The Coastguard Cutter Vol6 No11

The Coastguard Cutter
November 08 Edition
Vol 6 No. 11.

"The Lady Margaret"




Hello Friend,

Coastguard rescues from stricken ships were looked on as "part of the job" . Rescues of bathers adjacent to stations, and other acts, at any time of the day showed 24/24 hour dedication to saving life in any circumstance.


Narrow Escape from Drowning. 1894

RingsendYesterday morning, about 9.45, a young lad named Patrick Chambers, went down from the city to bathe on the strand at the rear of Ringsend Coastguard Station. It appears that he was unable to swim, and having ventured out too far he got into a hole, where he was beyond his depth. He immediately called out for help, and his cries attracted the attention of the Coastguards. J.Costick was first on the scene, and having divested himself of his clothing swam out to his assistance. Richard Bowden, another Coastguard, ran into the water with his clothes on, and swam out. Both he and Costick succeeded , with the assistance of Frederick Gammon, who ran into the water without divesting himself of his clothing, in landing him.

Ref: The Irish Times 2 July 1894.

Coastguard’s Suspicion.  Leads to an Arrest.  Alleged Larceny from Wicklow Chapel.

The watchfulness, keen eye and intelligence of Leading Boatman William John Gill, who is attached to the war signal station at Wicklow Head, was responsible for the arrest of a man who was subsequently charged with the larceny of a number of articles which are said to have been stolen from a Roman Catholic church at Wicklow. Mr. Gill saw a man on a Monday evening, on a road off the main road, and at 3 a.m. on the following morning he saw a person about a mile from the station, and on viewing him through a telescope he recognized that person as the man he had seen the previous evening. At 1 o’clock on the next day he saw him at practically the same place, and then he questioned him, and as his answers did not give him satisfaction, he took action which resulted in his arrest. This man was eventually conveyed by Coastguards to the Coastguard station and subsequently handed over to the police. He was charged with the larceny of several articles, including a shrine lamp, an alter bell, two silver vases, bannerettes and candles valued at £2-10.

Ref: Wicklow News-Letter Saturday 24th.July 1915.

Gallant Conduct of a Coastguard. 1849

The Parsonage, Belmullet, July 3 – On last Tuesday, about 2 o’clock,p.m. a poor woman named Williams, while gathering dillisk (seaweed) on the shores of the Atlantic, was swept away by a wave and carried out to sea by the reflux. No person was near except a little girl, who ran helplessly shrieking. Hear the cry the Coastguard (Henry Abraham) who was on duty about a quarter of a mile from the place rushed to the spot, and without hesitation plunged into the ocean. The woman, mean while supported by her dress, was struggling in the water nearly 100 yards from the shore, and when Abraham reached her she was sinking from exhaustion; he caught and gallantly bore her towards the land, but with his helpless burden sank twice in his efforts to regain footing. At length he succeeded in grasping and getting on the rocks, still firmly holding the poor woman, who, I am sorry to say, died subsequently from the cold and injuries, and want of means at hand to effect resuscitation.

This is the second time this brave man within the last 18 months has risked his life in the preservation of lives of others, and his conduct is not only deserving of the highest commendation but merits the particular notice of those appointed to reward acts of such devoted intrepidity. This instance is one of many reflecting much credit on the admirable and efficient body of men composing the Coast Guard of this district.

Ref: Ballina Chronicle Wednesday 11 July 1849.

A Gallant Rescue. 1910

Amidst intense excitement, and the cheers of an immense number of spectators, two visitors to Llfracombe, a Miss Mialls and a lady, were rescued on the cliffs of Hillboro last evening by Coastguardsmen Haynes and Taylor. They had been on the rocks on the shore during the afternoon, and were cut off by the tide. Two boats attempted to reach them, but were unable to land owing to the surf. The Coastguards then went to the summit of the hill, 400 feet above, and by means of a cliff ladder and life lines descended and effected a rescue.

Ref: The Irish Times  25 February 1910.

 Brave Rescue. 1896.

RosslareWexford Friday. The “No.1” large pilot boat with three pilots on board went ashore during a gale in the Soufh Wexford Bay at 11.30 a.m. Nine of the Rosslare Coastguards were immediately on the scene and by 11.45 a.m. had the rocket apparatus ready. Two efforts were made to effect communication with the boat but the force of the wind made this impossible. As the men were in such a perilous situation and would certainly be lost unless something was done, Coastguard Harry Cowling of the Rosslare Coastguard station volunteered to swim to the pilot boat and bring a line with him. The boat was over 100 yards from the beach and the sea was so bad that many thought that he would lose his life if he attempted it. Undaunted by the warning he certainly received Cowling set out on his perilous journey and reached the pilot boat in an exhausted condition, and had to be helped on board. The line he brought with him established communication with the boat and the three pilots were safely landed, one by the rocket apparatus and the others by a hawser. It is to be hoped that Coastguard Cowling’s gallant conduct will meet with the recognition it deserves, for without his act the three men would certainly have perished.

Ref: The Irish Times 3 October 1896.

