ALBERT EDWARD

1878 - 1884
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The 1st Lifeboat at Clacton on Sea arrived by courtesy of the Great Eastern Railway which then only came as far as Weeley, Essex. Named the Albert Edward it was then taken to the new boathouse which was built on a site donated for the purpose at the junction of Carnarvon Road and Church Road. The Hon. Architect of the RNLI C.H.Cooke, Esq. F.R.S.,B.A., designed the boathouse. The boat supplied was 34 feet long and 8 feet 3 ins. of beam and rowed 10 oars double banked. The Ceremony of dedication was held on 10th July 1878 after the boat had been in service for a few months.

Services

(from The Lifeboat Journal)

1878 May 23rd - Brig Garland, of South Shields, saved 9 The brig ‘Garland’, laden with 500 tons of coal, bound from South Shields to London, went ashore on the Gunfleet Sands, about S.S.W. of Clacton-on-Sea Pier in the early part of the morning of May 23rd. The wind was blowing hard, and although no signals of distress were hoisted by the brig (owing to her having none on board), the representatives of the local committee considered it necessary for the Lifeboat to put off to her, feeling almost sure that she would not come off the sands again, and the crew must leave her. ‘The Albert Edward’ was launched about 10am, reached the brig about 1pm, and found her fast filling with water and breaking up. About 3pm the crew, 6 men and 3 boys, abandoned her, and were safely landed at Clacton-on-sea, at 5pm. A large number of persons were on the pier to welcome the return of the Lifeboat. 1879 January 24th - Ship Hebe, of Frederickstadt, saved 14 On the 24th January, in reply to signals from Swin Middle Light Ship, the Lifeboat ‘Albert Edward’ put to sea, and proceeded in a S. direction, sighted a dismasted ship ‘Hebe, of Frederickstadt’ on the east end of the Swin Middle Sand, the sea making a complete breach over her. On nearing the wreck, the crew were seen standing in a group near the port quarter. The Lifeboat dropped anchor and veered down to the vessel. After seven attempts to get the crew, the boat having filled three times, she succeeded in taking 11 men on board. The ship by that time had altered her position, and as it was impossible to approach her again on account of the wreckage alongside, the remaining 3 men had to be hauled through the breakers by means of life-lines. After getting the crew on board it was found that the wreck had fouled the lifeboat’s cable; this, however, was slipped, and the Boat then made for the shore. The rescued men were much exhausted, more especially the captain, who had been injured on board the vessel before being hauled through the breakers. On the occasion of the launch of the Lifeboat, on account of the water being low, she had to be drawn some distance out into the sea before she could be launched, the heavy seas breaking completely over the horses and men in charge. 1881 January 6th - Barque Hertha, of Christiansund, Landed Captain and returned him The Lifeboat Albert Edward put off at about 5.30pm on the 6th January, in reply to signals of distress from the Swin Middle Lightship. The wind was blowing a gale from the East, and the sea was very heavy. On reaching the Lightship they learnt that a barque was ashore on the Maplin Sands. The Lifeboat sighted her at 8pm, but she could not get alongside until the flood tide made, when she boarded her, a brought the master ashore to telegraph for instructions, arriving at Clacton at 11am. The Lifeboat afterwards at the request of the captain, took him back to the vessel, which was the barque Hertha, of Christiansund in ballast. 1881 January 19th, Brigantine Hasselo, of Haguesund, saved 8 Signals of distress from the Middle Lightship were observed on the morning of the 19th January. The Lifeboat was launched a proceeded to a schooner which was found to be sunk with the lower masts’ heads out of water. As no one was on the masts the Lifeboat made for the Gunfleet, but did not find any vessel in distress; she then crossed the sand at the West Buoy and stood towards the Heaps, and spoke to a steamer steering E.N.E., which waved for them to go to the westward. Seeing nothing on the Heaps or Barrows she steered for the Middle Lightship, which reported three sailing vessels and a steamer on the Maplin Sands. On reaching the first vessel she was found to be abandoned. A signal was then made from the Maplin Lighthouse, the boat therefore steered in that direction and soon sighted a dismasted ship. On nearing her, at about 2pm, a group of people were seen standing on one of the deckhouses waving a flag. The Lifeboat made for her lee bow, the loaded cane was thrown to the crew, who seized it and hauled the boat’s cable on board. The sea was making a clean breach over the vessel, and some difficulty was experienced in transferring the crew from her to the Lifeboat; eventually however, this was safely accomplished. The vessel proved to be