The Coastguard Cutter Vol7 No3

The Coastguard Cutter
March 09 Edition
Vol 7 No. 3.

"The Lady Margaret"



Hello Friend,

The Preventive Water Guard were the precursors of the Coastguards and many were later  amalgamated into the new organisation.


The Preventive Water Guard 1823.

Mount Charles October 25

The utility of that admirably conducted establishment, the Preventive Water Guard, was never more clearly evinced than this morning. A smuggling cutter of the largest class ( supposed to be the ‘Brothers’, well known as having been taken off Dover, last year, and unaccountably released though murder had been committed by her crew) had been expected off the coast for the last week. The agents have been collecting all the money in the country to purchase the cargo amounting to thirty thousand pounds, composed of tobacco, silk and teas. They took advantage of an easterly wind to make a dash up Inver Bay, having eluded six cruisers now encircling Donegal Bay. She hove to off Dourin Head, at ten o’clock last night. Two hours would have cleared her of every bale of tobacco ; but most opportunely that vigilant and indefatigable officer, Captain Weiss, Inspecting Commander and Lieutenant Hamilton, Chief Officer, Preventive Water Guards, arrived in a galley and a small boat, with only eleven men. They instantly attacked the smuggler in most gallant style. Had they delayed to procure assistance from the other stations the landing of the cargo would most certainly been effected, the whole population around being ready to aid the smugglers. It was quite an exploit to make her sheer off, having shown a large crew, and who kept up a heavy fire of cannon and musketry against the little band all the night. Towards day-light the galley from Mullaghmore came up, and preparations for boarding were made, when suddenly, a breeze sprung up, which enabled the smuggler to get off. Her crew amounted at least to fifty, and she had nine ports aside. The average of smugglers effecting  landings in Donegal Bay was heretofore five per annum, since the establishment of the Preventive Water Guard, not one has been effected. (Erne Packet)

Ref: Freemans Journal  1st November 1823.

The New Coastguard. 1926.

A Life-Saving Service.

In his entertaining book, “Smuggling Days and Smuggling Ways” the late Lord Teignmouth, himself in his younger days an inspecting officer of the Coastguard, tells of the origins of the Preventive Water Guard – how it grew out of the famous and romantic revenue cutters, and was organized by the Admiralty to put down smuggling. The association of the Coastguard Service with the Navy and the Customs continued for so many years, and inspired so many popular stories, that it has become a fixed idea with the British public.

LookoutWhen upon our holidays, we see a man in a smart uniform, with a telescope under his arm, strolling along a cliff path, and every now and then looking out to sea, we think at once of smuggler’s schooners in the offing – the association of ideas is inevitable. Nevertheless one is obliged to begin this description of the New Coastguard with the painful statement that the service has nothing to do with the customs, is not under the control of the Admiralty (except in time of war), is concerned almost wholly with the peaceful and humane task of saving life, and is now controlled by the Mercantile Marine Department of the Board of Trade. The personnel of the regular force is still drawn from those who have served his Majesty afloat, but, apart from this, the Navy has nothing to do with it.

The need for a Coastguard as a preventive service had long since passed away. Although the old name was retained – a good name is far too valuable an asset to be thrown away – the force had become one of Coast Watching rather than of Coast Guard.

the verdict was announced orders arrived from the Admiralty to stop the inquest and prevent Captain Turner from giving evidence.

Moved by the tragedy and realizing how vulnerable were those who ventured on the seas, John Horgan would devote much of his time to serving as a reserve officer in the Coastguard.

Ref: The Times, London. 30 March 1926.