Fire at Larne. 1902

A most destructive fire broke out early yesterday morning in the district of Dunluce Street, Larne, Co.Antrim. Many houses and shops were destroyed. The block of buildings 50 yards by 25 yards resembled a furnace. The local fire brigade was in attendance aided by the Coastguards who rendered valuable assistance in endeavouring to limit the extent of the conflagration. The immense conflagration attracted a huge crowd. Several firemen had narrow escapes owing to the suddenness with which sections of the buildings collapsed. (extract)

Ref: The Times, London 6 August 1902.

Suicide of a Coastguard. 1896

Tralee, Friday.  Intelligence has reached here of the suicide of a Coastguard named Robert Upton, aged about 36 years, and a native of England, at Ballyheigue Coastguard Station last evening. A number of the men of the station went out line fishing in Ballyheigue Bay, and the deceased, who was the look-out man, was watching them through his glass, when his sister-in-law came out and asked him to lend the glass to her. This he gruffly refused to do, saying she would break it. She was displeased at his refusal, and he turned away and went into the house. Shortly after a shot was heard, and on proceeding to the room Upton was found on the floor, apparently quite dead, blood flowing from his mouth and a large fracture in the upper part of his skull. He placed the muzzle of the revolver in his mouth and discharged it. Upton came to Ballyheigue station in 1894, and was well liked. It has since been remarked that he was a little queer in his manner, for a couple of days past, and on the previous day left the village without partaking of his usual pint of stout. The coroner has been communicated with, and an inquest will be held.

Ref: The Irish Times  25 April 1896.


Holes pierced in decks near bulwarks to allow surplus water to drain off..
Anything seen to have gone overboard or spotted floating past the ship (by the board) was considered lost at sea. 

 Revenue Fleet NewsRevenue Fleet News
The CHICHESTER Revenue Cutter,
commanded by Captain STEWART, anchored at
Kilkerran bay (Cunemara), received some injury from lightning on the 7th inst., the Captain having narrowly escaped, but some of the crew received very slight injury. The cutter had been there for the purpose of co-operating with the Revenue Police under the command of Lieutenant M'DERMOTT, at Outerard, for the suppression of illicit distillation, and searched that coast and its many Islands, and we are happy to find there existed no symptoms of any such traffic among the peasantry. Friday June 17, 1863.


UK CG NewsCoastguard News from England

Wreck. 1829

Cromer HouseWreck of the sloop ‘George’, of Hull, on the Norfolk coast, in the vicinity of Cromer, on the 14th October. Principally through the exertions of an individual, Mr. Grubb, the Chief Officer of the Coast Guard in the neighbourhood, of whose spirited and humane conduct on this occasion too much cannot be said in praise, the lives of all hands were saved.


Ref: The Times, London  5 November 1829.

Shooting by Revenue Officer. 1834

Western Circuit, Launceston, Monday March 31.
Malicious Shooting by a Revenue Officer.
Jeremiah Murphy indicted for shooting James Rodd at St.German’s (Cornwall)
Murphy was commanding boatman in the Coast Guard Service.
Lieutenant Thomas Pennington, Chief Officer of the Coast Guard at Portwincle,
John Cassidy, Coast Guard,
Captain Haswell, Inspecting Commander of the Coast Guard at Devonport.

 This case revolved around the fact that Murphy had been told by Cassidy, relaying a message from Lieutenant Haswell, to be on the look-out for a smuggler that night. Murphy saw a boat and thought it might be the smuggler, and challenged it, according to him his gun went off accidentally. He then agreed to pay Rodd £10 in compensation. Rodd having been injured only mildly, which Rodd accepted, but Murphy could not find the money to pay, so Rodd took him to Court. Murphy was defended by the Custom House lawyers and they were apparently given advance access to the depositions of the prosecution witnesses, which was the cause of some complaint by the Times, as unfair. Nevertheless Murphy was found guilty, but no sentence was passed on him.

Reference; The Times, London  3 April 1834.

The Lighthouse Focus -Lighthouse Focus [Vol 5]


Extraordinary incident at Queenstown Harbour. 1885.

Considerable alarm was created among the families resident at the Roches Point Signal and lighthouse station at the entrance to Queenstown in consequence of one of the large cannon balls which were being fired from the guns at Fort Camden having struck with terrific force the ground enclosed around the lighthouse and within a few feet of the light keepers dwelling ploughing up the earth for several yards. It appears there was practice from the monster guns with which the fort is armed aimed, at a moving target on the sea and situated in a south-easterly direction, and that through some cause not yet explained one ball went far wide of the target striking within the lighthouse grounds and causing the lightkeepers family to rush in terror from the place. The spot where the ball struck is one most frequented by the children of the place, but fortunately at that particular time none happened to be there.

Ref: The Irish Times 6 June 1885.

Roches Point


Loss of a Lighthouse Staff. 1900

When the steamer of the Commissioners of Northern Lights arrived at the Flannan Island lighthouse, 17 miles west of Lewis, in the Hebrides, on Wednesday, it was found that the three men stationed there on duty had disappeared, leaving no trace behind. It is supposed that they were swept away during the storm of last week, probably when trying to render assistance to some vessel in distress.

The principal keeper was James Ducat. No similar incident has ever happened in the history of the Lighthouse board.

Ref: The Times London  28 December 1900.





 Coming in Decmber Edition.

Odds and Ends.







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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