the brigantine ‘Hasselo’, of Haguesund, bound from Riga to London with oats. The crew, eight in number, had been on the deckhouse since noon on the previous day, and had not tasted anything for thirty-three hours. The Lifeboat fortunately had some spirits and biscuits on board, which were distributed amongst the men and for which they were very grateful. On returning to shore the Lieboat saw two other vessels, but it was evident that their crews had been able to get ashore. When about three mile below the Middle Lightship signals were seen going up from the Mouse Lightship; but as the cold was so intense and the crew of the brigantine were in such an exhausted state that they probably would not have lived through the night if the boat had gone to the Mouse, it was considered best that the boat should make for Clacton. The Lifeboat men had great difficulty in keeping life in the rescued men by constantly rubbing their limbs, and were much afraid that they would not reach land alive. They were, however, al safely landed at Clacton at about 4 o’clock the following morning, and were taken to a hotel, were their wants were attended to. 1881 October 14th, Schooner Ocean, of Goole, assisted to save vessel & 4 lives The Albert Edward Lifeboat put off at about 7.30pm on 14th October, in reply to signals of distress, during a very strong N.W. wind and very rough sea. After cruising about for some time the schooner Ocean, of Goole, was sighted ashore on the Maplin Sands; her sails were all adrift; she had lost two anchors and chains, and had five feet of water in her hold. Some of the Lifeboat men boarded he, pumped the water out, and with the aid of a steam tug she was brought to London, arriving at about 7 o’clock on the following morning, the Lifeboat accompanying her. 1881 October 23rd, Steam Trawler, Madeline of Boulogne, saved 16 At half past four on the morning of Sunday, the 23rd October, a coastguard man, on the look-out near the quiet little seaside town of Clacton, saw a signal rocket fired from the Gunfleet floating Lightship, which told of a wreck on the Gunfleet Sand and asked for a Lifeboat’s aid. The man ran for the Freemasons’ Lifeboat Albert Edward, which was stationed here about three years ago by the NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION, and the crew were got together, and the boat was run down the beach. The wind and tide were both dead against the boat, which had only oars and sail to propel it, but a steamer was sighted, which proved to be the Consett of Sunderland, whose captain kindly towed them as close to the Sands as he could with safety to his own ship, when he let them go, and they took to their oars. When within about twenty yards of the wreck, on the weather side, the dropped anchor; but a huge roller coming, lifted the wreck and carried it further on to the sand. They were obliged to pay out more cable, and were just successful in making connection by a line with the wreck when another roller lifted it and carried it quite out of reach. They had paid out all their cable, and it was therefore a question whether they should abandon the wreck or voluntarily encounter one of the greatest dangers to which a Lifeboat is liable, that of destruction by boarding on the windward side, and the crew unamiously, and with a ready courage which is beyond all praise, determined to risk this, in order to attempt the rescue of the foreigners. They therefore let go the cable, and the next roller cast there boat right on the deck of the vessel, which proved to be the Madeline, of Boulogne, a new steam fishing vessel, with a crew of sixteen hands. After some buffeting, breaking their rudder and a oar, and otherwise damaging their tackle, they were able to make fast to the side of the wreck, and the Frenchmen one by one jumped, fell, or otherwise pulled into the boat. One poor boy starved with the cold wind and drenching spray, fell into the sea, but was rescued with a boat hook; and one of the men, falling into the sea, just managed to seize the fortunately long beard of one of the crew, and was actually sustained and partly pulled into the boat by this means. The result was that the whole of the sixteen were safely brought to land. 1882 April 29th, Sloop Nordstiernen, of Haugesund, saved 5 During a very strong gale wind from the S.S.W.; accompanied by a heavy sea, at about 4pm on 29th April, a sloop was observed in the offing sailing in a westerly direction. The wind increased and shifted westerly, whereupon the sloop stood over to the Gunfleet Sand; afterwards, owing to the severity of the gale, she made for Clacton, and sought shelter under the pier, but the water being shallow she grounded, and showed a signal of distress. The Lifeboat Albert Edward was manned and promptly went to the aid of the vessel, being veered down to her by means of a rope from the pier. The sea broke heavily over the boat, constantly filling her; but at length, after a hard struggle, she reached the wreck and saved the crew of five men. The Lifeboat was several times in danger of being upset, and much bravery and discretion were shown by the coxswain and the crew. Two of the Lifeboat men were washed overboard while reshipping the boat’s rudder, which had been damaged, but they were happily rescued. The service was witnessed by a large number of persons, and on the Lifeboat reaching the pier with the shipwrecked men, she was received with much cheering. The stranded sloop proved to be the Nordstiernen, of Haugesund, bound from that port to London with herrings. 