The Coastguard Cutter Vol7 No6

The Coastguard Cutter
June 09 Edition
Vol 7 No. 6.

"The Lady Margaret"


Hello Friend,

Like all large organisations worldwide, the Admiralty had a list of Priorities. In certain cases they were Economical ones.


Fresh water too expensive. 1886

Knightstown PumpMany landlords regarded the Coastguard stations as a heaven-sent blessing, not hesitating to make all that they possibly could out of the Admiralty. A bad case of this, although unhappily only one of very many, was the drinking water of the Roche’s Point Coastguard station in 1886, when it was admitted that the water yielded by the existing well was so brackish that it was practically impossible to drink it, and that the fifty-one persons in the station were compelled to collect rain-water and boil it to make it fit to drink. The Admiralty admitted quite frankly that the state of affairs was most undesirable, but pointed out that all efforts to sink a new well during a number of years had failed because the rent asked was absolutely prohibitive.




Ref: “His Majesty’s Coastguard” by Frank Bowen.

Water supply.

Most stations were rented from the owners. ThePorballintrae CG Pump boathouse and watch-house at Hope Cove, Devon, were rented from the Earl of Devon at a rent of £2 a year. He also received another 10s. a year for the use of his land on which the Coastguards had erected a flagstaff. Accounts for the year 1891 showed that this rent had been unchanged since the original agreement had been signed in 1813. this station does not appear to have had a water supply, for in 1890, as a result of the Earl extending the water pipes to some of his cottages on the coast, he offered to supply the Coastguard station at a charge of £8 a year. The Admiralty agreed somewhat reluctantly but informed the Earl that 'payment will cease if at any time the water supply fails'.


Ref: 'Coastguard'  by William Webb. p 45.

CG Water Tanks

Wreck of 'Tigris' 1866.

At 3 p.m. on Friday the schooner ‘Tigris’, of Falmouth, bound to Liverpool came ashore at Blackwater Head, Co.Wexford, and soon became a wreck. The crew took to the rigging, where they remained until the mast fell at midnight, when they took refuge on the deck. At daybreak they attempted to land by means of the rocket line which had been thrown across the vessel the previous evening, but failed, with the exception of one man, who tied the rope around his body and was hauled to land by the people on shore. Although there is a Coastguard station within a few yards of this wreck, there was no rocket apparatus nearer than Curracloe, and by the time that was brought to the spot it was too dark to be of any use, although they succeeded in throwing a line to the vessel.

The nearest lifeboat station is at Caborg (Cahore?), 12 miles distant, the lifeboat from which arrived too late to be of any use. There is not the smallest doubt that the whole of the crew of this vessel would have been saved had there been a rocket apparatus at Blackwater station; or even had a good boat been kept there, a crew could have been got to risk their lives, but no boat of any description was available. It is now intended to abolish this station altogether, which will leave an extent of coast of 12 miles, just inside the dangerous Blackwater Bank without a Coastguard station.

Ref: The Times London 27 March 1866.

Co. Clare Assizes. 1837

Tuesday, Second day:  William Elwell was indicted for assaulting Cuthbert Cheyne, and snapping a pistol at him, with the intent to do him bodily harm, at Doonbeg, on the 25th January last.

The facts of this case were these – A party of the Coastguards, to which Cheyne belongs, were in charge of a wreck at Doonbeg, at which the prisoner was placed as tidewaiter. The prisoner complained of the inattention of the men, and on the night in question he stole a stave of oak, for the purpose of proving it. The sentry, however perceived him, when the prisoner told him he had stolen the stave, and ought to be taken prisoner : the guard replied very well, and brought him to Cheyne, when some scuffle occurred, Cheyne endeavouring to take the stave from Elwell, when Elwell took a pistol out of his pocket and snapped it at Cheyne.

Four of the Waterguards were examined, every one of whom gave a different account of the transaction : and his lordship in charging the jury went through the evidence, and told them it would be quite impossible to bring any verdict but of acquittal . Not guilty.

Ref: Freemans Journal  Saturday 4 March 1837.

 Irish Wit and Wisdom

It is sweet to drink but bitter to pay for

Beware the anger of a patient man.


