The Coastguard Cutter Vol3 No6

June 2005
Vol. 3 - No.6.


William Barrett, Chief Officer, Coastguard Balbriggan.
Awarded R.N.L.I. Silver Medal.

William Barrett, Junior. Son. Awarded R.N.L.I. Silver Medal.

Reverend Alexander Synge. Awarded R.N.L.I. Silver Medal.

On the 14th.-15th.November 1852 the Glasgow barque 'Young England' was wrecked on Carabates Rocks near the Balbriggan Coastguard station. William Barrett, with his son, the Rev. Synge, two Coastguards and three fishermen, got to the coast opposite the wreck, and at 9 p.m. saw articles from the ship coming ashore.
After much difficulty Mr. Barrett succeeded in launching his boat and about 1 a.m. reached the ship and took the master and nine crew from the rigging . A second attempt failed. At daybreak he made a third attempt from another spot with the Coastguard galley, and after three hours at the oars, rescued the six remaining survivors. Two of the crew had perished. (4)

In February 1855, a new lifeboat was sent to Poolbeg, where it lay in the open near the Lighthouse, and was almost at once required. In March, under Mr.Wood, RN, of Ringsend Coastguard, who had been appointed coxswain, she rescued the crew of the 'Nancy' of Rush in a severe gale. Wood, received a 'donation' of fifteen shillings and the six other members of her crew ten shillings each, three who helped launch her obtained half a crown per man. Wood had recommended sensibly that local fishermen be asked to volunteer as lifeboatmen - he found the Coastguards too old - and paid two pounds per service and seven and sixpence per exercise, generous sums in those gold-standard days, and considered too extravagant by the authorities. (7)


Coastguards at War 1854.

Extract of the Attendance Register of St. Patrick's National School, Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

Shipwreck and Terrible Aftermath

The Story of Irish born Thomas Selvey in the Coastguard.

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Wit and Wisdom of Ireland ????

"Why use big a word when a diminutive one will suffice"


Advert Circa 1905


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Dear Friend, Welcome to the June edition of "The Coastguard Cutter".


Lifesaving or following in fathers foot-steps. Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. Members of the Coastguard families would have been quite aware of the ferocity of a violent sea on their doorsteps. This does not seem to have deterred them in any way from rushing to the aid of distressed persons at sea.


Providential Rescue from Drowning by Two Little Boys.

On the 3rd.inst., about 3 p.m. a lighter belonging to Thomas M’Donnell, with two men on board named John M’Donnell and James Walls, was observed suddenly to founder, between Macedon Point and Whiteabbey, giving the men scarcely time to place a ladder against the mast, upon which they took refuge, though, even then, nearly up to their shoulders in water. On information reaching the Coastguard station at Whitehouse, the nearest point where assistance could be had, Master John Sewell, son of Lieutenant Sewell R N, Chief Officer of the station aged about 14 years, and John Kennedy, son of Peter Kennedy, Commissioned Boatman, aged about 12 years, in the punt of the station dashed out to sea, and, after having rowed for three-quarters of a mile, succeeded, though with much difficulty, in approaching the sunken craft, and rescuing the poor fellows from their perilous situation, where they had been exposed for upwards of an hour, with the sea breaking over them, in consequence of their position being hid from the Coastguard Watch-house, by the projecting front of Macedon: and, had it not been for the timely assistance of these brave little fellows, the men would in all probability have been lost, as the other boat at the station was away on duty, with the whole crew boarding vessels in the Lough. It was impossible the intrepid act could have been more effectually, or more skillfully performed, even by men inured and brought up to the sea, than it was by these little heroes, whose exertions and praiseworthy conduct, it is hoped, will not be allowed to pass without some mark of public approbation. (Northern Whig). (1)

Shipwreck. Loss of Life. Balbriggan November 15.

About 6 o’clock last night signals, as if from a vessel at sea in distress were heard.. MrWilliam Barrett R.N. the Coastguard Officer at this station, sent one of his men to look out, and on learning that there was a large vessel near the harbour in distress he and his men immediately proceeded along the coast, lighted a fire, and at intervals, for several hours, sent up rockets. The vessel proved to be the Barque ‘Young England’ belonging to Mr.Wright, of Kincardine, bound from Singapore to Liverpool, with a cargo of rice, sago, Gambia, blocks of gutta percha etc. From 5 to 1 o’clock in the morning no boat would venture out to her relief, from the heavy sea breaking along the coast. At that hour the Rev. A.Synge, Rector of Arran, Mr. Barrett R.N., his son Mr.W.Barrett and some of the Coastguards put off for the wreck in Mr.H.A. Hamiltons boat. They succeeded in reaching it and bringing off the Captain and eight of the crew, a second attempt to reach the wreck failed.

