Coastguard Snippets


These are general snippets of information that I have come across in my searches, which I thought you may find interesting, I will add to them as and when I see more.  For some there are more details, denoted by a succession of dots …… I will be happy to send the full article to anyone who asks. 

29 Sept 1855 – THE FALL OF SEBASTOPOL – On Friday 21st, the dinner given by the residents and visitors of Sandown to the soldiers of the detachment and men of the Coastguard stationed there in honour of the successes at Sebastopol, took place at 2oclock on the green-terrace within the sea wall of the Battery, the present occupant of the delightful marine residence having gladly devoted that portion of the grounds to the use of the committee of management…… (IW Observer)

10 May 1856 – Coastguards relieved from service on board various ships of war at Portsmouth, arrived at their respective stations in the Isle of Wight, for permanent duty, on Thursday and Friday last, in place of the Pensioners, who were discharged on the arrival of the ratifications of peace and final termination of war. (IW Observer)

19 Jan 1861 .. BROOKE – A correspondent, signing himself “an officer in the Royal Navy”, writes in reference to the case reported in the Observer of the 5th inst., recording “the loss of a brigantine, belonging to Jersey, under the cliff near Freshwater-gate, when Donald MCLEOD, a Coastguardsman, lost his life by a piece of the cliff falling upon his head, while in the execution of his duty of endeavouring to assist crew of the said vessel, leaving a widow and a large family totally unprovided for, and for whom a subscription has been collected, chiefly through the activity and perseverance of a lady, which all here gratefully acknowledge, I beg to mention that, among others, a voluntary subscription of £2.10s. was made for the widow by the Battery of the Royal Artillery stationed at Fort Victoria, Isle of Wight.” (IW Observer)

27 Apr 1861 .. SMUGGLING AT BEMBRIDGE – At the County Petty Sessions, Commissioned Boatman Joseph HOCKADAY said he was on duty the night of the 3rd/4th, at 1 oclock near Rock Lane and met 5 men, one had a stick and the others were carrying tubs, he struck a blue light and he saw one was James WYATT of Brading, who let 3 barrels fall from his back …… (IW Observer)

26 Mar 1863 .. MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT – An accident happened on Saturday afternoon to a preventative man from the Lake station and his wife, in a small boat passing from Cowes to their station vessel.  It appears the unfortunate couple had, as was their custom, been to Cowes to purchase necessities and in crossing to regain home, a sudden squall upset the boat and though both were picked up by a boat that was near, they were dead when taken out of the water.   (IW Times)

7 May 1863 .. FOUND DROWNED – An inquest was held on the body of a man about 20 years of age, that was picked up on the 2nd by coastguard George BULLEY at Spring Vale …… about 11 days before he was picked up, coastguardsman HICKS  spoke to a man answering the deceased’s description, who said he could easily swim the distance of 5 miles to Portsmouth ……  (IW Times)

31 Dec 1864 .. ASSAULTED – At the County Petty Sessions on Saturday, George WILLIAMS a boatman, was charged with assaulting Thomas PITT, an officer of the coastguard at Ventnor, on the previous Sunday at half past 12 in the day.  Complainant was on duty at the time, but he was content to treat it as a common assault, when the defendent was fined 10shillings and costs. (IW Observer)

1 Jan 1866 .. INFANT FOUND IN CLOSET – On Sunday morning last, the body of an infant child was found in a closet belonging to the house of Mr WADE, coastguard, which stands on the cliff at St Lawrence.  An inquest was held at the St Lawrence Hotel …… Elizabeth WADE, the wife of George WADE, coastguard, said “we live at Orchards Bay, St Lawrence, which is used in connection with the preventative station.  It only consists of one house and no-one occupies the house but ourselves, a girl age 14 and a boy age 12” ……(Ventnor Times)

