2 Life-boat, which had been taken along the beach, to the spot, the carriage being drawn by ten horses, was again smartly launched through the surf and pulled to the steamer, when she rescued eleven of her crew. Another seaman unfortunately fell into the sea while making his way along the rope to the Boat, and was drowned. The be- haviour of the Life-boat on these occasions gave great satisfaction to the crews, and the coxswains stated that they felt sure that the No. 2 Boat could be launched off their shallow beach under the heaviest sea, with sufficient assistance.

A large subscription was raised locally to reward the Life-boatmen for their gal- lantry and resolution in rendering these services, and the Coastguardmen and others who had also rendered efficient help by the Rocket Apparatus and other means, in saving life from the numerous wrecks on the coast of Aberdeenshire in the month of March last.

The presentation of medals and pecu- niary rewards, in addition to the pay- ments awarded by the Institution to the coxswains and crews of the Life-boats, was made on the 14th May at a public meeting held in the Guildhall, Montrose, under the presidency of Provost Japp, and which was very largely attended.

The zealous Hon. Sec. of the Montrose Branch of the Institution, Mr. JAMES WARRACK, read to the meeting a sum- mary of the above-mentioned services of the Montrose Life-boats on the 5th and 6th of March, and stated that during an experience of twenty-five years he had not seen more arduous, more hazardous, and more successful Life-boat work than on this occasion. The storm was of unusual violence; the three vessels drove ashore on the long shallow beach, where the sea was breaking in long rollers.

It required all the efforts of the Life-boat- men, aided by numerous spectators, to force the No. 2 Boat afloat, and then there was the great danger of her striking the ground and upsetting, every recurring wave breaking heavily over her. The No. 1 Boat incurred similar danger in dashing across the Annat Bank to the brig August, exposed to a broadside sea.

She was filled by a heavy sea breaking over her, and had a narrow escape of being upset, as she was, in similar circum- stances eight years ago, when the half of her crew were washed out of her, and one of them died from the injuries received.

Mr. DAVID DUNCAN, Sen., coxswain of the Life-boat, expressed the grateful ac- knowledgments of the coxswains and crews of the Life-boats, for the rewards thus bestowed on them. He said that it was a great encouragement to them, and would be a fresh stimulus for them in time to come. They considered that it was the bounden duty of men who bad been trained to a seafaring life to go out and save shipwrecked sailors. It was arduous work; at the same time he de- sired to say how much the Life-boatmen were inspirited on the occasions in ques- tion, by seeing how ready the landsmen were to go into the water, and even risk getting washed away by the sea in their efforts to launch the Life-boats.

ST. ANDREW'S, N.B.—On the 5th March, at about 1 P.M., during one of the most violent storms which has visited this coast for years, and amid blinding showers of snow, a schooner was observed being driven before the fury of the gale towards the West Sands. The Ladies' Own Life- boat, at once proceeded to the rescue, and, amid the hearty cheers of thousands of spectators, brought safely ashore the crew of five men from the vessel, which proved to be the schooner Harmonie, of Mandal, Norway, with a cargo of pit props. While the Life-boat was alongside the wreck, one of her crew was washed overboard, but he was recovered after he had struggled some time with the heavy waves. Soon after the men were landed the schooner became a total wreck.

At about 10 A.M., on the 7th March, a message from Boarhills reported that a vessel was in a dangerous position about 4 miles east of St. Andrew's. The wind had fallen, but a very heavy sea was still running. The Ladies' Own Life-boat was launched at the harbour's mouth, and proceeded in search of the vessel, the weather being very thick at the time.

She returned about 2 P.M., bringing with her the crew of six men of the three- masted schooner Grasshopper, of South- ampton, who were safely landed at St. Andrew's.

PENARTH, SOUTH WALES.—At daylight on the 9th March the Coastguard on duty observed a small vessel ashore in a very  dangerous position on Cardiff sands. The wind was blowing strong from the W.S.W., accompanied by a heavy sea. The Life- boat Joseph Denman was launched and proceeded to the vessel, which was found to be the ketch Bristol Packet, of Newport, Mon. The crew asked that the Life-boat might remain by the vessel, the master stating that she was strongly built, and that they hoped when the flood tide made she would float off the sands, which she eventually did, and bore away for New- port, the Life-boat then returning to her station.

WEXFORD.—At 9 P.M. on the 18th March signals of distress were observed,from a vessel on the North end of the Dogger Bank. The Civil Service No. 1 Life-boat was immediately launched, and proceeded to render assistance. On arriving along- side the vessel, which was the schooner* Slue JacJcet, of Beaumaris, bound from Bangor to Wexford, with a cargo of slates, some of the Life-boatmen went on board, assisted to lighten her, and got her afloat at about 7.30 on the following morning. She carried a crew of three men.

THEDDLETHORPE, LINCOLNSHIRE. — At daybreak on the 19th April the trawler Shamrock, of Hull, was observed ashore about a quarter of a mile N. of the Theddlethorpe Life-boat station, during stormy weather and a very heavy sea.

The Life-boat Dorinda and Barbara put off to her assistance, but, owing to the wind and the unusually heavy sea, she was driven to leeward, and had to be beached. She, however, proceeded out again as soon as the tide served, and with great difficulty, owing to the floating wreckage and the heavy surf round the wreck, she succeeded in rescuing the crew, consisting of five men, from the rigging of their sunken vessel.

LOSSIEMOUTH, N.B.—On the 27th April, at 4. A.M., the Life-boat Bristol and Clifton put off, and rescued five men from the schooner Cavalier, of Lossiemouth, which had been driven ashore about fifty yards eastward of the old harbour. The wind was blowing from the S.W. at the time, accompanied by a heavy surf.

PALLING-BY-THE-SEA, NORFOLK.— At 1 A.M. on the 3rd May, during a strong gale from the N.E. with a heavy sea, a vessel was observed on shore at Waxham, showing signals of distress. With all possible speed the Life-boat Parses was at once taken along the coast, and, on arriving opposite the stranded vessel, she was launched through the heavy surf with much difficulty, and, after battling with the waves, succeeded in reaching the vessel and rescued her crew of five men.

She proved to be the fishing smack Ca- therine, of Ramsgate.

SIDMOUTH.—On the morning of the 23rd May H.M.S. Lively, with the DUKE and DUCHESS of EDINBURGH and suite on board, arrived off Sidmouth, and came into the bay, in order that his Royal Highness might land and inspect the Coastguard Station. Shortly after nine o'clock a steam pinnace was lowered from the Lively, and the DUKE and DUCHESS,' Lady HARRIET GRIMSTON, and Mr. H. H. RICKARD, R.N., proceeded in it towards the shore. An increasing swell was rolling in from the S.E. at the time, and as the steam-launch neared the land she was struck by a sea, which nearly capsized her. The Life-boat Rimington, which had been got out in readiness for inspection by his Royal Highness, was at once launched and proceeded alongside, when the DUKE and DUCHESS and their party were taken into the Life-boat and safely landed, the boat only shipping a little spray as she grounded on the beach. There is no doubt that considerable risk would have attended any attempt to land from the launch, as this beach is rather a dangerous one, when there is any sea on, on account of its steepness.