Hunger is the best sauce.
Only the rich can afford compassion

UK CG NewsCoastguard News from England

Smugglers Affray. 1832

At about three o’clock on Wednesday morning, a terrible and fatal affray took place at Worthing, between a part of the Coast-Guard situated there, and a large party of smugglers and batsman. The attention of two of the guards, Carter and Richards, was attracted by a boat making rapidly for the beach, immediately upon perceiving which, they fired their pistols. The report of the pistols was immediately followed by a simultaneous rush of between 200 and 300 men to the beach, the boat at the same moment coming to land. After having fired repeated signals, they were joined by two or three more of the guard and instantly commenced a pursuit down the High-Street, whither the smugglers were in full retreat. They were, however, flanked by a desperate and determined body of batsmen, who repeatedly attacked the officers with stones and staves alternately attacking and retreating, and keeping their opponents at bay till they reached the termination of High-Street, and the entrance to the fields and pathway leading to Broadwater. Here the officers were joined by Lieutenant Henderson, the Commanding officer of the station, and a most desperate affair began. Lieutenant Henderson, the moment they rushed upon him, ordered his men to fire, which they had scarcely had time to obey, when they were closed upon, and knocked down by the bats of 20 or 30 men, who continued to lay on most unmercifully, till they had completely incapacitated them from molesting them further.

Of the smugglers, William Cowardson was found dead in the field; one man was found shot through the thigh; another in the foot; while a forth had had his shoulder laid open by a sabre wound. Several men were carried off in a disabled state, by different individuals who were awakened by the conflict; but as yet no one has been apprehended. On the part of the Coast Guard, the following wounds were received:-Lieutenant Henderson had his left arm broken; in two places, his ear cut op en, and his head and body much bruised, Parrot, one of the men, has a rib broken; Clarke, his breast bone fractured by a stone which struck him as he was getting over the wall. The ither men were also maimed in some way or another. An inquest was held at the Anchor Inn, on Thursday evening, J.L.Ellis Esq., coroner, upon the body of William Cowardson, and, after an examination of different witnesses, the jury found a verdict of “Justifiable Homicide” and expressed themselves completely satisfied that the conduct of the officers was completely authorised, and in a high degree honourable to them, on account of their intrepidity.

Brighton Herald.

Ref: The Times, London 27 February 1832.

Wreck 1829

Cromer Coastguard StationWreck 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.


The Lighthouse Focus -Lighthouse Focus [Vol 9]

Inspecting Committee. 1863.

Dublin Nov. 26.

The Rev. Dr. Romney Robinson, Astronomer Royal, has addressed a letter to the Inspecting Committee of the Ballast Board on the Lighthouses of Ireland, which he has recently inspected. He bears testimoney to ye perfect cleanliness, order, and discipline which he found in all the 38 lighthouses which he visited and in the dwellings attached to them. The most critical eye, he says, could find nothing to blame, and the keepers and their families, with scarcely one exception, might serve as patterns of what Irishmen may become under a system of judicious kindness combined with just and firm control. In some of the wild island stations the snugness of the houses contrasts strangely with the savage desolation around them, and must do so more powerfully in the gales of winter. Dr. Robinson states in a note that, when leaving Gola Sound, though the gale was much abated, the waves were 20 ft. High, and of such power that they made a clear sweep over the Stags of Arranmore, 45 ft. above the sea level. Dr. Robinson looked at those abodes with the eye of a Christian and a benevolent man. In case of illness in rough weather it might be days before a medical man could get out to one of the lighthouses. He therefore recommends that each lighthouse should be supplied with a medicine chest, with remedies for ordinary maladies—such as cold, dyspepsia, or diarrhoea. Another great privation to the families on those lonely rocks is the want of education for their children, and Dr. Robinson suggests the establishment of a school in Dublin for their special benefit.

Irish LightsHe also says:- “With respect to the optical part of your lighthouses, I was glad to see how largely you use the dioptric system.I was not prepared to find it so extensively employed in the Irish lights. Of its superiorty to the catoptric I have no doubt.”

Dr.Robinson tells the Ballast Board that they are not properly appreciated, and he had himself but a very imperfect idea of the enormous amount of work they do and do well.


Ref: The Times London 28 November 1863.


 Coming in April Edition.

The Coastguards and the Balbriggan Lifeboat.






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To donate to the RNLI, simply call 0800 543210 or visit
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