14 Dec 1867 .. SMUGGLING – George WEEKS, chief officer of the coastguard station, said on the 29th November, when at Colwell Bay, at 11.30, he saw a boat pulling towards the shore. There were two men in the boat, but the taller of the two men jumped out of the boat and ran away; the other tried to escape, but he captured him. He got into the boat and found several small tubs of brandy.  He had brought them from his father’s vessel, the “Annie.”  On that vessel they discovered 38 3-gallon tubs and six small ones, a large jar containg brandy and a French spirit guage…… (Observer)

12 Feb 1876 .. MEETING – A meeting of the Lifeboatmen took place at the Brook Lifeboat Station …… Mr ELLIS , officer of Coastguards was present …… the matter under discussion was the wreck of the “Mignonett”…… (Ryde & Ventnor Times)

29 Apr 1876 .. INCIDENT AT RYDE – An excess of zeal was the verdict, concerning an incident on Ryde esplanade, about action  taken by Coastguard WILTSHIRE, when well-known local resident and fisherman, Robert HAWARD , was seen handing some brandy to his son. (Ryde & Ventnor Times)

6 May 1876 .. UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF WRECKAGE – William ATTRILL of Bembridge was charged;   Mr George WEEKS said he was Chief Officer of the coastguard station, Bembridge and in the beginning of March last, a vessel laden with flour & c. and called the “Glenaray” was wrecked at Blackgang.  On 13th March he went on board a small vessel belonging to the defendant called the “Traveller” and asked if he had any of the wrecked flour onboard his vessel?  He replied that he had 8 to 9 gallons of it, with which they had been making puddings.  He told defendant to bring him the remainder on shore, which he had promised to do, but he failed to keep his promise.  The flour was valued at 1s. per gallon. – Defendant pleaded guilty and threw himself on the mercy of the court.  He was ordered to pay 16s. being double the value of the flour and costs of 5s.  (IW Advertiser, Ryde & Ventnor Times) *

12 July 1877 .. PEDESTRIAN FEAT – On the forenoon of Monday, one of the men named NEALE attached to the coastguard force at Ventnor, proved himself a good walker, and, what we suspect was more gratifying him still, the winner of a sovereign – this being the amount of a wager laid between himself and a gentleman visiting the town, that he could walk to Blackgang and back, some six and half hours each way, in two hours and a half.  The distance was performed by NEALE in two hours and a quarter, who therefore won the wager.  Who says a match will not be found for O’LEARY? – aye even in Ventnor;  (IW Advertiser, Ryde & Ventnor Times)  *

5 Apr 1879 .. BAPTISM – An unusual scene was witnessed in St Paul’s church, Sandgate on Monday morning. A coastguardsman was, at his own desire, was baptised by immersion by the incumbent, the Rev Francis J. Jones. A congregation, numbering about sixty persons, principally ladies, was present. The incumbent delivered a short and suitable address, and the Church of England form for the baptism of adults was used. At the appointed portion of the service the candidate, who was dressed in white coastguard uniform, was immersed in a large bath. (IW Advertiser, Ryde & Ventnor Times) * although not on the Isle of Wight, I would be interested to know who this was.

19 July 1879 .. DEATH IN ZULULAND – We regret to hear that Richard OLIVER, son of Mr OLIVER who was for many years connected with the Ventnor Coastguard Station — has succumbed to fever whilst serving with the Naval Brigade in the Zulu War. Deceased was about 19 years of age and since he had been in the Navy, had borne an excellent character. Much sympathy is felt with Mr OLIVER by those who know him, as it is not very long since his eldest son William, who was at Mr NICHOLSON’s establishment in this town, died rather suddenly. Mr OLIVER is now the Officer-in-Charge at Marshwood near Southampton. (IW Advertiser, Ryde & Ventnor Times) *

6 June 1881 .. On Monday evening one of the Coastguard men stationed at Fishbourne died with frightful suddenness.  It seems that he was near the boathouse talking to some gentlemen who came over from Southsea in a boat, when he dropped down without any warning and died.  No inquest, will, however, be held, as it seems the poor man had been attended for rheumatism and heart disease.  He was only 35 years of age, and leaves a wife and five children. (IW Observer)