There were seven men in the rigging. At about 6 o’clock in the morning, Mr.Barrett, his son and four of the Coastguards put off in the boat belonging to the service and after two hours succeeded in reaching the vessel and taking off the seven who remained. Thus making 16 persons rescued from a watery grave. The Captain W.Robertson, states that they were knocking about the Channel for the last week and that being short of provisions they had endeavoured to reach Dublin, but was unable to do so from the violent state of the weather and the heavy sea which was running. Mistaking this place for Howth he endeavoured to reach it, but the heavy sea along the coast drove them aground.

Too much praise cannot be given to Mr.Barrett and those who accompanied him for their courage in venturing out in such a heavy surf, and for the successful way in which they rescued the men from their perilous position. Mr.W.Barrett, late master’s assistant of H.M.S.Jackall was the first to volunteer to accompany his father in the attempt to save the crew. He has been 7 years in her Majesties service. It is to be hoped that his gallant and humane conduct on this occasion will be noticed by the Admiralty and that a reward commensurate will be bestowed on him. The vessel is sunk and nothing but her masts to be seen standing upright above water with the top-sails hoisted and foresail loose. It is expected a portion of her cargo will be saved. (2)

‘Young England’ Inquest.

“The jury signed a document stating that they could not separate without expressing their unqualified admiration of the conduct of the Officer in charge of the Coastguard station and of his son, the latter especially, who volunteered to go thrice to the wreck, and by whose efforts the lives of 16 persons had been saved; and the jury also expressed their sence of the utility of the signals made to the distressed vessel by the Coastguard.” Extract from Inquest. (3)


We are sorry to state that the ship ’Eveline’, from Killala to Quebec, with passengers, foundered on her voyage out, but fortunately for the passengers, after being a day or two pumping, a vessel was seen at a considerable distance, when six Lagganeers, together with the First Mate volunteered to launch the long-boat and pull towards her, which they boarded after great risks and labour. The master at once bore down on the ill-fated ‘Eveline’ and succeeded in rescuing 150 of his fellow creatures from a watery grave, and in less than two hours after the ship went down. The passengers remained on board for 18 days, during which they were treated with greatest kindness by their deliverer. Previous to her sailing, the ‘Eveline’ had gone ashore near Killala, it was reported to the proper authorities that she was unfit to bring emigrants to North America, she was, however permitted to do so, but it has turned out to be too true, and the passengers have been sufferers to a certain extent, although fortunate as`regards their lives. Such vessels should not be allowed to engage in the emigrant trade, placing the lives of so many in jeopardy. We are glad to say that the son of Mr. George Stewart, Coastguards, Lacken, was one of those who bravely volunteered his services to the long-boat. (Tyrawly Herald)  (5)

Late Melancholy Wreck near Rocky Bay. - Facts for the Herald. - Morality of the Irish Savages.

An inquest was held by Franklin Baldwin Esq. Coroner on the body of John Barclay, who it appears, was in the Coastguard service on his way from Castletown Berehaven to Cork, with a crew of four men, another passenger and three poor women carrying eggs to the Cork market, making in all nine persons, who met a watery grave. There was no evidence to show how the wreck occurred- the vessel was seen about three or four o'clock on the morning wrecked, and shortly after Barclay the only one yet found was discovered under a portion of the mast, a coil of rope round one of his legs, and yet warm, but no sign of life. After a close search by Mr. John Galway, who lives on the spot about four pounds was found in one of the pockets. Two young men shortly after came up, and on opening his waistcoat found a slit made in the lining, a small bag, with a bundle, which they discovered to be notes, and directly followed Mr. Galway to whom they gave the money without the slightest hesitation. One is the son of a small farmer of the name of M'Carthy, the other of Webb, a smith at Raegroove. Is this the morality the English Press designates as savage ?. £100 found in the manner described above and yet not a farthing of it touched ! (Cork Examiner) (6)

References :
  1. Saunders News-Letter 11th.December 1841.
  2. Saunders News-Letter Tuesday 16th.November 1852.
  3. Saunders News-Letter Wednesday 17th.November 1852.
  4. "Lifeboat Gallantry" by Barry Cox
  5. Saunders News-Letter Monday 11th.August 1845.
  6. Evening Freeman Thursday 20th.June 1844.
  7. "Wreck and Rescue on the east coast of Ireland." by John de Courcy Ireland. p.59.

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