The Coastguard Cutter Vol7 No7

The Coastguard Cutter
July 09 Edition
Vol 7 No. 7.

"The Lady Margaret"


Hello Friend,

The coasts of Co.Antrim and Co.Down are no strangers to gales and shipwrecks.



Torr Head StationAltough the Grateful is described in press accounts of her stranding near Torr Head as a trawler, there is good reason to believe she was employed on war service.Snow, and gale, made conditions when she was driven ashore just 100 yards from Lloyds Signal Station late in the evening of 25th. March 1916. The station telephoned the Portrush lifeboat secretary, but when he called the crew out it became apparent there was a reluctance to leave the harbour in the high seas running. When the Torr Head coastguards arrived on the scene, they too felt it suicidal to launch their small boat, and at 2.40 a.m. another phone-call was made to Portrush to try to turn out. The harassed secretary eventually rounded up enough men prepared to go with five volunteers from Portstewart. The Portrush lifeboat eventually arrived at 9 a.m. only to find the nine crew of the Grateful had been rescued by the coastguards at 6.20 a.m. As can be imagined, this incident caused quite a furore in Portrush and district, but one point that was made was that when the lifeboat did put out more than six hours after the original call, the swell had moderated somewhat and first light was dawning.

Ref: "Shipwrecks of the Ulster Coast" by Ian Wilson. p.126

Schooner ashore in Belfast Lough. 1893.

Gallant Rescue of the crew.

During Saturday night and yesterday a gale of great violence accompanied by snow storms prevailed in Belfast Lough. Shortly after daylight broke two schooners were observed in evident distress beating into Belfast lough, and the Coastguard at once saw that they were in great peril of running on the rocks. About 8 o’clock one of the vessels, the name of which could not be ascertained but which is believed to belong to Foy near Falmouth, stranded while the tide was on the ebb. About the same hour the coastguards of Bangor observed signals of distress coming from a second schooner which was drifting on the rocks near Carnalea. Cables were put into use, and fortunately proved equal to the immense strain put on them. The Coastguards got out a boat from Groomsport in a terrific gale, and in trying to reach the schooner the boat capsized  and the occupants were thrown into the water. Some exciting scenes were witnessed but the gallant officers succeeded in adjusting it again, and the second attempt to launch it was successful. The whole of the crew were rescued after considerable difficulty.

Ref: The Irish Daily Independent. Monday 27 February 1893.

Bangor Monday   (Extract, lifeboat details omitted) 1893

The lifeboat crew were praised, having spent a whole day without a bite of food from morning laboured till into the evening and one of the crew “in addition to all this, had left his wife at home in a dying condition”

The vessel is scarcely a stones throw from the mainland and the rocks. Too much praise can not be bestowed on the Coastguards for their untiring and gallant efforts during the trying day. As soon as the two schooners were observed to be in danger all the available men from Groomsport, Orlock Point, Helen’s Bay and Bangor were ordered to the scene of the occurrence. The Helen’s Bay men seeing the frightful risk of drowning incurred by the crew of the stranded vessel did not wait for the arrival of the lifeline. They heroically put off into the midst of the boiling surf in a small boat, and when capsized they undauntedly made a second and successful attempt to reach the ill-fated ship. Before, however, the now overloaded boat could reach the shore it was again overturned and all the occupants were left struggling in the water. It is little short of marvellous that all escaped with their lives out of this adventure. The scene was witnessed by a considerable number of the residents of this locality, who, it may be said, rendered the Coastguards all the assistance within their power. Chief Boatman Govan, of Bangor, deserves a word of praise. In the effort to rescue the crew he was frequently up to the waist in the water, and encountered imminent personal danger. As the evening advanced it became clear that little hope could be entertained of saving the stranded vessel. The vessel was the ‘Mary Farley’ of Fowey.


Ref: The Irish Daily Independent. Tuesday 28 February 1893.

Nautical  Terms


The entire ship's company was required to witness flogging at close hand. The crew might crowd around so that the Bosun's Mate might not have enough room to swing his cat o'nine tails.


A butt was a barrel. Scuttle meant to chop a hole in something. The scuttlebutt was a water barrel with a hole cut into it so that the sailors could reach in and dip out drinking water. The scuttlebutt was the place where the ship's gossip wes exchanged

 Revenue Fleet NewsRevenue Fleet News
Belfast Chronicle
We understand that a Revenue Cruiser is immediately to proceed around the coast to take on board a quantity of cutlasses and pistols which have been in the Coasguard Service. Every man in that Service is now to have a carbine, and amongst every three, one pistol, instead of each having one pistol: one cutlass and one carbine, as formerly. It is rumoured that the Government is afraid of the country people making the attempt to get them into their possession.
Ref: Dublin Evening Mail. Wednesday 29th.August 1832

