Coastguard Cutter

The Coastguard Cutter 2.3

-> Tony on July 03 2014
The Coastguard Cutter 2.3
June/ July 2014. Issue 3.

P261., An Incident at Howth. 1916. Co.Dublin.
A Police man said he would like to draw attention to an incident which took place at Howth when the gun-runners assembled to the number of 1,000 or 1,200. The Coastguards at Howth endeavoured to do their duty and prevent the carrying away of arms, and one coastguard was struck on the head with a rifle, and a Volunteer held his revolver to the breast of four other coastguards and threatened to fire if they endeavoured to send a message for assistance. The Chief Officer found that the wires had been tampered with, and had to send a coastguard in plain clothes with a message to Dublin.. The police who attempted to occupy the pier were stopped by a number of men who had drawn themselves across it , and were armed with heavy clubs hanging from their wrists with leather thongs and the police were powerless to do anything.

Reference; The Irish Times 3 June 1916.

LX251. Comment by Special Correspondent on Reserve Fleet Manouvres. 1895.

H.M.S. Warspite, Lough Swilly. 6 August. (extract)
“It was a curious sight each string of boats, after they put off from their own ship, towed down to the rendezvous. The steam pinnace or picket boat headed each string, and then each boat according to her size, each boat being fastened to the next boat’s head with a rope her own length, which as each boat aided the steam boats efforts with her oars, each string of six or eight or ten moving craft, looked like some huge centipede crawling along. All the larger boats carried a three, six or nine pounder and some, machine guns, mounted on the bow or stern. It was odd to see among the weapons with which the crews were armed, old-fashioned boarding pikes and tomahawks side by side with quick-firing guns and magazine rifles; but doubtless they would play some part in a scrimmage now, as in the old time.
I noticed among the officers in charge of the boats a good number of the elderly gentlemen who are dug out of the Coastguard Stations at this time of the year to come afloat and play at being capable of a midshipmans duties. This is one of the make-believes of the manouvres. These old gentlemen are Chief Officers of the Coastguard, a position once invariably held by lieutenants, who in these posts found a comfortable substitute for promotion and formed a reserve of useful officers in times of war. Now the Chief Officer is a Coastguardman whose age and long service have brought him into a position analogous to that of the warrant officer. Excellent men they are, no doubt, in charge of a station, and comparatively cheap, which is, after all, a consideration ; but afloat, acting as midshipmen in charge of boats, or carrying messages and performing other duties requiring youth, elasticity, and nimbleness of body, they appear to me to be somewhat of a fraud.

Reference; The Times, London 8 August 1895.

LX29 ‘Countess of Arran’. 1842. Co.Sligo.
In January 1842 an emigrant ship limped into Aranmore Roads. The ‘Countess of Arran’ had been seven weeks at sea in mid-winter on her voyage from Liverpool to New York. Damaged and short of provisions, she turned back, finally being driven ashore first on Rutland and then on Duck Island. Fortunately the rising tide floated her again and she was brought alongside the “Union Store” one of the warehouses by Rutland quay. The Coastguards stated that they had never seen a more horrible sight than the condition of the passengers. Most were from the Manchester area but there were two Irish orphans, girls aged 13 and 14, from near Longford. Mr. Mitchell, Chief Officer of the Coastguards, rose magnificently to the crisis, filling his house – despite his own large family – and accommodating and feeding many more in the Watch House.
The blame for the sorry affair was squarely apportioned to Captain Eakin, incompetence personified, a former shore employee of the owner and incapable of correct navigation. After much bureaucratic stalling, for no relevant fund existed, £30 was allocated by Dublin Castle for relief, £3 going to reimburse Mr. Mitchell. Many of the unfortunates were returned via Derry to their English homes they had thought never to see again. As for the orphan sisters they were looked after by a Coastguard and happily, returned home safely with the aid of their Parish priest.

Reference; ‘Donegal Shipwrecks’ by Ian Wilson.

Q31. The Loss of the THAMES. Board of Trade Enquiry. 1869. Co.Antrim.
On Tuesday, the investigation into the loss of the “Thames”, on the Island of Muck, was resumed. --- A witness stated that during the evening of the 9th., the captain was going up and down the ship, swearing and cursing at the men. – shortly after the ship struck on the rocks. She was backed off, and ran on the soft mud near Larne, when she was boarded by the Coastguards.--- Michael Twomey, the chief boatmann of the Larne station was examined, and stated ‘ that on boarding the vessel he found three of the crew drunk. One man was lying on the forecastle, nothing on him but his trousers. Broken bottles were lying about in all directions, and the man’s head was all cut. The captain was quite sober, but apparently greatly excited. Two other Coastguardsmen were examined and corroborated this statement. After which the enquiry was adjourned.

Reference; The Belfast Examiner 18 February 1869.

