The Coastguard Cutter Vol7 No5

The Coastguard Cutter
May 09 Edition
Vol 7 No. 5.

"The Lady Margaret"


Hello Friend,

A Coastguard or a Lighthouse Keeper will always have a woman in the home to help when things go horribly wrong.


Ballintoy boating tragedy. 1894

The Giant Causeway Guides were returning from their annual trip to gather spar from the caves at Kenbane Castle – this would later be displayed in small boxes and sold to the tourists on the footpath down to, and on the Causeway stones during the summer months. On board were John, Hugh and James McLaughlin accompanied by Robert Hutchinson. A young boy named John McFaul whose parents lived at the Causeway took advantage of the boat ride home and was a passenger. There was a swell running which was producing a sizable roll on the sea, closer inshore it was producing breakers. As they approached Bock-an-Stewart a large swell wave broke and they were caught on the inside – the wave capsized the boat and flung everyone into the water. John Mc Donald , who was manning the Coastguard station , had been watching the progress of the boat across the bay and had witnessed the accident, he immediately rushed down to the harbour and was joined by John Jarrett and James McNally (Coastguards) along with Bryan O’Rourke and Richard McKay (Fisherman). They quickly launched a boat and headed out into the breakers. Due to their skill and great courage they were able to rescue John and Hugh McLoughlin along with Robert Hutchinson, all three were still holding on to the upturned boat which was amongst broken water and close to the rocks but there was no sign of James McLoughlin or young John McFaul whose lives the ocean claimed.

Ref: Coleraine Constitution 7th.April 1894

Ireland - Jeremiah Nagle and others in the Coast-guard involved in dangerous rescue. Melancholy Accident - Bray, Dec 22 1843

I have again to record a most melancholy and fatal accident off this shore : - A boat, belonging to Mrs Cuthbert, of Bray, manned by two brothersa of the name of Archer, Green, John Whelan, and Lynch, returning from Kingstown, where they had been fishing for herrings, was upset about a mile from the shore, opposite No.2 Tower. It is supposed she was under a press of sail. William Callaghan, boatman of the coastguard, was on the look-out at the Tower, and immediately on seeing the catastrophe, and with most praiseworthy alacrity ran down to the shore, and, in conjunction with Archer, a brother of the unfortunate men in the vessel, succeeded in launching a shore boat, in which, at the imminent risk of their lives, they pushed off, and succeeded in rescuing Green. The other four poor fellows were consigned to a watery grave. The coast-guard galley also pushed off shortly afterwards, manned by Edward Kimberly, William Roose, William Cutbeard, Giles Sullivan, and Jeremiah Nagle, in the earnest hope of saving some more of the poor sufferers, but their efforts were unavailing. It is supposed that the men must have been entangled in the nets.

That their efforts were not unaccompanied with danger may be imagined from the fact, that Lieutenant Dabine, R.N., the chief officer of the coast-guard, in endeavouring to push off with some more of his men, was capsized, and to a merciful God must alone be ascribed the fact that he and his comrades were not also consigned to a watery grave. We are happy to hear he escaped with only some contusions on the back. Every one present bore loud testimony to the courage, daring and humanity of the coast-guard, by which, under Providence, is to be ascribed the life of one of their fellow-creatures. They have added another to the many proofs of their zeal, and have increased the debt of gratitude due alike to the officers and men by the people of this vicinity, and I trust their exertions will be favourably noticed by the heads of their department - Du –

Ref: The Times. 22 December 1843

Coastguard Station, Whitehead, Co.Antrim.

Whitehead CG StationA terrace of seven redbrick Coastguard cottages with dressed-stone trim, built in 1870/1 at a cost of £1,732.18.2. Each of the end houses has either two or three tri-angular oriels, incorporating carved stone pistol- loups and murder holes, and with additional upper-floor pistol-loups, commanding the approaches from every point of the compass.

Denis Mayne observes: “It would seem that all Coastguard stations built in Ireland between the late 1850s and the late 1870s incorporated these defensive measures. Besides the pistol-loups and murder-holes, the oriel windows were protected by bullet-proof metal shutters and the houses had intercommunicating doors which allowed the crews access to the whole terrace at a time of attack. I have always assumed that, as agents of the British government, coastguard personnel were perceived as potential targets, and the isolated positions of most stations was considered to increase their vulnerability … They are monuments to a unique group of men and their wives who lived in lonely places and experienced an uneasy and ambivalent relationship with the local population.”

Irish Wit and Wisdom

God's mill may grind slowly, but it grinds finely.

It's not a delay to stop and sharpen the scythe.