1883 March 30th, Barque Epsilon, of Swansea, saved 11 A barque was observed ashore on the west part of the Gunfleet Sand, at about 2pm, on the 30th March, during a fresh S.W. wind, and with the aid of a telescope it was seen that she was flying signals of distress. The crew of the Albert Edward Lifeboat at once mustered, and the boat was promptly launched and proceeded to the sands. After a hard pull against wind and tide, the Lifeboat reached the vessel at about 5.30, and found her to be the Epsilon, of Swansea, bound for that port from Rotterdam, in ballast. Part of the Lifeboat’s crew went on board to assist to throw overboard some of the ballast, and the Lifeboat went back to Clacton to telegraph for a tug and to the owners of the vessel, after which she returned to the barque, arriving by her at about 11pm. About eighty tons of ballast were thrown out, and at about 2.30am, on the following day the vessel was towed off and taken to Harwich, reaching there about 7am. 1883 September 2nd, Barque Rome, of Arundal, saved 14 About noon on the 2nd September a gale was blowing from the S.S.W., accompanied by a very heavy sea, and as several vessels were laying off the coast, and riding heavily at their anchors, the crew of the Lifeboat Albert Edward, with launchers and horses, were held in readiness should their services be called into requisition. At about 2pm it was seen that the Norwegian barque Rome, bound from Finland to London with a cargo of firewood, had cut away her foremast as well as parted her cable and was driving towards the sand. As soon as it was possible to launch the Lifeboat she went out through a heavy sea under close reefed sails, reached the wreck and rescued the crew, consisting of fourteen men, arriving at Clacton with them at 12.40am. 1883 October 3rd, Barque Danmark, of Dragor, saved 12 At 3pm on the 3rd of October, a large barque was seen ashore on the West Gunfleet Sands, and with the aid of a powerful telescope a signal of distress was made out. The crew of the Albert Edward Lifeboat were at once summoned, and the boat was soon launched and went to the aid of the vessel, which proved to be the Danmark, of Dragor, bound for Sundswall to Chatham timber-laden, with a crew of twelve men. A gale of wind was blowing from the north, accompanied by a rough sea, and as the vessel had a heavy list to starboard, the master engaged the services of the Lifeboat’s crew to throw the deck cargo overboard, which they continued to do until 1 o’clock on the following morning. The steam tug Bristol then towed the barque afloat, and took her to the Swin Middle Light, but owing to the force of the gale, it was impossible to take her further; therefore, anchored until 6am, when the tow-line was again made fast, and she was taken to Chatham, arriving there at 12.30pm, the Lifeboat men keeping her pumps going all day. The Lifeboat was afterwards towed back to its station. 1883 November 6th, Brigantine Estafette, of Faversham, saved 9 At daybreak on the 6th of November, the Lifeboat was launched to the assistance of a ship on the West Gunfleet Sands, which was found to be the brigantine Estafette, of Faversham, bound from the Tyne to Whitstable with coal. She was leaking badly, and the master had made all preparation for leaving her; but after some consultation it was agreed that the Lifeboat men, assisted by some smacksmen, should try and get her afloat. After much pumping, and throwing overboard part of the cargo, the vessel floated off the Sands at high water, and was taken to Sheerness, the pumps being kept going all the time, and placed on the mud. She had a crew of nine men. 1884 January 27th, Steamship Hawthorn, of London, gave help The Albert Edward Lifeboat was launched at 2am on the 27th of January, during a heavy S.S.W. gale, signals of distress having been shown by a vessel, which had stranded about a mile and a half to leeward of the Gunfleet Sand. She was found to be the ss Hawthorn, of and for, London, bound from the North with coal. At the master’s request three of the Lifeboat men were left on board the steamer to help throw some of the cargo overboard, and the Boat return ashore and telegraphed to Harwich for a steam tug. On the Lifeboat again arriving at the vessel, it was found that she had backed off the sand; the three Lifeboat men were therefore taken into the boat, and she returned to her station. 