The Coastguard Cutter Vol3 No12

Dec 2005
Vol. 3 - No.12.



 The sea is a child at play
In the windless summer day:
He covers the sand and he creeps in the caves, with rippling laughter and gentle waves.
Smiling he lays at the foot of the shore
Weeds and shells – his loveliest store,
And gentle, and soft and fair,
He sparkles and gleams in the summer air.
The sea is a giant at bay,
In the wind-blown winter day.
He tears at the sands and he shrieks in the caves,
And dashes in under his crested waves:
He flings on the breast of the frightened shore
Wrecks carnage – his awful store.
And awful wild and grim.
He foams out his rage in the twilight dim. (1)


At Port Erin, Northern Ireland, the alarm was raised when a boy went into a disused mineshaft and did not come back. The Coastguards were summoned but found the boy on the surface. He explained that his dog was down the shaft. Auxiliary Coastguard Ronald Broadbent made the descent and found the dog, a border collie. He organised a sling and the dog was hauled up to the top.

A fox at Newcastle, Co.Down, owed its life to the vigilance of District Officer A.Booth. He found that it was held fast to a rock by its tongue which had been trapped under a limpet shell. Apparently the fox had tried to get at the limpet which had lifted its shell. He poked in his tongue but the limpet clamped bown tightly on the rock and trapped the fox by its tongue.


A Navel Affair.

Deskford 1740. Baptismal Register Entry.
Alexander MacHattie in Ardoch had a child by his wife who was born with a wooden leg.

It is supposed the child has been got by a Chelsea Pensioner with a timber heugh. [ in different writing and crossed out]

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A Sailors yarn.

"A Captain in the navy meeting a friend as he landed at Portsmouth boasted that he had left the whole ships company the happiest fellows in the world. ‘How so?’ asked his friend. ‘Well, I have just flogged seventeen; and they are happy it is over, and all the rest are happy that they have escaped." (8)


Wreck at Dungarvan. 1838.

A brig laden with oranges bound from Seville to Bristol, was stranded here during the storm, and went to pieces in a few hours; the crew were saved. All the fishing boats in the harbour were employed in picking up the oranges, with which the quay is now literally covered. (9)

Coastguard Families Entertain.

On Saturday night a very successful entertainment was provided by Captain Shirley R.N. the commanding officer in charge of the Kingstown District for the Coastguards and their families resident at the stations from Howth to Greystones inclusive. The function which was largely patronized was held in the Workmen’s Club Hall, Clarence Street, Kingstown, and consisted of several admirable theatrical sketches, which were enacted in most praiseworthy style by Mrs. Arthur Shirley, Miss Tudor, Mrs. Chafy, Miss Gertrude Connolly, Mr. G. Browne and Mr .H. Orr. The accompaniment on the pianoforte was rendered efficiently by Miss M.Kelly. (13)


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

Another year ending.

We are approaching the end of the year and have gathered  some flotsam and jetsam from the sea of life to entertain you. I would like to thank you for your help during the year and we look forward to the New Year.


A Christmas Story.


The barbarous custom which prevails on the sea coasts of these kingdoms, of plundering the cargoes of ships driven ashore by stress of weather, is degrading to human nature. The shipwreck which lately happened at Bray is a recent proof of the existence of this horrid practice; the particulars whereof are known to almost every gentleman in that neighbourhood. On Christmas Day last, the ship Friendship, of Bristol, last from Oporto, laden with port, oil, fruit etc. of the value of £400 and upwards, was driven ashore opposite to Bray, and within half a mile of that town; the captain and crew were providentially saved, having got out of the vessel before the night came on, but the ship and cargo were entirely carried away before six o’clock the next morning; the town and country people carried off not only the whole cargo but every plank in the ship.. (2)

We can only speculate on what happened on the beach when darkness fell and the crew and their rescuers had left the scene. But it must have been a busy night. Were the twelve days of Christmas celebrated afterwards with port wine and un-accustomed fruit in many a local house, with lengths of ship’s timber crackling in the hearth?. And did some of the beams perhaps have long and useful lives as parts of barns and stables and cottage roofs for many miles around. (3)

The Umbrella Man. 1834.

On Sunday afternoon, the 16th.inst. Lieut. Hills, R.N. Chief Officer of the Coast Guard station at Lancing, espied three men each with two tubs of foreign spirits, coming across the beach. He immediately proceeded towards them, and on coming up and enquiring of them what the tubs contained, the men laid the tubs down and commenced a most brutal and ferocious attack on him with large sticks. He defended himself as well as he could for some time with his umbrella, the only weapon of defence he had, until, overpowered, they left them senseless on the beach. Fortunately at the same time W.Gilbert, one of the Coastguards men, made his appearance, at which the smugglers made off, leaving Lt.Hills in a deplorable state. Gilbert subsequently succeeded in capturing one of the men with two tubs of spirits, who is in custody. Lt.Hills is doing well. (4)

Hoverers and Gobblers. A quick guide to Smugglers' lingo.

