Events 1868






29 May

Captain Robertson’s  inspection of the Brigade took place.  He had already visited Tynemouth and Cullercoats.

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade

CAPTAIN ROBERTSON, R.N., Surveyor-General, Board of Trade, will inspect the members on Saturday First, May 30, half-past two p.m. A full muster is requested.

Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 29 May 1868

The South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade was inspected on Saturday by Captain Robertson, R.N., who, in a few remarks made at the close, highly complimented the brigade on their efficiency. The inspection was witnessed by a large number of spectators, amongst whom were the Mayor and Mrs Mayoress.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 June 1868



6 July

Several members of the Brigade took part in the rescue of three salmon fishermen.

Exciting Scene of South Shields Sands
A Boat Upset and Narrow Escape
From Loss of Life

A little before eight o'clock last night a boat was upset nearly opposite the bathing machines on the South ShieIds Sands, and but for the gallantry with which several members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, and a few others perilled their own lives on the chance of saving others, three men would have been drowned. It appears that about the time mentioned three salmon fishermen, named Wm. Templeman, Simon Harrison, and John Burn, were in their boat lying beside their nets at a distance of about 150 yards from the shore. There was good deal of swell on the surface and one sea heavier than usual struck the boat on the quarter and poised it over moment on its crest and then overturning it leaving the occupants struggling in the water. The accident was observed both from the sand and the pier, and a cry for help raised, though there appeared but too much probability that ere effective assistance could given the drowning men would beyond its need Fortunately a number of the members the Volunteer Life Brigade happened to be gathered in the Watch House, and catching at lifebuoys, and belts, and grappling irons, they rushed to the sands. By the time they got there there were only two of the men be seen, and they were clinging to the boat in an almost exhausted state, covered now and again by the seas that rushed over them. They were about 100 yards from the shore, and remembering that the sand was very level for good distance out, some half dozen the brigade, including Wm. Wright, P.C. Clarke, B. Birch, Mr Herdman. Scripture reader on board the Joseph Straker, and Mr M. L Gallon, rushed into the water, dressed as they were, and made as far in they could. More might have followed but for the very significant warning of danger given by the narrow escape of two of the bolder spirits— William Wright and P.C. Clarke—who were twice thrown down by the waves, and narrowly escaped the terrible suction of the back sweep. After that some even of those who had gone in retired, and joined the crowd of bystanders on the shore, who were watching with anxiety, rendered the more intense by their own helplessness, the efforts which were being made. The boat, with the two men holding on to it, washed a little nearer the shore, and the waves receded, several of the party made a rush towards it, and, happily, were just able to secure the men and get firm footing again, ere another wave broke over them. Just as this was done Birch saw the third man floating a little below the surface of the water, and entangled in the net in such a way that could not be got out. The prompt and active use of the knife soon settled that difficulty, and in a few minutes more the three fishermen were in the Brigade House, where stimulants and restorative treatment were once applied with rapid success in the case Harrison and Burn, but Templeman for a long time remained in a doubtful state. Drs Crease and Legat were sent for and were soon in attendance, and under their care Templeman gradually came round, and by ten o'clock was quite recovered. The bravery displayed by those we have mentioned and J, A. Wilson, J. Wilson, A, Hunter, and Mr Davidson, who all rendered great assistance, is deserving of the highest praise, and reflects great credit not only upon themselves, but also upon the brigade to which they belong.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 7 July 1868

28 July

Notice of the Annual Meeting.

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade

THE ANNUAL MEETING will be hold in the Watch House on Thursday, 30th inst., at 7-30 p.m., at which Members will please wear their belts. Members calling at the Watch House can obtain Voting Papers for the Election of Officers.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 28 July 1868


1 August

The Annual Meeting was held in the newly extended Watch House. The Secretary, Mr S. Malcolm, explained why individual members were not remunerated for their services.

22 August

The monthly practice took place.

The South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade had their monthly practise on Saturday afternoon, at the South Pier. There was a good muster of volunteers, and a capital practise was gone through.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 24 August 1868


21 September

The Brigade assisted two foyboatmen whose boat had capsized.

A North Shields Foyboat Upset and Narrow Escape of the Occupants

Yesterday, there was a strong sea on the bar, and it broke heavily on the shore, which made it dangerous for small boats putting out. About half-past ten o’clock a foyboat, containing two men, one whom is named Leask, left North Shields, intending to proceed across the bar to visit a vessel.  While pulling down the Narrows, and just as they got nearly opposite the Herd Sand, a heavy sea struck their boat, and Immediately upset it The two men were at once thrown into the water, where they remained, floundering for a few minutes, when they were observed by the crew of a pilot coble, who, without delay, pulled towards them, and, after some difficulty, succeeded in getting hold of them, and placed them in their coble. Being in somewhat exhausted condition, they were taken to the South Pier, and conveyed to the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade House, where they were supplied with some comforts, and furnished with dry clothes. They soon came round, and were able to go to North Shields.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 22 September 1868

27 September

The Impulse was driven ashore and the Brigade rescued the crew.



6 November

A gale drove the Premier ashore and the Brigade rescued the crew.

The Gale

The gale from the N.E., continued all yesterday. After we went to press yesterday, the people South Shields and Tynemouth were more than once alarmed by the tiring of the signal guns, considerable crowds proceeding to the Piers to know the cause. At two o’clock in the afternoon, the South Shields Life Brigade were summoned to duty. A vessel at that time broke her tow line, and the touched the ground. At five the afternoon, another vessel broke her tow-line while entering the harbour, but she was taken hold of again, without any damage. About eight o'clock, snow began to fall, which would add to the gale with which seamen had to contend yesterday.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 7 November 1868

24 November

The Brigade fired several rockets over a hopper barge but the crew of two hands, was rescued by the lifeboat.


29 December

The Brigade attended a hopper barge which was in difficulty, but their services were not required.