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H.M.S. Witherington

APRIL 29TH. - CULLERCOATS, NORTHUMBERLAND, AND SUNDERLAND, DURHAM. At 11.30 at night a message was received at Cullercoats from the Blyth coastguard that a destroyer was in need of help at the entrance to the Tyne. A strong westnorth- west wind was blowing, with snow squalls and a rough sea. At 11.20 the motor life-boat Westmorland was launched. It was low water, and some of the helpers, among whom were several women, had to wade in waist-deep to launch her. Searchlights showed the destroyer ashore on the south side of the south pier. She was H.M.S. Witherington, with a skeleton crew of seven on board, being towed to a shipbreaker’s yard, and her tow had parted. The life-boat reached her at 12.20, and, after several attempts, was able to go alongside and rescue the seven men. She landed them at North Shields at two next morning. The continuing bad weather prevented her from returning to her station until the 3rd of May.

News of the Witherington was also sent by the coastguard to Sunderland, and the motor life-boat Edward and Isabella Irwin was launched at 11.40. She reached the Witherington, but did not receive any response from her to signals. Her crew had already been rescued. She attempted to get in touch with the coastguard by wireless, but without success, and no reply was received to lamp signals which she made to the beach. She searched for about two hours and then returned to her station at 4.50 next morning.

Messrs. France, Fenwick Tyne and Wear Co., Ltd., who were the employers of the rescued men, gave £100 to the Institution in appreciation of the prompt and efficient help given. An increase in the usual money awards on the standard scale was made to each of the Cullercoats crew and helpers.- Standard rewards to crew and helpers, £34 19s. ; additional rewards to crew and helpers, £11 ; total rewards, £46 19s. Rewards to Sunderland, £13 1s. 6d.