The Coastguard Cutter Vol 7 No8

The Coastguard Cutter
August 09 Edition
Vol 7 No. 8.

"The Lady Margaret"


Hello Friend,

Many of the Coastguard stations were attacked and burnt down between 1920 and 1922. In a number of cases no serious damage was done.


Irish Times 6th.September 1920.

Ringsend Coastguard Station raided.

Last night a number of men stated to number about a hundred, armed and masked, raided the Coastguard station at Ringsend, Dublin and took away about 6 revolvers, some ammunition and a quantity of bandoliers. They quickly went off and have not been discovered.

Irish Times 1st.July 1921.

Friday. Yesterday morning an attempt was made to burn Ringsend Coastguard Station, Dublin.

Coastguard Station set on fire by raiders.

Considerable damage by fire was done yesterday morning to the Coastguard Station at Pigeonhouse Road, Ringsend, Dublin. It appears that shortly after eight o’clock a party of armed men entered the building and intimated that they were going to destroy it. The coastguards were given time to get out their families and remove their furniture. The interior of the station was then sprinkled with petrol and set on fire..Immediately afterwards the raiders left. The Dublin Fire Brigade were summoned to the scene at 8.30 am., and the Tara Street section attended, but found on arrival that the flames had been extinguished by the coastguards. Considerable damage had however been done to the station and contents before the outbreak was subdued.

The official report of the outrage issued yesterday is as follows :- This morning a number of civilians set fire to the Coastguard Station at Ringsend. A constable observed smoke issuing from the building, summoned the Fire Brigade, and the flames were speedily extinguished. But not before considerable damage was done.

Enniscrone station attacked. 28 August 1920


Previous to the attack, small groups of two or three men were passing up and down the roads and paths around the Coastguard station which is an isolated building. It is practically certain that ther were many men hidden around. It is estimated that at least 150 men took part in the raid, of which only about six were masked. The Coastguards stated that they think the actual raiders came from Sligo and Tubbercurry, and that local men were only employed as scouts.

The attack commenced at about 21.15 hours when the groups of men on the road jumped over the wall and secured the guards without any noise. Three men then came in the gate and ran to the nearest door, where two got behind the door, and one held up Mrs. Livermore with a revolver, who thereupon screamed. The Petty Officer and three men were all that were left, as the others were in the town off duty. The Petty Officer rushed down stairs, told the man to put down his revolver and then found that he was held by the two men behind the door.

The raiders then took the others except one who was firing out the windows. They then drew off and told the Petty Officer to order his men to stop firing, but he refused to do so. He was finally stopped by one of his own men, who was told that they would all be shot, if they shot any of the raiders. In all seven shots were fired, four by the Coastguards and three by the raiders. One of which was fired at Mrs. Livermore. The raiders took out a little of the furniture, and broke open all the packing cases of the married families which had been sent to Buncrana that day.

They then collected all the arms and ammunition which they could get, and set the place on fire. At the time of the attack, the Coastguards men were split up in the various rooms and so were separated. Three cars were used, a lorry being in the centre with the loot. Both of the other cars had men in. Before moving off the cars showed a green light. One of the raiders said the following words to the Petty Officer “We must hurry up as I have to walk to Sligo”.

The leader was about 5’10” in height, wore apparently fake glasses, and was round shouldered. The second in command was about 5’2” and was much stouter. The Coastguards think the men came from Sligo or Tubbercurry.

The driver of the lorry wore a civilian cap and overcoat, but underneath was a British Officers uniform with Sam brown Belt and ribbons. They could not tell what the ribbons were, his nickname was Bat.

List of property taken:-

  • 2 Ross rifles.
  • 2 Lee Metford Long pattern. 
  • 9 Pistols (Webley long)  
  • 3 service Cutlasses.
  • 2 Telescopes.
  • 3 Pairs Ross Prismatic Binoculars.
  • A Chinese double handed sword taken at Taku in 1900.

Nautical  Terms

Cut of His Jib

Warships many times had their foresails or jib sails cut thinly so that they could maintain point and not be blown off course. Upon sighting thin foresails on a distant ship a Captain might not like the cut of his jib and would than have an opportunity to escape.


A measure of six feet used to describe the depth of water.

 Revenue Fleet NewsRevenue Fleet News
Extensive Smuggling Transactions. 1850.

On Sunday last about 1 o’clock p.m. Lt. John Allen, Commander of the ‘Prince of Wales’ Revenue cutter, fell in with a vessel called the ‘Sea Flower’, of Hull, engaged in the smuggling trade, which is believed to be extensively carried on here.

