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Lifeboat Service on 19th March, 1915

Mike Wilson, Local Author and Historian

Bridlington Lifeboat Service

18th/19th day of March, 1915

Date and circumstances of the case:

At 10.50pm on Thursday, March 18th, flares were seen in the Bay apparently two and a half miles south of Bridlington. I at once proceeded to Life Boat House and had the rocket fired for the crew and horses. We pulled the boat out by hand and proceeded along the South Beach leaving the horses to follow. We took the boat two miles along the beach and then awaited the horses. We then on getting the horses took the boat into the sea.

After going so far in we came at a sandbank, and had to cross. When we got into the water deep enough, our launching falls were not halfway to the shore and the men could not pull her off because they could not keep their feet. I had the boat brought in again and fastened more ropes to the falls. We then made another try and went further in.

The sea overwhelmed the boat, lifting her off her carriage, carrying away the main carriage wheel (starboard), also washing men off horses and horses off their feet. We saved one rider from the sea.

The boat being swept on we proceeded to the wreck. We got to the weather side of the wreck, lowered sail but were swept clean passed the vessel. We did our best to get back but it was impossible and took the beach three quarter miles past her.

It was impossible to launch again as we had no carriage. We stayed by lifeboat until 8am next morning when we were compelled to leave her and proceed home on foot.

Questions and answers:

1. Rig, name and port of vessel? Steam mine sweeper.
2. Name of master and owner? Under government employ.
3. Number of persons on board? Twelve.
4. Tonnage, and whether vessel loaded, in ballast, or how occupied, where from and whither bound? Not known.
5. Exact position where casuality occurred? Two and a half miles south of Bridlington.
6. Nature of casualty, collision or stranding. Did vessel become total wreck? If not, state what became of her: Driven on shore by stress of weather. Total wreck.
7. Direction of wind? E.N.E.
8. Force of wind? State whether 'moderate breeze,' 'strong breeze,' 'moderate gale,' 'stronge gale,' or 'whole gale': Hurricane.
9. Condition of sea? State whether 'smooth,' 'moderate,' 'rough,' 'heavy,' or 'very heavy': Worst possible.
10. Condition of weather? State whether 'fine,' 'thick,' 'rain,' 'snow,' 'cold' or 'very cold': Thick snow and bitter cold.
11. Time when signal was first seen or warning received? 10.50pm.
12. State of tide? Nearly low water.
13. Was information of casualty received by telephone or telegraph? If so, attach form containing the messsage, and those containing any other messages: By one of the Life Boat crew.
14. Were the adjacent stations informed of the action being taken by the Life Boat? Yes.
15. Time of launching Life Boat? About 1.00am.
16. Time of reaching wreck? About 1.30am.
17. Time of returning ashore: About 3.00am.
18. Time of returning Life Boat to Boat House? Brought into harbour Saturday afternoon March 20th.
19. Number of lives saved by the Life Boat? None from ship. Saved one horse rider.
20. Number of lives lost? Twelve from ship and one horse rider.
21. Was service done under sails, oars, or motive power: Both sails and oars.
22. How did the Boat behave? Well, but overwhelmed by sea.
23. By whose authority was she ordered out? Coxwain.
24. State how many hours the signalman was on duty: All night.
25. Was any damage done to the Boat? Extent of repairs required? Are they in hand? Small damage.
26. Were any stores lost or broken? Nearly all ropes lost and broken.
27. Amount, if any, of reward received locally or from elsewhere? None.
28. Will property salvage money be claimed? State amount, if settled: No.

Case of the Wreck of the Mine Sweeper 847 on the 18th day of March, 1915

State here the names of the crew of the lifeboat on this occasion, and the number of times they have been off in a lifeboat to a wreck, noting (in the third column) any special case of individual exertion.
Names of crew
1. Cox G. Johnson
2. Second Cox H. Hopper
3. Bowman H. Purvis
4. G. Johnson, Jnr
5. W. Broadbent
6. R. Crawford
7. R. Usher
8. T. Hutchinson
9. C. Jowett
10. E. Martin
11. J. Williamson
12. J. Saggs
13. R. Pashby

Details of expense: £ s d
1. Lifeboat's crew of 13 men at 30/- each man           19 10 0
2. 18 persons for assisting to launch and haul up the
    lifeboat at 9/- each person (not including signalman) 8  2 0
3. Allowance to signalman                                                12 0
4. Allowance to telephone messenger                             10 0
5. Allowance to person giving first information
(if any, vide regulations)                                                     7 0
6. The hire of 8 horses a distance of two and a half
    miles, at 15/- each horse                                             6 0 0
8 riders at 5/- for night                                                     2 0 0
1 foreman at 5/- for night                                                    5 0
3 shafts men 1/- extra                                                        3 0
Total                                                                           £37 19 0

We hereby certify that these Services were actually performed
Given under out hands this 21st day of March, 1915.
Alfred J. Parnell, Honorary Secretary
George Johnson, his mark X
The Secretary of the Royal National Life-Boat Institution

Remarks, etc., by the Honorary Secretary, or the Local Committee, on this service:
Crew returned and helpers after breakfast to secure boat and try and get the carriage on 19th at low water. Carriage was bedded in sand, wheel off, main axle broken, and eight horses could not move carriage, which was never clear of water. One horse fast (dead), had to cut legs off to clear it. We got horse clear but could do no more. Saturday the 20th I took crew and helpers along with eight horses and we launched boat from high water to low water on skids and took anchor into sea and when tide flowed got boat off and into harbour where she remains. I took six men on today, Sunday, sea being calm, to see if we could get any part of the carriage. We waded in and got shafts and a few other things. The rest of the carriage may be secured after disecting and digging out next spring tides. I suppose the Saturday and Sunday will be extra from the Thursday and Friday. Two horses were drowned. One ride rider drowned. One very ill. All ropes broken by trying to save carriage. Numbers of soldiers with officers did wonderful service along with civilians.