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Bravery Awards

Coastguard Bravery Awards

Awarded to WILLIAM ROE, Boatman, H.M. Coastguard, Minnard, County Kerry. Voted 24th.December 1828.
This medal was authorised in 1824, the first medals being presented in 1825.

On the night of 7th.-8th. December 1828, in stormy weather, the Belfast brig Veronica was driven ashore on the sands outside the Inch Bar in Dingle Bay, Co. Kerry , Ireland while on passage from Liverpool to Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A. The vessel soon became a total wreck and a crew and a passenger, mountainous seas breaking over them, were forced to take to the rigging. It was impossible for rescuers to get near her and after a short time the wreck was driven into deeper water, where it sank with her mainmast gone and only her foretop mast out of the water, with all the survivors clinging to it.
The Coastguards four-oared gig was launched and got clear , but filled with water and had to be baled out. Still the crew of the gig managed to reach the Veronica and take on board the brig's Master, Mate, 2nd Mate, Carpenter, 13 Seamen and the passenger. The gig was then paddled to the shore, a journey lasting some 2 1/2 hours, which ended with the gig being overturned and everybody having to be rescued from the surf.
The brig Veronica, 329 tons, was built at Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1824, and was owned by Morland of Belfast. She ran a regular service between Liverpool and Charleston, South Carolina, returning to Liverpool with cargoes of cotton. The rescue of the crewmen and passenger resulted in the award of five silver lifesaving medals to boatmen from the Minnard Coastguard Station.

Silver Medal awarded for the rescue of the crew of five of the schooner "Ann and Elizabeth" which was wrecked off Youghal whule bound from Newport to Youghal.

3rd April 1891. At great risk rescued the crew of a ship from drowning at Ballygally, Co. Antrim.
On the 7th May 1902 three ladies were bathing in the sea at Bonmahon, Co. Waterford, when they were swept out 50yds from shore into 10feet of water. Shaw swam out and rescued one of them, and on going out a second time was carried away and drowned. Holmes then went in and brought the second lady in, but she was dead when landed. Sarsfield succeeded in saving the third lady.


On the 25th July 1906 a boat capsized in a rough sea at Ballysodare, Co. Sligo. One of the crew became entangled in the gear and could not free himself. Smith jumped overboard from a boat which had set off to the rescue, and at great risk freed the man and succeeded in saving him.

The SHIPWRECK SOCIETY have voted Lieut. C.D. WARREN their silver medal and a pecuniary reward for his crew for saving the sloop BAMF in a heavy gale of wind, October 18.

The Lords of the admiralty have been pleased to express their high approbation of the gallant conduct of Lieutenants T .MACNAMARA and G.DAVIES of the Coast Guard in saving the lives of seamen wrecked in the gale of the 13th.of December.



A Coastguard Boatman, JAMES DILLON, played the leading part in saving the entire crew of 18 from the ship, "Calypso" which ran aground in a gale on Niger Point, just outside Arklow. The crew were saved using ropes and DILLON won a Silver Medal for his bravery.

Awarded to PATRICK McNAMEE, Boatman, H.M. Coastguard, Dunmanus Bay, Co. Cork. Voted 16th. January 1851.

On 13th. December 1850, whilst on passage from Quebec, Canada, to Newport, Wales, laden with a cargo of timber, the ship Mountaineer got into trouble and drifted towards rocks in Dunmanus Bay, Co. Cork. Next morning, 14th. December, Lieutenant GOSS launched the Coastguard whaleboat through thick haze, tremendous thunder and lightening and into a strong gale wind, to proceed to the ships assistance.

With the wind blowing up the bay, initially Goss was at a loss as to which side of the ship to go down with the lifesaving apparatus. A party sent to the north side of the bay then reported the Mountaineer to be within 40 yards off the rock of Dunrnanus Point. Lieutenant Goss in1mediately went there himself ( a distance of 9 miles) with the lifesaving apparatus, and was abreast of the ship about 5pm.

He resolved with his men (Patrick McNamee among them) to attempt to rescue the crew and, in a local boat, succeeded in getting alongside the ship. Lieutenant Goss, McNamee and the other rescuers were then hauled aboard the Mountaineer, whereupon their own boat was smashed to pieces and sank, taking with it their spare clothing and Lieutenant Goss's sword

Finally, Lieutenant Goss and his men managed to sail the Mountaineer to safety and run her aground on soft mud, so saving the Master, Mate and 26 crew. The rescue of the crew of the Mountaineer resulted in the award of one gold and five silver Lifesaving Medals to Lieutenant Goss and the men of Dunmanus Coastguard Station.