1884 April 18th, brig Thorley, of Hartlepool, landed 8 from Swin Middle Lightvessel Shortley before 1pm on the 17th April a brig was observed on the Swin Middle Sand. No distress signal could be seen, but the dangerous position of the vessel was considered sufficient to warrant the launching of the Lifeboat. The Albert Edward therefore put off, and proceeded under double-reef canvas, through a heavy Easterly gale, to the vessel, which proved to be the Thorley, of Hartlepool, coal laden. Her hull was under water, and she was breaking up, and evidence of the hurried departure of the crew, for she had been abandoned, led the Lifeboat men to suppose that they had left in their own boat, and had been picked up by a passing vessel. The Lifeboat then proceeded towards the Middle Light, but seeing no signal she returned to her station. At about midnight the coastguard reported that rockets were being fired by the Maplin Light, and afterwards signals from the Swin Middle were seen. The Lifeboat again proceeded out under double reef sails, with a heavy Easterly wind and high sea, to the Lightship, and found that the crew of the Thorley, consisting of eight men, had taken refuge there, and were anxious to be brought ashore. With much difficulty they were got into the Lifeboat and brought safely to Clacton, arriving there at about 10.15. The brig, which was 104 years old, quickly became a total wreck. 1884 September 7th, Schooner Mystery, of Portsmouth, saved vessel and 5 At about 6 o’clock on the morning of 7th September, during a gale of wind from the west, a schooner was seen high and dry on the Gunfleet Sand, just above the lighthouses flying signals of distress. The Albert Edward Lifeboat proceeded to her assistance under sail, and found that she was the Mystery, of Portsmouth, on a voyage to that port from Calais, in ballast. The wind and sea had greatly increased by this time, but the Lifeboat succeeded in getting alongside as the tide rose; took a woman off, and then remained by the vessel, as the Lifeboat men considered there was hope of saving her. Accordingly they set the canvas; kept the pumps going; repaired the wheel-chain, and eventually she dragged over the sand into the Wallet Channel, when she was taken safely to Harwich with her crew of four men, and a woman who was also on board. During the time the vessel was crossing the sand the seas broke right over her, making it dangerous work to stand by her.
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ALBERT EDWARD

1878 - 1884
The 1st Lifeboat at Clacton on Sea arrived by courtesy of the Great Eastern Railway which then only came as far as Weeley, Essex. Named the Albert Edward it was then taken to the new boathouse which was built on a site donated for the purpose at the junction of Carnarvon Road and Church Road. The Hon. Architect of the RNLI C.H.Cooke, Esq. F.R.S.,B.A., designed the boathouse. The boat supplied was 34 feet long and 8 feet 3 ins. of beam and rowed 10 oars double banked. The Ceremony of dedication was held on 10th July 1878 after the boat had been in service for a few months.

Services

(from The Lifeboat Journal)

1878 May 23rd - Brig Garland, of South Shields, saved 9 The brig ‘Garland’, laden with 500 tons of coal, bound from South Shields to London, went ashore on the Gunfleet Sands, about S.S.W. of Clacton-on-Sea Pier in the early part of the morning of May 23rd. The wind was blowing hard, and although no signals of distress were hoisted by the brig (owing to her having none on board), the representatives of the local committee considered it necessary for the Lifeboat to put off to her, feeling almost sure that she would not come off the sands again, and the crew must leave her. ‘The Albert Edward’ was launched about 10am, reached the brig about 1pm, and found her fast filling with water and breaking up. About 3pm the crew, 6 men and 3 boys, abandoned her, and were safely landed at Clacton-on-sea, at 5pm. A large number of persons were on the pier to welcome the return of the Lifeboat. 1879 January 24th - Ship Hebe, of Frederickstadt, saved 14 On the 24th January, in reply to signals from Swin Middle Light Ship, the Lifeboat ‘Albert Edward’ put to sea, and proceeded in a S. direction, sighted a dismasted ship ‘Hebe, of Frederickstadt’ on the east end of the Swin Middle Sand, the sea making a complete breach over her. On nearing the wreck, the crew were seen standing in a group near the port quarter. The Lifeboat dropped anchor and veered down to the vessel. After seven attempts to get the crew, the boat having filled three times, she succeeded in taking 11 men on board. The ship by that time had altered her position, and as it was impossible to approach her again on account of the wreckage alongside, the remaining 3 men had to be hauled through the breakers by means of life-lines. After getting the crew on board it was found that the wreck had fouled the lifeboat’s cable; this, however, was slipped, and the Boat then made for the shore. The rescued men were much exhausted, more especially the captain, who had been injured on board the vessel before being hauled through the breakers. On the occasion of the launch of the Lifeboat, on account of the water being low, she had to be drawn some distance out into the sea before she could be launched, the heavy seas breaking completely over the horses and men in charge. 