The Coastguard Cutter Vol6 No9

The Coastguard Cutter

September 08 Edition

Vol 6 No. 09.

"The Lady Margaret"




Hello Friend,

The term Wreckers applies to people who unlawfully stripped wrecked ships or collected cargo washed on shore. Coming into contact with Coastguards who were trying to secure the property for the owners, or insurance agents, fights sometimes occurred with fatal results.


Wreckers on the Galway Coast. 1873.

ShipwreckThe Galway correspondent of the Freemans Journal, writing on Monday says:- About a month ago the bark Julia of Liverpool, loaded with heavy beams of timber, went ashore at Lettermullen, near Goldenhead, on this coast. There was no person on board of her, nor has it transpired here what became of her crew, she broke up immediately after beaching. The timber floated about in all directions. The inhabitants of the coast for miles round collected at the wreck – some from curiosity’s sake, it is presumed, for more substantial purposes. Be this as it may, it is certain that many pieces of the timber were seized by the constabulary many miles from the place where the ship broke up. With a assistance of a spring tide the Coastguards and the constabulary were enabled to bring most if not all that was floating about the place then of the cargo up on the beach high enough to prevent its floating. It being well watched here, the attention of those who wished to pay their addresses to it were made difficult of carrying into effect. A party of men in boats left their homes on Saturday night last for the place where the timber lay. It appears it was about midnight when they arrived there. They were suddenly surprised by a party of Coastguards or cutter’s men who were on special duty there. Some of them made for their boats, others were captured. The men on duty fired, it is said, with revolvers on the former, with deadly effect in two cases, and the loss of a finger in another. The fugitives succeeded in bringing their dead and wounded with them. Their names are :- Thomas King of Ardcast, weaver, killed by a bullet entering his left breast; married, but had no children. Patrick Folan of Mason Island, killed by a bullet entering his right breast ; not married. James M;Donagh, Ardwest, lost a finger by a bullet striking it. A ball passed through the hat of a man called Peter Hernin of Ruskeenamonagh, near Carna. John O’Brien of Minish Island, got his leg fractured between two balks; it is feared that the fracture will prove fatal. The boat which contained the party belonged to a man named Thomas Mulkerrin, of  Ardwest. His son Stephen was one of the crew, but escaped unhurt. The boat bears witness of battle or bad usage in the shape of 8 bullet holes in her hull. The owner has been communicated with.

Ref: The Times, London  14 February 1873

Wrecking. 1858

 (From a Correspondent)  At the Arklow sessions on Thursday last, Robert Hempenstall and Patrick McDonnell were fined in the mitigated penalty of £1 each or One months imprisonment, and Charles Kinsella £2 or two months imprisonment for unlawfully carrying away and secreting a quantity of spirits, the same being wreck of the sea. Much credit is due to the Board of Trade, and to Mr.Gardiner, the receiver of wreck for the district, on account of the very prompt and efficient manner in which these offenders were brought to justice. It is much to be regretted that the system of wrecking still prevails on this part of the coast. We had hoped that as a result of the merciful lenience with which the government acted towards some of the Arklow people when convicted for a similar offence last year that it would have induced them to abandon a practice so disgraceful. We are however satisfied from the vigilance and activity displayed by Mr.Rea, the officer in charge of that part of the coast, and by the men of the Coastguard that the system of wrecking will ultimately be put down. Much praise is due to them for the patience, coolness and forbearance with which they acted towards the misguided people, who having drunk freely of the ardent spirits which were washed ashore, were much disposed to be turbulent and quarrelsome on the occasion.                                         

Ref: Saunders News Letter  Monday 11th.January 1858.

The Coastguards and the Train. 1844.