UK CG NewsCoastguard News from England

Smuggling near Portreath. 1830

On Monday morning, 48 tubs of brandy and 16 tubs of gin, were lodged in the St.Ives Custom-house stores, by the Coast guard stationed at Portreath. The spirits were captured the preceding night together with a boat. It appears the boat came from a small sloop rigged vessel which was seen on Sunday hovering off the coast, and the persons on board were in the act of landing the cargo within Hell Bay, about 3 miles west of Portreath, and which is bounded by terrific cliffs, termed Hell’s Mouth. Mr.Mortly, the officer of the Portreath Preventive Guard, with three of his men descended these cliffs at the imminent hazard of their lives, as a single false step would have precipitated them down the precipice, which is about 50 fathoms in height, and at the foot of it they came upon the smugglers, when the boat, and two of the crew were secured. It appears the smugglers had resolved on making a desperate resistance, as two of the Preventive Guard who had been at Hayle, and were proceeding to join Mr.Mortly and his party, were encountered near the summit of the cliffs by eight smugglers, who were armed. Shots were exchanged and the Preventive men were overpowered, one of them named Rice, having received a ball in the thigh. Rice lies ill at Gwithian, to which place he was carried, and is under the care of Mr.Angove, surgeon, of Hayle, by whom the ball has been extracted.

Ref: The West Briton Archive  2 April 1830.

 Carnegie hero Fund award. 1923

At Brighton Police Court yesterday, Police-sergeant David Morgan, Coastguard Stevens, and Boatmen Rolf, Parnett, Watts, and Ward were placed on the Roll of Heroes of the Carnegie Fund, and awarded  a framed certificate and cheque for £10 each for bravery in rescuing persons from drowning from the wreck of the Rosebud, a barge which came ashore in a storm in December last at Brighton,  Boatmen Bennet and Redman were each awarded a framed certificate. Morgan and Stevens made unsuccessful attempts to reach the wreck with a lifeline, and the six boatmen then launched the boat and, after severe buffeting, rescued three men from the barge.

Ref: The Times London 9 November 1923.

The Lighthouse Focus -Lighthouse Focus [Vol 12]

Plucky Rescue of a man who jumped into Sea. 1922

The lighthouse at the East Pier, Dun Laoghaire, was the scene of a strange drama on Sunday evening, when people in the vicinity were horrified to see a man jump from the Battery at the lighthouse into the harbour. Another man, however, who had endeavoured to prevent the first man from jumping into the sea, was observed to leap to his rescue, and succeeded in holding him above water until both men were rescued by the steam launch of the L. and N.W. Mailboat.

The events leading up to the scene were related to a Freeman’s Journal reporter as follows :-  Shortly after 8 o’clock on Sunday evening, Patrick Healy, assistant lighthouse keeper at the East pier, Dun Laoghaire, was found in his quarters there by the chief lighthouse keeper bleeding from a wound in his mouth. The injured man asked that a priest be sent for, and the Rev Fr.Cahill arrived shortly afterwards, as did also Dr.Merrin, Dun Laoghaire. Before the doctor, came however, Healy suddenly rushed out from his quarters, bleeding from a wound in the right wrist and climbed upon the battery. The chief lighthouse keeper followed and struggled with him, but despite this Healy jumped into the harbour. The lighthouse keeper then jumped in, as previously stated, and the man was rescued. He was immediately removed in the ambulance to St.Michaels Hospital where he was treated by Dr.Hardy, house surgeon. He was found to be suffering from severe wounds to the right wrist, and the top of his tongue had been cut off. The wounds appear to have been self inflicted. The mans condition is stated to be critical. A blood-stained razor was found near his quarters, Healy is aged 47 years.

Ref: Freemans Journal 3 October 1922.

Royal Humane Society Award. 1912

Bronze medal and certificate to Stephen M’Mahon, keeper of the Blackrock Lighthouse, Sligo Bay, for his gallantry in saving T.M’Loughin, whose boat had been capsized in the heavy surf about 200 yards from the lighthouse on July 8.

Ref: The Irish Times 12 October 1912. 

 Coming in July Edition.

Co. Down and Co. Antrim Items






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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