1881 January 6th - Barque Hertha, of Christiansund, Landed Captain and returned him The Lifeboat Albert Edward put off at about 5.30pm on the 6th January, in reply to signals of distress from the Swin Middle Lightship. The wind was blowing a gale from the East, and the sea was very heavy. On reaching the Lightship they learnt that a barque was ashore on the Maplin Sands. The Lifeboat sighted her at 8pm, but she could not get alongside until the flood tide made, when she boarded her, a brought the master ashore to telegraph for instructions, arriving at Clacton at 11am. The Lifeboat afterwards at the request of the captain, took him back to the vessel, which was the barque Hertha, of Christiansund in ballast. 1881 January 19th, Brigantine Hasselo, of Haguesund, saved 8 Signals of distress from the Middle Lightship were observed on the morning of the 19th January. The Lifeboat was launched a proceeded to a schooner which was found to be sunk with the lower masts’ heads out of water. As no one was on the masts the Lifeboat made for the Gunfleet, but did not find any vessel in distress; she then crossed the sand at the West Buoy and stood towards the Heaps, and spoke to a steamer steering E.N.E., which waved for them to go to the westward. Seeing nothing on the Heaps or Barrows she steered for the Middle Lightship, which reported three sailing vessels and a steamer on the Maplin Sands. On reaching the first vessel she was found to be abandoned. A signal was then made from the Maplin Lighthouse, the boat therefore steered in that direction and soon sighted a dismasted ship. On nearing her, at about 2pm, a group of people were seen standing on one of the deckhouses waving a flag. The Lifeboat made for her lee bow, the loaded cane was thrown to the crew, who seized it and hauled the boat’s cable on board. The sea was making a clean breach over the vessel, and some difficulty was experienced in transferring the crew from her to the Lifeboat; eventually however, this was safely accomplished. The vessel proved to be the brigantine ‘Hasselo’, of Haguesund, bound from Riga to London with oats. The crew, eight in number, had been on the deckhouse since noon on the previous day, and had not tasted anything for thirty-three hours. The Lifeboat fortunately had some spirits and biscuits on board, which were distributed amongst the men and for which they were very grateful. On returning to shore the Lieboat saw two other vessels, but it was evident that their crews had been able to get ashore. When about three mile below the Middle Lightship signals were seen going up from the Mouse Lightship; but as the cold was so intense and the crew of the brigantine were in such an exhausted state that they probably would not have lived through the night if the boat had gone to the Mouse, it was considered best that the boat should make for Clacton. The Lifeboat men had great difficulty in keeping life in the rescued men by constantly rubbing their limbs, and were much afraid that they would not reach land alive. They were, however, al safely landed at Clacton at about 4 o’clock the following morning, and were taken to a hotel, were their wants were attended to. 1881 October 14th, Schooner Ocean, of Goole, assisted to save vessel & 4 lives The Albert Edward Lifeboat put off at about 7.30pm on 14th October, in reply to signals of distress, during a very strong N.W. wind and very rough sea. After cruising about for some time the schooner Ocean, of Goole, was sighted ashore on the Maplin Sands; her sails were all adrift; she had lost two anchors and chains, and had five feet of water in her hold. Some of the Lifeboat men boarded he, pumped the water out, and with the aid of a steam tug she was brought to London, arriving at about 7 o’clock on the following morning, the Lifeboat accompanying her. 1881 October 23rd, Steam Trawler, Madeline of Boulogne, saved 16 At half past four on the morning of Sunday, the 23rd October, a coastguard man, on the look-out near the quiet little seaside town of Clacton, saw a signal rocket fired from the Gunfleet floating Lightship, which told of a wreck on the Gunfleet Sand and asked for a Lifeboat’s aid. The man ran for the Freemasons’ Lifeboat Albert Edward, which was stationed here about three years ago by the NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION, and the crew were got together, and the boat was run down the beach. The wind and tide were both dead against the boat, which had only oars and sail to propel it, but a steamer was sighted, which proved to be the Consett of Sunderland, whose