BUMBO. Illegal alcohol.
BATMAN. A 'heavy' who carried a strong pole.
BOOTLEG. Originally, illegal drink concealed in high, thigh-length boots.
COUNTRY PEOPLE. Inland dwellers sympathetic to smugglers.
DUFFER. A cargo of smuggled goods between one place and another on foot.
FUNT. A smugglers lamp.
GOBBLER. A Preventive Officer who could be bribed.
HOT. An illicit mixture of gin and brandy.
HOVERER. A smuggler who waited off-shore to be contacted by locals.
LANDSHARK. A smuggler's name for a land-based Customs officer.
OWLER or CATERPILLAR. A wool smuggler.
SMOUCH. Shredded elder or ash leaves, masquerading as smuggled tea.
STINKBUS. Smuggled spirits, concealed or submerged for so long that they've gone bad.
STRONGWATERS. Watered-down spirits, sold as full strength.
TUB CARRIER. A casual on-shore porter, paid to carry small quantities of illicit goods to buyers.
TUBMAN. A small-time smuggler who uses a one-man rowing boat.



“My right leg from knee to foot and my arms from elbow to wrist were bad with eczema for two years. I had two doctors attend me on and off for that period. They tried everything but nothing seemed to do me any good. I was confined to my home for about three weeks. When my leg was bad I could not put on my boots, and also when my hands and arms were bad I had great difficulty using them as they were so swollen. From the elbows down to the fingertips were swollen very large and were covered with blisters with a clear fluid oozing out of them. I saw a case in the paper that resembled mine, and so I thought I would try the same treatment (Cuticura Remedies) and I did so with good results. I used the complete treatment, consisting of Cuticura Soap, Cuticura Ointment and Cuticura Resolvent Pills , and was cured in about three months.

F.T.King. Chief Officer Coast Guards, Burtonport, Co.Donegal, Ireland. April 5th.and 19th. 1908.

The Storm November 1901.

The storm which swept over Dublin Bay was one of the fiercest experienced in living memory and it is confidently assured that nothing to equal it in violence has been witnessed by the inhabitants of Kingstown for the last 50 years.The gale blew from the NE and all the ships in Dublin Bay suffered the effects of its violence.

.The brigantine ‘Hampton’ which had been lying at anchor off the West Pier since the 11th.inst suffered almost as bad a fate as that which overtook the smaller craft. She was lying about half-a-mile from the Pier on Tuesday morning and when the storm came on she could not make Kingstown from where she lay. She was seen going ashore and the Coastguards went to apply their Rocket Apparatus. Our rockets were fired. The first rocket went to leeward, the second was well directed, but went short. One of the others was carried inland by the gale, and it struck a passing train breaking four panes of glass in a compartment and damaging the woodwork. The rocket almost struck a gentleman in the compartment. The boat appeared to be fairly safe and with the rising tide she gradually drifted inward. (11)

Train runs into a Balloon. 1906.

A balloon occupied by an English aeronaut named Tomkins was struck by a railway train near Herbesthal on Wednesday. Mr. Tomkins narrowly escaped being killed. The balloon which was filled with hot air, started from Aix-La-Chapelle but after a short voyage began to collapse and descended rapidly. Mr. Tomkins was unable to choose a landing place and the balloon fell on the up lines of the railway connecting Cologne with Brussels. The car bumped along the line and at the same time a passenger train from Cologne came along and struck it, bursting it, and it fell in a heap. Mr. Tomkins escaped death by a few inches, but sustained severe shock from violent landing. (12)

How to keep a household spic and span while husband is away sailing the high seas.

Ex-soldiers as Domestics.

The wife of a Naval Officer residing in a remote Surrey valley has satisfactorily solved the domestic servant problem by dismissing her household of maids and engaging soldiers in their places.

Her staff of servants, each of them a treasure, is now made up as follows:-

Servant Regiment. Wages per annum.

“Parlourman” R.W. Kent. £26.

“Houseman” R.W. Surrey. £26.

Cook. L.N. Lancs. £35.

“Kitchenman” Scotch Rifles £24.

The entire work of the household, sweeping, scrubbing, dusting up, cooking, waiting the table is done by these men. A neat-handed “Parlourman” in a trim blue uniform attends to the door, waits at table, and dusts the drawing-room. The “Houseman” also supplied with a blue uniform, undertakes all the work done by his predecessor, the house-maid. Far from being clumsy and awkward the “Parlourman” and “Houseman” do their work quietly, expeditiously, cleanly and methodically. They waste no time, meals being served to the minute. Breakages have become an unknown quantity, for the “Houseman” has no troublesome skirts to work havoc in the household.

After a six months trial their mistress is so delighted with the result of her novel experiment that she never wants to have another woman-servant in her house.

[ED; No Comment.]

References :
  1. 28th.January 1905. Wicklow People.
  2. Freeman’s Journal 3rd.February 1784.
  3. Mary Davis, Bray Historical Record. Vol.1. No.2.
  4. Saunders News-Letter Wednesday 26th.November 1834.
  5. "Coastguard" by William Webb.
  6. Your Family Tree, June 2004.
  7. G.R.O. Scotland. Genealogical Gems. (Deptford. 10.1.1740; OPR 151/1, FR 164.)
  8. Dundalk Democrat 23rd.December 1882.
  9. Dublin Evening Post 25th.January 1838.
  10. Wicklow People Saturday 13th.March 1909.
  11. Wicklow People Saturday 16th.November 1901
  12. Wicklow People Saturday23rd.June 1906.
  13. Reference; Wicklow News-Letter Saturday 16th.January 1904.
  14. Wicklow News-Letter 16th.May 1908.

© 2001-2005 [coastguards of yesteryear]

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