The lifeboat Elizabeth and Blanche 2 returns to Newlyn Harbour after the rescue of the full crew of 13 men from the Norwegian barque Saluto, which was blown ashore near Porthleven on December 13, 1911. This is one of many stories told at the next Newlyn Archive Open Day on Saturday 24 March 2018 at Trinity Centre Newlyn.
Alfred J Kliskey in Looking Back by a Newlyn Towner (See NA2585) wrote that it was the most severe storm he had ever witnessed. ‘It was a strong South Westerly gale and as I was going to work along the road near the lifeboat house, I heard a Mr Stevenson say that “If the lifeboat is needed today, she will not be able to go out of the harbour mouth for the sea is coming over green”, meaning that not only spray, but the sea itself was coming over the South Pier. I did not go to work that day, for soon after the rocket was heard, a signal to assemble the crew to the lifeboat house.’
Alfred’s brother William took his absent father’s place on the lifeboat and later recounted the story. He was the youngest member of a lifeboat crew up to that time. Here is his story.
‘…we got clear of the pier-head but could see nothing, the waves were so big. After a while, and when the lifeboat was on the crest of a wave, they saw the vessel out in the bay being driven broadside before the wind, with her sails in ribbons. As we approached her, the coxswain had to decide how he could take off the crew. If he went to the windward side he was afraid the lifeboat would be thrown on top of the drifting ship, so he decided to get as close as possible to the lee side. He ordered every man to take his oar to fend off from the ship’s side, but when it was tried, every oar snapped off like match sticks. So that manoeuvre failed. It was then decided to make round about trips and get as close as possible to the ship’s side. The coxswain would shout through his megaphone when he wished the ship’s crew to jump. At the first trial, some landed in the lifeboat; others fell into the water but were hauled aboard the lifeboat by ropes thrown to them. After four or five trips all the ship’s crew were taken off, and they made for home.’
The photo shows the arrival of the triumphant lifeboat at Newlyn’s North Pier where the Salvation Army Band played welcoming music and the crowds cheered.
PUT THE DATE IN YOUR DIARY: RESCUE AT SEA, SATURDAY MARCH 24, 2018, 10.00-3.00, AT TRINITY CENTRE NEWLYN.
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