captain kindly towed them as close to the Sands as he could with safety to his own ship, when he let them go, and they took to their oars. When within about twenty yards of the wreck, on the weather side, the dropped anchor; but a huge roller coming, lifted the wreck and carried it further on to the sand. They were obliged to pay out more cable, and were just successful in making connection by a line with the wreck when another roller lifted it and carried it quite out of reach. They had paid out all their cable, and it was therefore a question whether they should abandon the wreck or voluntarily encounter one of the greatest dangers to which a Lifeboat is liable, that of destruction by boarding on the windward side, and the crew unamiously, and with a ready courage which is beyond all praise, determined to risk this, in order to attempt the rescue of the foreigners. They therefore let go the cable, and the next roller cast there boat right on the deck of the vessel, which proved to be the Madeline, of Boulogne, a new steam fishing vessel, with a crew of sixteen hands. After some buffeting, breaking their rudder and a oar, and otherwise damaging their tackle, they were able to make fast to the side of the wreck, and the Frenchmen one by one jumped, fell, or otherwise pulled into the boat. One poor boy starved with the cold wind and drenching spray, fell into the sea, but was rescued with a boat hook; and one of the men, falling into the sea, just managed to seize the fortunately long beard of one of the crew, and was actually sustained and partly pulled into the boat by this means. The result was that the whole of the sixteen were safely brought to land. 1882 April 29th, Sloop Nordstiernen, of Haugesund, saved 5 During a very strong gale wind from the S.S.W.; accompanied by a heavy sea, at about 4pm on 29th April, a sloop was observed in the offing sailing in a westerly direction. The wind increased and shifted westerly, whereupon the sloop stood over to the Gunfleet Sand; afterwards, owing to the severity of the gale, she made for Clacton, and sought shelter under the pier, but the water being shallow she grounded, and showed a signal of distress. The Lifeboat Albert Edward was manned and promptly went to the aid of the vessel, being veered down to her by means of a rope from the pier. The sea broke heavily over the boat, constantly filling her; but at length, after a hard struggle, she reached the wreck and saved the crew of five men. The Lifeboat was several times in danger of being upset, and much bravery and discretion were shown by the coxswain and the crew. Two of the Lifeboat men were washed overboard while reshipping the boat’s rudder, which had been damaged, but they were happily rescued. The service was witnessed by a large number of persons, and on the Lifeboat reaching the pier with the shipwrecked men, she was received with much cheering. The stranded sloop proved to be the Nordstiernen, of Haugesund, bound from that port to London with herrings. 1883 March 30th, Barque Epsilon, of Swansea, saved 11 A barque was observed ashore on the west part of the Gunfleet Sand, at about 2pm, on the 30th March, during a fresh S.W. wind, and with the aid of a telescope it was seen that she was flying signals of distress. The crew of the Albert Edward Lifeboat at once mustered, and the boat was promptly launched and proceeded to the sands. After a hard pull against wind and tide, the Lifeboat reached the vessel at about 5.30, and found her to be the Epsilon, of Swansea, bound for that port from Rotterdam, in ballast. Part of the Lifeboat’s crew went on board to assist to throw overboard some of the ballast, and the Lifeboat went back to Clacton to telegraph for a tug and to the owners of the vessel, after which she returned to the barque, arriving by her at about 11pm. About eighty tons of ballast were thrown out, and at about 2.30am, on the following day the vessel was towed off and taken to Harwich, reaching there about 7am. 1883 September 2nd, Barque Rome, of Arundal, saved 14 About noon on the 2nd September a gale was blowing from the S.S.W., accompanied by a very heavy sea, and as several vessels were laying off the coast, and riding heavily at their anchors, the crew of the Lifeboat Albert Edward, with launchers and horses, were held in readiness should their services be called into requisition. At about 2pm it was seen that the Norwegian barque Rome, bound from Finland to London with a cargo of firewood, had cut away her foremast as well as parted her cable and was driving towards the sand. As soon as it was possible to launch the Lifeboat she went out through a heavy sea under close reefed sails, reached the wreck and rescued the crew, consisting of fourteen men, arriving at Clacton with them at 12.40am. 1883 October 3rd, Barque Danmark, of Dragor, saved 12 At 3pm on the 3rd of October, a large barque was seen ashore on the West Gunfleet Sands, and with the aid of a powerful telescope