Q50. Greystones Awards. 1912. Co.Wicklow.
A very interesting event took place at the Coastguard station, Greystones, on Saturday evening, when Lord Justice Cherry and Mrs. Cherry presented some members of the Greystones life-saving apparatus men with medals, so long expected, which were specially struck for the occasion. The rocket house was decorated with flags and bunting by Chief Officer Grahame and his men. In presenting the recipients with the awards, lord justice Cherry said the number of lives saved at Greystones was 211, which he thought was very creditable, considering that it was not in the line of ocean going ships. Some time ago, when a ship fired the distress signal, only eleven minutes elapsed until every soul was on terra firma. Lord Justic Cherry, assistrd by Mr.Dudley White, K.C., pinned on the medal, and said that he was surprised to see by the list that three of the crew had actually an unbroken service of 44 years each ; they were Edward Archer, James Doyle, and Richard Doyle. He was specially proud of these three gallant men, who were never once absent when the boom of the distress gun was heard, and who were fully deserving of this great honour. The recipients of the nedals were – Edward Archer, James Doyle, Richard Doyle, Osborne Spurling, Charles Kearns, James Lawless, Andrew Martin, James Evans, Alfred Farrell, and charles Evans. Captain Thomas, R.N. Superintendent of Coastguards, in thanking Lord Justice Cherry for presenting the medals, said that these men, by the long, meritorious, and gallant services, had deservedly received recognition by His Majesty.

Reference; The Irish Times 18 May 1912.

Q69. CATHERINE ROBERTS. 1873. Co.Donegal.

In 1873 the Welsh Schooner, Catherine Roberts, had come from Workington with coal for Dunfanaghy, but was unable to cross the bar and anchored off the pier at Downings, then just built. A north- westerly gale caused her anchors to drag and she took the ground half a mile south, opposite the Rosapenna Hotel. The Costguards Chief Boatman Mr.Barrow and four of his men earned great praise from a watching throng for bearing down on the schooner in their little rowing boat and plucking off her three-strong crew. We must not forget Mrs.Barrow “who gave them a complete change of clothing and a hot breakfast, which they stood in great need of.”

Reference: “Donegal Shipwrecks” by Ian Wilson.

L83. Frederick Corry, Chief Officer of Coastguards at Cleggan Bay, Galway, wrote to the Board of Public Works in August 1831 ‘pointing out the distress of the poor and recommending the construction of public roads, as well as the encouragement of the fisheries, by erecting piers, supplying fishermen with boats and nets, and by setting up small salt stores along the extreme shores of Conemara.’ The Board’s response was that Corry’s ‘Suggestions [were] without any specific application. No funds available.’

Reference: ‘List of applications which have been referred to the consideration of the Board of Public Works by order of His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant for grants of money for specific works, as well as for general relief and other objects which are beyond the powers of the Board to act upon’, National Archives of Ireland, OP974/145. (Roger Willoughby)

Q116. Stations Cost. 1863.
A vote was taken in the House of Commons to defray the cost of erecting the Coastguard stations round Ireland, including that at Dalkey. The vote was proposed, as Irish votes generally are, at ten minutes past two in the morning of Friday. Mr.Lygon objected to the large sum, £950, allotted for each Coastguard station, and was met by the familiar reply that other stations previously erected had cost more. At that hour of the morning Mr.Lygon would not divide the House.
We think it is real economy to build the Coastguard stations in the best manner and on the most approved plans, The accommodation given to the men in the old stations was miserable in the extreme. The men will be comfortable, and have abundance air and space in the new buildings. But a vote of this kind should not be introduced at ten minutes past two in the morning when most of the Irish representatives had departed. No explanation, much less any discussion upon the vote, was possible at that hour.

Reference; The Irish Times 13 June 1863.

K48. Wreckers and Plunderers.
Wreckers and plunderers were to be found on all of the coasts of the British Isles. On the Cornish coast wrecking and plundering were prevalent – even into the twentieth century. On 7th.March 1901, the Dutch ship ‘Voorspoed’ ran aground in a gale at Perran Bay, Cornwall. She was carrying a general cargo and is listed as one of the last wrecks to be plundered in Britain. The Dutch Captain said later” I have been wrecked in different parts of the globe, even in the Figi islands, but never among such savages as those at Perranmount”. This ship, incidentally, was refloated but on her next voyage, to Newfoundfoundland, went down with all hands.
If the ‘Voorspoed’ was one of the last ships to be plundered in Britain, Ireland can claim a much later occurrence of plundering. In 1934 the owner of a ship stranded off the Co.Donegal coast claimed damages in court from the County Council and was awarded £660 in compensation for the plundering of his vessel.

Reference; “Tales of the Wexford Coast” by Richard Roche.

G68. Saved by the Captain’s Wife.1840
Co.Kerry The brig ‘Alarm’ of Pool, 219 tons, Thomas Stewart, master, coal laden from Swansea for Limerick, out 6 days put into Dingle Harbour on Tuesday 14th.inst., with loss of bulwarks and sails, and boat stove. She had a very narrow escape of being totally wrecked on Inch Bar, with, probably, the loss of the lives of all on board. In fact, her escape was the most providential of any remembered by the oldest person on the coast. We must not omit mentioning a remarkable instance of female fortitude and cleverness which occurred on this occasion. The crew were so exhausted by their laborious exertions in pumping, etc. that on approaching the harbour at Dingle, not a man on board was able to stand at the helm which was heroically taken by the captain’s wife, who was fortunately on board, and the vessel was, under Favour of Providence, safely steered by her into port. Captain Eager, of Minard, a magistrate and agent for Lloyds, had a party of police in attendance to offer a protection to life and property; and the Coastguard stationed at Minard under the orders of Chief Boatman Mann, and those of the Lack station, under the orders of Chief Boatman Townsend, were also promptly in readiness with efficient assistance. (Kerry Post)

Reference: Morning Register Wednesday 22nd. January 1840.

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