The second railway line opened in Ireland was opened on May 24 1844. Amiens Street station was to be the Dublin terminus, but the first train did not begin its journey of nearly thirty-two miles from the station, for the reason that the bridge across the Royal Canal had not been completed. This was a set-back but overcome by building a temporary platform on the other side of the canal. The Lord Lieutenant, Earl de Grey, arrived with his suite, and declared the railway open for passenger traffic He then entered one of the seven carriages, and made the journey to Drogheda. The time for the thirty-two mile journey was one hour 18 minutes. Wherever Coastguards were available they were stationed along the line to salute the train as it went by. “Not the slightest accident occurred” the newspapers reported.

 World Tour at 84. 1928.

After spending the greater part of his life as a Coastguard, Mr.Edward Jeffers, a native of County Cork, who died last Saturday at the residence of his son-in-law, 3 Bathgate Drive, Strandown, County Down, took to travelling, and three years ago, at the age of 84, made a round trip of the world, leaving Belfast on January 1st. 1925, and returning in June 1926. When he was strolling around the decks, he related afterwards, a young woman excitedly approached him, having identified him by a photograph in a newspaper, and said that she was Jean Walsh, from Dublin, and that she would have sailed for Aukland some time before, but was too timid to make the journey.

After reading a report of his projected trip, she added , she said, “Well if an old man of 84 years of age has the pluck to travel, why should I be nervous!” The two became great friends on the voyage. Mr.Jeffer’s 85th birthday, Empire Day, May 24th. 1926, was celebrated aboard ship on the return journey, and it was made a special occasion by the ship’s company and passengers. Lady Weadon (ex-Mayoress of Melbourne) presented him with a fountain pen, a match-box, and enlarged photograph of the vessel (SS Oronsay), signed by the captain, while the Wembley Band, which was playing on board returning from a tour of India, played For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.

(Irish Times 21st,1928)

Ref: The Irish Times 25 August 2008.

When casks became empty they were "shaken" (taken apart) so the pieces, called shakes, could be stored in a small place. Shakes had very little value.
Old English for capsize or founder.

 Revenue Fleet NewsRevenue Fleet News
HELGA. 1901

(N.B.Due to much illegal trawling on the coast the Admiralty sent a fishery protection vessel to detect and detain vessels indulging in this activity. Tony)

Illegal Trawling off Clogher Head. (extract) 1901

On the 16th.December the ‘Helga’ which is the name of the cruiser discovered the steam trawler ‘Hypatia’ of west Hartlepool, under the 3 mile limit off Clogherhead. The Catain of the cruiser boarded the trawler, took the name of the capt. and ordered the vessel off. The gunboat again fell in with the same trawler (with a different captain) on the 15th.January. On this occasion the trawler attempted to escape when signalled, but a shot across her bows had the effect of bringing her to. She was subsequently boarded, her trawl seized and landed at Clogher Head, where it was handed over to the custody of the Coastguards there.

At Termonfeckin Petty sessions on Wednesday William Bennett appeared to answer the summons.

Denis Murphy, Chief Coastguard Officer, when examined said that he had seen the trawler fishing, but owing to the high seas running, he could not get to her to board her. The steam trawler was ruining the fishing at Clogher Head. He saw them frequently trawling, but it was impossible to catch them. The bench made the order forfeiting the net, and directing it to be sold.

Ref: Dundalk Democrat  Saturday 9th.February 1901.

UK CG NewsCoastguard News from England

The ‘Osprey’ 1909.

The brigantine ‘Osprey’ of Waterford, bound from Cherbourg to London stranded off the Admiralty pier at Dover yesterday during a westerly gale. In reply to distress signals the Coastguards got a line on board the vessel and brought two of the crew ashore. The line failed, however, and it became necessary to use the rocket apparatus in the hope of saving the three men who still remained on board, after several attempts had failed a Coastguardman, named Maurice Miller, of the Lydden Spout station, volunteered to swim through the surf with a rope. He entered the water amid the cheers of the crowd that had assembled on the beach and, after much buffeting by heavy seas he reached the vessel and climbed up a line thrown over her side. When communications with the vessel had been thus established the rest of the crew were brought ashore in the breeches buoy. The Coastguardman, who was the last to leave the vessel was again loudly cheered as he was brought to land by the life-saving apparatus.

