The Coastguard Cutter Vol 7 No10

The Coastguard Cutter
October 09 Edition
Vol 7 No. 10.

"The Lady Margaret"


Hello Friend,

In 1838  William Darling, the Longstone Lighthouse keeper, and his daughter Grace, rescued  four men and a woman from the "Forfarshire" wrecked near the Lighthouse. Their rescue captured the attention of people all over the country.They were both voted the Royal Humane Gold medal. Unfortunately Grace Darling died of consumption in 1842. William the father of nine children died in 1865.


The Wreck of the Water Lily. 1859.

An “Eye Witness” from Fort William Harbour, near Dundrum, gives the following.

“Having been an eye-witness of this wreck I consider it only my duty to make known to you and the public the brave acts of the men who rendered assistance to the ill-fated brig The Water Lily, of Dublin, from Liverpool, bound for Lagos, which came ashore at Dundrum. A heavy gale was blowing , Henry Boyd, Commissioned Boatman of the Coastguard with his crew of two men, and three other men (not coastguards) were immediately on the rocks. They made the most daring efforts to reach the wreck, but had not proceeded far when the boat was swamped and the brave crew washed out of her. They managed,

however, to get her back on the beach, and when she was cleared of the water they made a second attempt. When she was again swamped and stoved in. The fearless crew made for the beach and launched a second boat. The case seemed a hopeless one, but encouraged by their brave leader (Henry Boyd), entered the boat, which had not gone far before it too was swamped, and left the poor fellows struggling in the sea.. A forth attempt was made with the same results The cries and screams of the wives and children were heart-rending during this misfortune.

Captain Ridge, R.N. and Lt. Goslin, R.N. arrived at the scene and rendered every assistance in getting the boat on the beach, and when it was cleared of the water these brave fellows were encouraged by the 2 officers and a fifth attempt was made. These determined men, after so many attempts, succeeded at last in reaching the wreck, and took from her into their boat 8 persons, including the wife of the captain, who seemed more like a dead woman than a living one.

When this little boat, with her wearied load, was approaching the shore, a heavy wave came and dashed her against the rocks, and immediately she went to pieces. The witnessing of these poor fellows battling with the waves was heartrending; and were it not that the people on the beach caught hold of each others hands, extending as far as possible into the water, and grasping those who were carried up by the waves they must all have been lost. Henry Boyd, who stripped himself to his flannel drawers and his shirt, struggled hard with the waves, having the captain’s wife in one hand, and managing as well as he could with the other. He was fortunately grasped by one of his countrymen, Mr.M’Ginn, when in a state of complete exhaustion; but even in this condition he held a death-grasp of the captains wife, who was senseless. He told this broken-hearted woman, when she was taken into the boat, that he would endeavour to save her, and he fulfilled his promise. When she recovered she recollected what Boyd had said and thanked God for saving them all.

The names of the crew were as follows:- Henry Boyd, Commissioned Boatman, John Leary, and James Abrams: Thomas Savage, John Carr, James Poland, not coastguards. I have it on good authority, that Henry Boyd has the third time been instrumental in saving lives of individuals”.

Ref: The Irish Times 20 December 1859.

Pretty Wedding at Crookhaven. 1908.

Rock IslandAt Goleen Protestant Church on the 18th inst. By the Rev.C.W.F. Rogers, a pretty wedding took place. The contracting parties were E G W Hill, of Newcross Road, London, to Florence Byres, second daughter of H.J.Byres, Esq. Chief Officer of Coastguards, Rock Island. The bride was given away by her father, who wore full dress uniform. The bride looked very pretty in a  charming traveling costume made of cream serge, and was attended by her sister, who also looked very pretty in a nice cream coloured dress. The duties of best man were efficiently performed by Robert Byres, the brides brother, who attended to everything in his own genial manner. As the bridal party, which consisted of Mr. and Mrs Byres, Mrs. Hill. Miss Byres, W.G.Byres, Sutherland, left the church they were greeted  by a large concourse of people. During the day a number of congratulatory telegrams were received. At night the countryside was ablaze with bonfires and a magnificent fire work display also took place at Crookhaven. A most enjoyable dance was also held at Rock Island, which was largely attended by gentlemen from the Marconi , and Lloyd’s, Browhead, and also gentlemen and ladies from the Irish Lights,Rock Island, and from Goleen and Crookhaven. The presents were numerous and very beautiful.

Ref: The Southern Star. 29 August 1908.

Recent Drowning Accident at Rosslare. 1906.