17 July 1886 .. BOAT FATALITY – It will be remembered that on the 19th last, a coastguard boat was capsized off the coast of Dorset, when three men were drowned, amongst them being chief boatman NEWBERRY, a native of Shorwell, IW.  On Sunday last the body of the deceased chief boatman was found on the beach near Atherfield, by a fisherman named William COTTON, and was taken to Atherfield coastguard station.  It is most remarkable that the body of the unfortunate man, after being in the water for three weeks, should have been carried such a distance and washed ashore on his native Island, and in his own parish.  (IW County Press)

1 Feb 1890 .. WRECK OF SAILING SHIP “IREX” – One the the most disastrous wrecks which have occurred for many years …… the rocket apparatus arrived from Freshwater Bay and through the excellent management of the officer in charge, Coastguard Mr SPILMAN, the first rocket was fired from the inside of the Fort at 1.10, it was a spendid shot fired by Coastguard HALLET …… The brilliant and skilful handling of the rocket apparatus by Mr SPILMAN and his gallant corps of coastguards cannot be too highly praised …….. Coastguard MACHIN went off and brought a lad safely to shore ……(County Press) there are four large pages to this report, with other names mentioned.

8 Feb 1890 .. COASTGUARD HONOURED – Mr SPILMAN of the coastguard at Freshwater, is a native of Bembridge and his many friends here are pleased to hear of the honour bestowed upon him …… (County Press)

8 Feb 1890 .. On Saturday last by command of the Queen, the officers and men of the Coastguard who took part in saving the lives of the men of the Irex, wrecked in Scratchell’s Bay, attended at Osborne and were seen by Her Majesty who had witnessed some practice with the rocket lifesaving apparatus.  The rescued sailors were treated very kindly at Cowes, but there are still several men at Freshwater too ill to be moved.  (Observer)

19 Dec 1908 .. Plucky Coastguard – The body of the Coastguardsman, William Thomas COOPER, who was washed away by a large wave and drowned at Atherfield, on Thursday morning last, during a heavy storm, was recovered on Friday evening, a short distance to the westward of the point where the sad occurrence took place, by Coastguardsman KELLY.  The inquest was held at Atherfield Coastguard Station on Monday, before the Deputy Coroner for the Island (Mr. F. A. JOYCE).  Lieut. J. PRENDERGAST, divisional officer, was also present.  Evidence was given by KELLY as to the finding of the body, and Harry BEAZLEY, another Coastguardsman, who was with deceased at the time, the latter telling how he entered the water in an endeavour to save his comrade and almost lost his life.—A verdict of “Accidentally drowned” was returned, the foreman commending BEAZLEY for his gallant efforts to save his comrade.

9 July 1910 ..  ACCIDENT – A member of the force of coastguards stationed at Ryde, Henry JONES, met with a very serious accident on Saturday night. He was on the middle watch and it was his duty to walk along the sea wall until he met the coastguard from Seaview. The latter not meeting JONES at the expected place continued his walk along the wall examining the shore as he did so. On reaching the bend near Puckpool he found JONES amongst the rocks under the wall. The spot is overhung with trees and very dark and the unfortunate man missed his footing and fell over. He sustained injuries to the head and was removed later to Haslar Hospital.  (IW Observer) 

23 Aug 1913 .. SEAVIEW REGATTA – Coastguards’ Galley Race, 1 Sea View, WETHERELL, WILLIAMS, FROST, BARAGWANATH stroke, Lieut KIRWIN, RN. cox;  2 Bembridge, LEASON, SAINSBURY, ADAMS, BARTLETT stroke, PAGE cox;  3 Ryde, KENT, HINES, BENNETT, JONES stroke, GIBBONS cox.

13 Mar 1915 .. Inquest verdict on Petty Officer Herbert William WILLIAMS (formerly coastguard at Seaview IW in 1911) – Found dead in a small boat belonging to the Bayano. The Auxillary Cruiser Bayano was sunk by a German submarine off the Clyde on 11th March 1915.

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