Here in Wicklow the Coastguards were originally based on the Murrough and were involved in many shore rescues. Shortly after it setting up here, Lieutenant Dabine R.N. succeeded in rescuing four crewmen from the schooner "Jane", which was wrecked on Wicklow Head on 2nd.March 1831, by means of a line connection. He was later awarded the R.N.L.I. Silver Medal in recognition of his bravery .

The Freman"s Journal of Saturday, December 1st. 1838, reported the following Coastguard assisted rescue.

On tuesday, November 27th. 1838 at about 11.30 a.m. a ship was seen off Wicklow Head. At the time there was a strong easterly gale blowing causing heavy seas accompanied by heavy rain. The vessel which was in great distress, was the French brig "Le Nouveau Destin". She was a smuggler en route from Loucon to the Isle of Man under master MI . Joullard with an illicit cargo of brandy and rum.As she passed one mile off Wicklow Harbour, a rescue attempt was made by five men in a small rowing boat. Despite the pleas of family and friends ashore, the boat put out into the gale. The men rowed desperately to reach the stricken vessel, which was being driven further north. In the ensuing confusion the rescue boat was seen to capsize off Five Mile Point and its five occupants were tossed into the sea. Three of them managed to swim ashore, but two, Merrigan and Carter were lost.

The brig finally came ashore at Six Mile Point and almost immediately began to break up. From the shore, Captain Jones the Chief Officer of the Coastguard witnessed the happenings and mounted another rescue attempt. On arriving at the scene, Jones tied a rope to himself and attempted to swim to the vessel. After repeated attempts, he finally reached the foundering brig and the crew of six were successfully brought ashore"

For his efforts, Captain Jones was awarded the R.N.L.I. Silver Medal for bravery plus £2 on February 21st. 1839. The seven coastguard men who assisted were awarded ten shillings each (50p ).

Wall Board in Clogherhead Station.

1826. Silver Medal awarded to THOMAS LAMB WOOD, Chief Officer, Coastguard, for rescuing crew of fishing sloop.

1837. Silver Medal awarded to R.K. THOMPSON, Chief Officer, Coastguard, for rescuing two of the crew of the sloop "Isabella" which was wrecked on Clogher Head.

1839. Gold Medal awarded to R.K.THOMPSON, Chief Officer, Coastguard, for rescuing crew of four of "Minerva" wrecked near Drogheda.

1852. Silver Medal awarded to A.BERNARD, Chief Officer, Coastguard, for rescuing crew of brig "Fidelity" which was dashed on the rocks at Clogher Head.

1852. Silver Medal awarder to A.BERNARD, Chief Officer, Coastguard, for rescuing crew of schooner "William Pitt" wrecked at Clogher Head.

'As used by many Services'


George IV issue in silver. Mr.HUGH COOPER. Voted 4 April 1861.

Mr.HUGH COOPER, Chief Boatman in charge of the Dingle Bay Coastguard Station who with three others saved two men from the barque 'Florence Graham' of Liverpool which during a strong gale of wind, was wrecked on Inch Strand, Dingle Bay on 24 January 1861.

George IV issue in silver. HENY SMYTH Voted 7 Feb. 1856.

Silver Medals awarded to HENRY SMYTH, JOHN AHERN, DONALD GREY, DANIEL REGAN, WILLIAM COX and the Second Service Clasp to DENNIS DONOVAN of the Kilmore Coastguard Station, in Testimony of their gallant conduct in a boat in rescuing at the imminent peril of their lives, the crew of six men of the brigantine 'Exile' of New Ross on the 22 October 1853. A Coastguardsman named JOHN BARRETT, who was in the boat at the time, had since died, and the Committee voted £2 to his widow.

George 1V issue in silver. THOMAS D. WARDER Voted 3 Sept 1857

From Salcombe Lifeboat Station, Station History; Silver medals awarded to coastguardsmen, WILLIAM WEDGE, JAMES TURPIN and DAVID WARDER for putting off in a small boat and rescuing at great risk of life two out of three persons who had been capsized from their boat on Bantam Bar on 27 August.


J.B.TUCKER Commissioned Boatman Coastguard 11th July 1882 River Liffey, Dublin

C.BRADY Waterguard H.M.Customs 5th August 1890 Dublin

BIRCH,B. Coastguard. 4th.August 1865. Cultra, Ireland.

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