UK CG NewsCoastguard News from England

Smuggling. Old Bailey June 9 1821

James West, William Beere, William Richardson, Thomas Richardson, William Williams, and John Webster, were indicted for unlawfully and feloniously assembling, armed, with others, on the 23rd April last, at Hearn Bay, in the county of Kent, for the purpose of running uncustomed goods and also for feloniously shooting       at one Mr. Snow, a midshipman of his Majesty’s ship Severn, acting in the smuggling preventive service, contrary to the 52 Geo.111., c.143. s.11.

The case against the prisoners  depended  principally upon the evidence of three accomplices, named Griffiths, Smith, and Holman. Their testimony was that on the night of the 23rd April last, 60 persons had assembled at Hearn Bay, for the purpose of aiding and assisting in the landing of a large quantity of uncustomed foreign brandy and gin. Twenty of the party were armed with guns and pistols, with which they had previously provided  at a place called Grove Ferry. The rest of the party were to take upon themselves the office of unloading and carrying off, with three carts the cargo to be unloaded, whilst the armed men divided themselves into two parties to cover the landing. About three o’clock in the morning the landing was effected, Mr. Snow, the deceased, was going his rounds to speak to his men, who were stationed on duty, watching for smugglers. An alarm being given from the boat, the armed smugglers commenced firing. Mr. Snow snapped his pistols; but they did not go off. The firing then became very heavy, and the deceased was mortally wounded in two places. He fell on the beach. In the meantime the smugglers got off with their booty. Next day Mr.Snow died. ---- Several witnesses were called to prove that the prisoners were together at Grove Ferry at the night preceeding---Unexceptional characters for humanity and honesty were given to all the prisoners by a host of witnesses; and an alibi was set up for Webster.          

The jury retired for about half an hour, and returned all the prisoners, Not guilty.

Ref: The Times, London  11 June 1821.

The Lighthouse Focus -Lighthouse Focus [Vol 11]

No time to Faint. 1895

The following story is of an Irish girl, whose love enabled her not only to live in the lonely Chicago lighthouse, but to save her husband at the expense of great suffering. This Chicago light is at a place called the “Crib”, two miles out in the lake, and surmounts the massive masonry at the entrance  to the tunnel which receives the water supply of the city. One day in early winter the keeper was obliged to go on shore for supplies. A sudden storm prevented his immediate return; but he had no fear the lights would be allowed to go out in his absence. Two or three days later when the tempest had abated, though the waves still ran high, he made his way towards home as best he could. His wife was ready at the window of the tower, and drew up his little cargo with a rope, which she lowered again for him. At that moment his boat was swept from under his feet. Slowly and more slowly he was drawn up, till finally he was at the window’s edge – then a gust of wind caught him and tossed him back into the surging waters. Again the rope was thrown him, and after a while he managed to clutch it; and again up the side of that stone wall did the little woman painfully and slowly draw her The Cribhusband, tossed to and fro by the wind. Again he reached the window. A long, strong pull, and he was safe. As he climbed into the room, his wife fainted away, and he found her clothes worn through where she had braced her knees against the stone wall; her wedding ring was gone; her left arm was torn at the elbow. When she came to herself, and they could talk together, she explained that when he fell, her ring was pulled from her finger, and her arm was wounded.


“But”, said the heroine” you know there was no time to faint, and so I drew the rope up with my right hand and my teeth”.

Ref: The Irish Times  3 August 1895.

Heroism in a Lighthouse. 1911

Mother and Childrens Terrible Plight.

Paris, Tuesday. A thrilling story of heroism and devotion in a lighthouse is reported from Kerdonis, Belleisle-en-Mer. On april 18th last a lighthouse keeper named Matelot, while cleaning his lantern, fell suddenly ill, and his wife soon perceived that he was dying.

Leaving the children by the bedside of the dying man, she climbed the tower and lighted the lantern, descending just in time to close her husband’s eyes.. While she and the children were weeping at the bedside one of the children called out- “Mamma, the light is not turning”

Realising the danger that it would be mistaken for a fixed light, the widow remounted the tower, and, seeing that the mechanism was out of order, she left her two small sons there, the elder being hardly ten years old, to keep the light turning by hand all night, while she performed the last rites over the dead lighthouse keeper.. Thus the two heroic children, by exerting all their strength, kept the light revolving from 9 o’clock at night until 7 in the morning.

An appeal is being made to the public on behalf of the family, now in distressed circumstances.

Ref: The Irish Times  7 June 1911


 Coming in June Edition.

Fresh water too expensive.







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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