William Williams (1833 to 1912)
In 1845 his father was transferred to Guidore (Gweedore) Co. Donegal and his family moved there with him. Although Guidore was the main Coastguard base there were what might be called sub-stations, including Rutland (Island) and Bunbeg. It is likely that the family lived in the Coastguard houses in Bunbeg. At that time Ireland was in the throes of the Potato Famine and the West of Ireland was in a very poor state. Bunbeg was fortunate in that it was part of the estate of Lord George Hill, an improving landlord who did much to alleviate the suffering of his tenants and the local populace. The Coastguards were lucky in that they were servants of the British Crown and would have had regular wages and provisions.
In September 1852 William joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Entrant. At nineteen he would have been rather old for that, but we do not know the full circumstances. He may have been at sea in some other capacity before that. He trained on HMS Excellent, an old survivor of the Napoleonic Wars, which had taken part in the battle of Cape St. Vincent.
On the 1st My 1853 he enlisted in the Royal Navy in HMS Sybille, a 36 gun Fifth rate of 1633 tons built in 1846, His Service Record Number was 2275. His Naval record is Ref. ADM139/23/2275 He was soon to see adventure because in 1855 a flotilla sailed for the Far East.
25 Apr 1855 HM Ships Sybille, Hornet, and Bittern, under Commodore Hon Charles Elliot, lat 37" 17' 23 " N, long 1331" 54' 23" E - island discovered in the Sea of Japan, about a mile in extent, running in a NW by W and SE by E direction and are formed together by a reef of rocks. We could discern no dangers lying off them and the waters appears to be deep close to the shore. They are barren, without exception of a few patches of grass on their sides and landing would be difficult except in very calm weather. The height of the NW island was ascertained to be 410 ft above sea level - Charles C Forsyth, Cdr HMS Hornet
He served on Several Coastguard vessels and in January 1873 signed for a further period "To complete time for Pension". He was in Audacious in '73 to '74, in Endymion for periods from '74 to '79, and from his record would have been in "Iron Duke" when she was in collision with HMS Vanguard in August 1875 off the coast of Co Wicklow. He had risen in rank from Boatman to Commissioned Boatman in 1866, Chief Boatman in 1869 and was appointed Chief Officer in 1875, having acquired 3 Good Conduct badges.
It is not clear from his record how much "Sea Time" he put in in his later years of service, but, in July 1888 he applied for his pension and he retired on the 22nd August 1888 having served for 35 years and 335 days, the Admiralty generously rounding it up to 36 years.