Rosslare Station and BatteryWe much regret that in the report of the recent drowning accident at Rosslare, published in our issue of Saturday, an unjustifiable imputation was made against the Coastguards. Having received two letters from eye-witnesses of the incident we hasten to give the proper facts. On Thursday afternoon two young fishermen, named O’Connor and Furlong, who had been fishing in a small flat bottomed boat, attempted to land on the beach at Rosslare. There was a high sea running, and the boat capsized, both men being thrown into the water. Immediately the Chief Officer and Coastguards launched their boat, and rowed to the rescue. The first man to be taken into the boat was Kehoe, who was fallaciously reported to have been the sole rescuer. The latter had gone to assist the fishermen, but he himself was evidently in difficulties. Then Connor, who was clinging to the upturned boat, was taken out of the water, and subsequently Furlong, who was washed out by the tide some thirty yards, was recovered. The Coastguards brought the three men ashore, and it should be mentioned that within the space of twenty-minutes after launching the boat the men were landed and being treated. Kehoe and Connor quickly revived, but for over two hours the Coastguards, under  the direction of Dr. Martin, who was the only doctor on the spot, endeavoured to restore Furlong to animation. Finally, however, Dr. Martin pronounced life extinct. It must also be mentioned that blankets, towels, Hot water bottles, and other necessary articles were supplied by the wives of the Coastguards. The rescuers deserve much credit for the manner in which they effected the rescue, and again we express our regrets that the real facts connected with the incident were not revealed in the previous report.

Re: The Irish Times 31 July 1906.

Irish Proverbs

Its often a persons mouth breaks his nose.

You'll never miss the water till the well runs dry.


UK CG NewsCoastguard News from England

Loss of ‘Francis’ 1844.   

Conflict between the Coastguards and Wreckers. We have received letters from Llfracombe announcing

the loss of the brig ‘Francis’ of Whitehaven. From Belize, in the Bay of Honduras, last from the Cove of Cork and bound for London, which took place on the night of Tuesday, by the vessel running ashore on Marlhoe Bay about 6 miles west of the Coastguard station at Llfracombe. The brig is laden with a cargo of mahogany and dyewood, and is so much embedded among the rocks, that in all probability before long she will go to pieces. At about 8 o’clock on Wednesday, about 200 wreckers of a most desperate character, made their appearance on the beach, to plunder the wreck: however their motives being communicated to Lt.John Coleman, the Chief Officer of the Llfacombe Coastguard station, he met them with his small party of men, and drove them back, but not before they had a severe conflict, in which the wreckers got the worst of it. The vessel is reported to be fully insured. All hands were saved.

 Ref: The Cork Examiner 17 April 1844.

The Lighthouse Focus -Lighthouse Focus [Vol 15]

Rescue by Grace Darlings Father. 1860.

William DarlingThe Trio, of this port was wrecked on the Fern Islands. The sea ran so high and the wind was terrific that the crew were afraid to take to their boat. The men therefore, jumped into the waters and were washed up on the rocks. He boat was blown on the rocks and split down the centre. The men were about 12 hours on the rock, the sea being so high that no boat could possibly put out to rescue them. Towards evening when the storm had abated, a crew, headed by James Darling, the father of the heroine Grace Darling, who had been watching the wreck all day, put out a boat from the Longstone Lighthouse, and rescued the men.Old Darling is now 75 years of age; is hale, hearty, and energetic still; and has been superintendent of the Longstone Light for a period of 50 years. The captain and crew of the Trio speak most reverentially, as well they may, of the brave old light-keeper.  (Arbroath Guide)

Ref: The Irish Times 15 October 1860.

A Gallant Lighthouse Keeper. 1911

        Sir, We the undersigned, on behalf of the crew of the steam trawler Hector, of Swansea, which was wrecked on Straw Island, Galway bay, during the gale of the 4/5th of November will feel much obliged if you will give us room in the column of your paper to express our gratitude to the lighthouse keeper Mr. B.R.Jeffers for the valuable assistance and hospitality rendered us on that occasion. We had been laying at anchor in Kilronan Bay for 8 days during which it had been blowing hard and on the 4th the gale increased to a hurricane, which prevented our skipper who had gone ashore to get provisions to bring back to the ship. We proceeded close to Kilronan and dropped our anchors. While attempting to keep her from dragging, the wire hawser attached to our anchors fouled our propeller, rendering the engines useless. We made signals of distress and Longstone Lighthouse4although there were 4 trawlers of our own class and one large steamer, and a Coastguard station in the vicinity they were unable to render us any assistance. One trawler, the Picton Castle, did try, but had to abandon us to our fate. We then tried to launch our own boat but had to give it up owing to the ship bumping heavily. We then got on life-belts and observed Mr. Jeffers coming along the rocks with his lifeline and his two dogs. The ship being 150 yards from the shore, we then threw overboard planks and barrels, etc, which would help us ashore, and then jumped into the surf and began swimming, and drifting towards the rocks, where Mr. Jeffers had come out into the surf at great personal risk, having himself been knocked down by the heavy seas on two or three occasions , and used his lifeline to our great advantage. One of his dogs, Rover, a big shaggy sheepdog, also entered the water and caught one helpless man by the clothing and dragged him ashore. We were in an exhausted condition  but on reaching the lighthouse we were soon provided with dry clothes and hot drinks. Mr. and Miss Jeffers doing everything in their power to make us comfortable. We remained at the lighthouse all night, and on the following day were able to get ashore to Kilronan. Had it not been for the timely aid thus rendered, no doubt most of us would have perished as no other assistance could have reached us until the next day.

            Yours, etc. A.A.Douglas Mate,  W.H.Hook  Chief Engineer.  G.F.Dillon  Second Engineer. Nov.14.

Ref: The Irish Times 16 November 1911.

 Coming in October Edition.

Coastguards on the right track.






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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