UK CG NewsCoastguard News from England

Kingsbridge Wrecks. 1838

Kingsbridge, 29 November 1838. Last night the officers and men of the Coast-guard stationed at Bigbury Bay observed a quantity of timber floating in the bay, and by daylight this morning it became evident that a ship had been wrecked during the night. It was a Belgian brig, L’Euphrasie, outward bound, all hands perished. From daylight this morning the Coastguards and the villagers were busily engaged in gathering up the fragments of the wreck, and  about 11 o’clock in the forenoon were horror struck at seeing another vessel, a fine brig, making direct into the bay, with her sails tightly clewed up, at the mercy of the waves, which were running mountains high; in a very short time she was on Bantham Bay, about half-tide and very near the shore, but such was the raging of the sea, that nothing could be done for them, the poor sailors taking to the rigging, and every wave dashing over them; out of 11 hands, only 3 were saved. One of the poor fellows saved told me that she was the fine brig Barbara, of Newcastle, Capt. Nicholls, 265 tons, with rapeseed and oil, from Kertsch in the Black Sea bound to Falmouth, to wait orders. He informed me they had been 10 weeks at sea, and last evening at about 4 o’clock they made the Lizard. Shortly after this the captain was washed overboard, but with great exertions was got on deck again where he lay until the ship struck, quite insensible ; the chief (the captain’s brother) was drunk during the whole night, the captain lying on the starboard of the quarter-deck insensible from injuries received as above, and the mate on the larboard of the quarter-deck insensible from drink, consequently there was no one to manage the ship. It is needless to observe that captain and mate met a watery grave. The vessel is gone to atoms, nothing saved.

The greatest praise is due to the officers and men of the Coast-guard at Bantham for their exertions in saving the lives of the 3 survivors.- West of England Conservative.        

Ref: The Times, London. 14 December 1838.

Preventive Boat Upset. 1819

Hyde CG StationSunday morning last, at half past three, a boats crew belonging to the Preventive station at Hythe, in Kent, consisting of Lieutenant Edward Fayerman, RN and six brave fellows, were unfortunately upset at sea, by two of the men getting to leeward of the boat, when all were left to the mercy of the waves. One poor fellow of the name of Hall, in labouring to save his Commanders life, lost his own. It was with great difficulty the crew were saved, being completely exhausted, having been in the water nearly half an hour. Lt. Fayerman was brought to shore completely insensible, and had it not been for the skilled exertions of a surgeon on the shore, he could not possibly survived as he was for two hours to all appearance dead.

Ref: Freemans Journal  Thursday 9 September 1819.

The Lighthouse Focus -Lighthouse Focus [Vol 13]

A Lighthouse knocked down by a Steamer. 1892

An accident of an extraordinary character occurred yesterday morning in Belfast lough. It appears that the screw steamship ‘Medway’, with passengers and general cargo from Bristol. At the hour of 2.20 a.m. (Scotch time), when steaming up Belfast Lough, aame into violent contact with No.2 lighthouse, one of these recently erected in cinnection with the Victoria Strait channel scheme, the force of the concussion being so gteat as to cause the structure to topple right over. The lighthouse-keeper, James Cooke, and his three sons, Robert, Arthur, and ernest, were inside. Immediately after the disaster the steamer was stopped, and a boat was lowered, into which the mate, Mr.Passmore, and two sailors at once jumped and rowed to the floating wreck, where two of the lads faces were noticed at one of the windows. The mate at once smashed the glass, cutting his arm severely in the operation, and, passing in a boathook, rescued two boys who proved to be Robrt and Arthur. A few minutes later the father was also dawn out and all three were as quickly as possible brought on board the ‘Medway’. It was found that the father’s head, however had been badly smashed, and in ten minutes he died from the effects of his injuries. The two sons quickly recovered. As soon as it was discovered that another lad was in the lighthouse efforts were made to reach him ; but thi was found to be impossible, and the steamer proceeded to Belfast. It appears that when the accident occurred all the persons in the lighthouse were in bed, and when rescued they had scarcely any clothing upon them. A boat proceeded to the scene of the accident which is somewhat over three miles from the Queen’s Bridge, they found the house itself completely separated from the supports and floating about 50 yards away from the latter. They very quickly broke open the planks on of the the sides , and after a short search, recovered the body of the youngest boy, Ernest, who was about six years of age.

The weather had been very thick, blinding showers and a strong breeze, and no person on board seems to have seen the lighthouse or its lamp. Mr.Cooke, the lighthouse-keeper, was aqbout 50 years of age.

Ref:  The Times London, 19 November 1892.

Shocking Accident on a Lighthouse. 1912

Wexford Man severely injured.

Fog GunThe Central News correspondent at Ballycastle telegraphs  -  A Lighthouse Keeper on Rathlin Island was cleaning the fog gun on the evening of the 13th inst. When it exploded with great force a charge having apparently been left in the gun on the last occasion on which it was used. The man whose name is Denis Duff, had one of his arms blown off, and was badly burnt about the face. There is no doctor on the island and Ballycastle is nine miles distant so that the man might have bled to death had not the homeward bound White Star liner ‘Megantic’ chanced to be passing at the time. A signal was made to the ship requesting the services of a doctor, whereupon the liner promptly stopped and sent medical assistance ashore. Duff, after his injuries had been attended to, was removed to the ‘Megantic’s hospital and conveyed to Liverpool. The injured man a native of Faythe, Wexford, and much sympathy is felt with him in the shocking accident he has met with.

Rathlin Lighthouse

Ref: Wicklow People Saturday 20 July 1912.



 Coming in August Edition.

Raid on Dublin Stations






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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