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Crew of the Schooner Peggy Saved, 13th Oct 1891

Shortly after embarking from the Tyne, in darkness and laden with coal, the Peggy met an easterly gale off Seaham and turned back to the Tyne to seek shelter. On entering the river at 8.30pm in hurricane force winds, she struck the Black Middens rocks below the Brigade Watch House. The crew of 5 men were rescued by the TVLB, who were ready at the scene with breeches buoy equipment.

This rescue produced a notable hero, Coastguard George Edwin Hoar, who was awarded the Albert Medal, which was the precursor to the George Cross and instituted by Prince Albert in 1866. Hoar was also made the first recipient of the Tynemouth Medal, a gallantry honour initiated by a witness to the rescue and which is still awarded to lifesavers locally today.

After four of the crewmen were hauled ashore, one remaining young man, Frank Whittet, lay injured on the ship with a broken leg. He had twice fallen from the rigging while attempting to reach the breeches buoy and had been tied to the mast for his safety by the other crewmen.

Breeches buoy tackle

Coastguard Hoar volunteered to be put in the breeches buoy and sent to the ship to recover Whittet. But this was not a simple task. Having got to the ship and assessed the situation, he signalled to be returned to shore. He explained that the rope was too high in the rigging and that he would go back and signal to have the rope slackened, so he could be lowered onto the deck and retrieve the man.

When Hoar returned to the ship, he lifted Whittet by wrapping him in his arms and legs and then dragged him across the deck to where they could disembark. He then signalled for the rope to be hauled back.

All this was achieved in horrendous conditions and pitch darkness. On the return, they were carried up in raging waves and then thrown down against the rocks as they were pulled over a distance of 150 yards. At any moment Whittet could’ve been torn away from Hoar’s grasp and drowned.

Painting by James Gilbert, artist, Founder Member of TVLB and first Coxswain of Tynemouth Lifeboat.
Painting by Michael Smith of Cullercoats.
Early design of a cork and canvas lifebelt. Recovered from the wreck.

Thank you to Brigade Chairman and Historian, John Wright, for help in curating this information.

The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade need support in order to continue to their vital work keeping people safe on our shorelines. Please consider a donation here: justgiving.com/tynemouth-vlb 

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Tynemouth
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Stories from the TVLB
Stories from the TVLB
Tynemouth
Volunteer
Life Brigade
Collection
Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade logo
Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade logo
Stories from the TVLB
Tynemouth
Volunteer
Life Brigade
Collection

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