Ref: The Times, London 8 October 1909.


Elizabeth’ 1852.

The sloop ‘Elizabeth’ of Wisbeach, from Glasgow for London with a cargo of iron castings worth £2,000 struck on the wreck of the ‘Apollo’ at the Nore Sand on the 23rd.inst and sank. Crew saved. Lieut.Baker R.N. of the Coastguard at Garrison Point in order to render protection to the wreck and cargo went there with a crew of six men. On reaching the wreck he found five Southend boats, whose crews had already boarded the sunken vessel and had cut away and taken possession of a great portion of the sails, rigging etc. On being requested to desist from their depredations they employed the most offensive epithets to the Lieut. refusing to give into his charge the sails and cordage. Lieut Baker subsequently gave orders to his boats crew to take forcible possession of them, which induced the boatmen to depart. The principal part of the cargo has been saved. The vessel may be raised.

Ref: The Times, London  29 November 1852.

The Lighthouse Focus"Lighthouse Focus [Vol 3]

Arklow Light-ship in Collision.

Marvellous Escape

The Liverpool ship ‘Aigburth’ under Capt. Reid collided with the South Arklow Light-ship on the evening of the 28th.November with disasterous effects. Shortly after noon on that day the ‘Aigburth’ was sighted by the crew of the lightship, facing the Arklow bank. About five minutes after two o’clock she came into collision with the latter, striking her on the port bow, and disabling her completely. The lantern of the lightship was swept away and driven over the side of the ship. The mast was also cut away, and the lifeboats smashed to matchwood. The ‘Aigburth’, quite regardless of the perilous situation of the lightship’s crew, it is now freely alleged, never pulled up, but pursued her course onward, leaving them to their fate. The damage done to the lightship will cost a considerable sum to repair. The Inspector of Lights proved himself equal to the occasion and had another lightship conveyed from Queenstown to replace the one disabled by the collision by 6 o’clock the following morning. The ‘Aigburth’ is a full rigged ship of gigantic proportions, capable of  accommodating up to 3,000 persons. She had left GullemotGarston, Liverpool, and was bound for Adelaide, South Australia. The lightship was comparatively lucky on the occurrence, had she struck in almost any other quarter she would have been sunk instantaneously. The ‘Aigburth’ was towed into Queenstown for repairs on Saturday morning. In a deposition made there by Capt. Reid, he assigned thick foggy weather as a cause of the collision. None of the lightships crew was injured by this mishap and all reached the shore in safety.

Ref: Wicklow People 7th.December 1901.

C.of Irl. Marriage. 1835.

July 19 1835. James Thomas. Coastguard and Catherine Heron. Stationed at Light-house in Corkbeg.

Ref: Corkbeg Parish, Cork.

Lightkeepers Death. 1903.

Bishop Rock Lighthouse


Sydney Hicks, one of the lightkeepers at the Bishop Rock Lighthouse, Scilly, met his death on Friday morning under tragic circumstances. He was preparing to take in supplies from the approaching relief boat when, by some mischance he slipped off the rock, and, it is supposed, struck his head in falling, as he did not rise again.

The boat was 200 yards away at the time, but could not render any assistance. What made the accident even sadder was the fact that Hick’s father was in the boat coming to see him.



Ref: The Irish Times 22 August 1903.


 Coming in October Edition.

Tory Island Antics.






With more and more people enjoying the beach and sea, the RNLI has never been busier - rescuing an average of 22 people every day. It now costs over £330,000 a day to run this essential service - to train their volunteers and maintain their craft and equipment. So however you choose to support them, every penny really counts.

To donate to the RNLI, simply call 0800 543210 or visit
(for Republic of Ireland call (01) 800 789 589 or visit



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