The smuggler was boarded about 100 yards off Hasboro’ light vessel and upon searching here was found to be laden with 122 bales of contraband tobacco, 50 lb. each being about 6,000 pounds in all; the duty of which would amount to upwards of 90L.
On Monday morning John Coxon and Samuel Jones, who were found on board, were brought before the magistrates. The vessel and cargo will be confiscated, and will therefore prove a most valuable prize to the officers and men engaged in the capture. 
Ref: The Times, London Monday 27 May 1850.


UK CG NewsCoastguard News from England

The Wreck of the "Royal Adelaide" 25th Nov 1872.

The iron sailing ship ‘Royal Adelaide’ was Australia bound when she left London on the 14th November 1872. Eleven days later she lay wrecked off Chesil Beach, her master having misjudged his course in heavy weather as he attempted to seek the shelter of Portland Roads, for which mistake his certificate was later suspended for twelve months.

Carrying almost 70 crew and passengers and a mixed cargo (which included a large number of cases of spirits) the ship was seen to be embayed in the West bay and driving towards the shore. Those on the beach were powerless to assist until the Royal Adelaide struck and they were able to get a line on board. A cradle was rigged up and the rescue began. It was a dramatic night-time scene, the Chesil Beach, close to Portland illuminated by tar barrels and blue lights while a crowd hundreds strong looked on. Shipwreck news spreads fast and spectators arrived via the trains of the Weymouth and Portland Railway. All went well until one elderly passenger could not be persuaded to trust herself to the fragile line linking ship and shore. The ship began to break up; the line was lost and the few on board were swept away and drowned.


If the rescue had enthralled the watching crowd, the cargo thrown up by the dying ship was to excite them even more and wholesale looting began. The cargo contained a fine array of goods which were son spread out along the shingle – everything from hats and gloves and boots to herrings, hams, tea, coffee and figs. Despite the efforts of the Coastguards, police and military much of the cargo disappeared into local homes – and gardens where stolen goods were buried to escape the searching eyes of the law enforcement officers who called in the days following the wreck. Roll call in local schools showed many absences as children joined their treasure-hunting parents at the scene.

Sadly, the tubs of spirits were to add to the death toll of the ‘Royal Adelaide’. Many helped themselves liberally to the brandy and gin casks as they were washed ashore and fell asleep on the cold Chesil pebbles. Friends and neighbours were too busy gathering up cargo to take much notice but by the following morning four locals, one a lad only 15 years old, had been found dead, killed by a combination of drunkenness and exposure. The bones of the ‘Royal Adelaide’ still lie close to Chesil Beach, a ship destined for the other side of the world which got no further than the Dorset coast.

The Lighthouse Focus -Lighthouse Focus [Vol 14]

Lighthouses.  To the editor of the Irish Times.

Sir,-Having read your article in yesterdays issue, relating to the proposal of Sir Wm.Thompson, on the subject of Lighthouses, I think the following particulars will help the necessity there is for the adoption of his suggestions. On Christmas night of last year, the ‘Confidence’, a vessel coal-laden, from Cardiff  to Waterford, ran ashore here, quite adjacent to the Lighthouse, became a total wreck, and but for the prompt action of the Chief Officer and men of the Coast Guard service, together with ready and willing help from the people, who had been assembled, her crew must certainly have been lost as well. The explanation of the unfortunate occurrence was that the Captain in his distress had mistaken the lights on shore here, for those of Cork Harbour, thus causing the loss of his vessel and cargo, and the imminent danger to the lives of himself and crew.

I remain, sir, yours faithfully. 
 J.Lacy.The Strand, Youghal. 11 December 1879.

Ref: The Irish Times Wednesday 17 December 1879.

Weather for 1944 D-Day landings. 

“Probably the most significant historical episode was that of local man Ted Sweeney, a Lighthouse keeper and corporal of the Irish Coast Guard. Sweeney’s jurisdiction was off Blacksod Bay, Co.Mayo, an area in close proximity to international shipping lanes, which, during the war was alive with submarines and German U-Boats moving in Irish waters to evade detection. Sweeney, whose wife Mairin still resides in the area, played a part in D-Day.

Blacksod LighthouseThe Allies, with boats ready in the Atlantic, had set previous dates for the invasion, but weather had hampered their plans. They needed up-to-date weather forecasts, Sweeney detected a clearance in the weather, this information was channelled to the Allies and the date was set for D-Day – June 6th, 1944 – as a result of his forecast.

Huge quartz stones were painted with IRE and a sequence of numbers which gave the Allied airplanes their bearings as they flew from the US over Ireland.”

Ref: The Irish Times. ‘Discover Erris’ p.23.  4 June 2009.

 Coming in September Edition.

Sad Incident at Ballyheigue






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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