a signal of distress was made out. The crew of the Albert Edward Lifeboat were at once summoned, and the boat was soon launched and went to the aid of the vessel, which proved to be the Danmark, of Dragor, bound for Sundswall to Chatham timber-laden, with a crew of twelve men. A gale of wind was blowing from the north, accompanied by a rough sea, and as the vessel had a heavy list to starboard, the master engaged the services of the Lifeboat’s crew to throw the deck cargo overboard, which they continued to do until 1 o’clock on the following morning. The steam tug Bristol then towed the barque afloat, and took her to the Swin Middle Light, but owing to the force of the gale, it was impossible to take her further; therefore, anchored until 6am, when the tow-line was again made fast, and she was taken to Chatham, arriving there at 12.30pm, the Lifeboat men keeping her pumps going all day. The Lifeboat was afterwards towed back to its station. 1883 November 6th, Brigantine Estafette, of Faversham, saved 9 At daybreak on the 6th of November, the Lifeboat was launched to the assistance of a ship on the West Gunfleet Sands, which was found to be the brigantine Estafette, of Faversham, bound from the Tyne to Whitstable with coal. She was leaking badly, and the master had made all preparation for leaving her; but after some consultation it was agreed that the Lifeboat men, assisted by some smacksmen, should try and get her afloat. After much pumping, and throwing overboard part of the cargo, the vessel floated off the Sands at high water, and was taken to Sheerness, the pumps being kept going all the time, and placed on the mud. She had a crew of nine men. 1884 January 27th, Steamship Hawthorn, of London, gave help The Albert Edward Lifeboat was launched at 2am on the 27th of January, during a heavy S.S.W. gale, signals of distress having been shown by a vessel, which had stranded about a mile and a half to leeward of the Gunfleet Sand. She was found to be the ss Hawthorn, of and for, London, bound from the North with coal. At the master’s request three of the Lifeboat men were left on board the steamer to help throw some of the cargo overboard, and the Boat return ashore and telegraphed to Harwich for a steam tug. On the Lifeboat again arriving at the vessel, it was found that she had backed off the sand; the three Lifeboat men were therefore taken into the boat, and she returned to her station. 1884 April 18th, brig Thorley, of Hartlepool, landed 8 from Swin Middle Lightvessel Shortley before 1pm on the 17th April a brig was observed on the Swin Middle Sand. No distress signal could be seen, but the dangerous position of the vessel was considered sufficient to warrant the launching of the Lifeboat. The Albert Edward therefore put off, and proceeded under double-reef canvas, through a heavy Easterly gale, to the vessel, which proved to be the Thorley, of Hartlepool, coal laden. Her hull was under water, and she was breaking up, and evidence of the hurried departure of the crew, for she had been abandoned, led the Lifeboat men to suppose that they had left in their own boat, and had been picked up by a passing vessel. The Lifeboat then proceeded towards the Middle Light, but seeing no signal she returned to her station. At about midnight the coastguard reported that rockets were being fired by the Maplin Light, and afterwards signals from the Swin Middle were seen. The Lifeboat again proceeded out under double reef sails, with a heavy Easterly wind and high sea, to the Lightship, and found that the crew of the Thorley, consisting of eight men, had taken refuge there, and were anxious to be brought ashore. With much difficulty they were got into the Lifeboat and brought safely to Clacton, arriving there at about 10.15. The brig, which was 104 years old, quickly became a total wreck. 1884 September 7th, Schooner Mystery, of Portsmouth, saved vessel and 5 At about 6 o’clock on the morning of 7th September, during a gale of wind from the west, a schooner was seen high and dry on the Gunfleet Sand, just above the lighthouses flying signals of distress. The Albert Edward Lifeboat proceeded to her assistance under sail, and found that she was the Mystery, of Portsmouth, on a voyage to that port from Calais, in ballast. The wind and sea had greatly increased by this time, but the Lifeboat succeeded in getting alongside as the tide rose; took a woman off, and then remained by the vessel, as the Lifeboat men considered there was hope of saving her. Accordingly they set the canvas; kept the pumps going; repaired the wheel-chain, and eventually she dragged over the sand into the Wallet Channel, when she was taken safely to Harwich with her crew of four men, and a woman who was also on board. During the time the vessel was crossing the sand the seas broke right over her, making it dangerous work to stand by her.
Clacton Lifeboat Station
Clacton Lifeboat Station
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