Events 1889

Rescue engraving


5 January

The monthly drills continued throughout the year.


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday afternoon, the 5th January, 1889, at 3 30 o'Clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 January 1889

18 January

The Annual Supper took place.


2 February


THE NEXT DRILL will take place Saturday afternoon, the 2nd of February, 1889, at 4 o'clock.

S.MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 February 1889


2 March


THE NEXT DRILL will take place Saturday afternoon, the 2nd of March, 1889, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 28 February 1889

4 March

St. John Ambulance Association.—On Saturday night at 8 p.m., the class the Volunteer Life Brigade, instructed by Dr Crease, was examined by Surgeon-Major Hutton, who expressed himself very favourably of the performance of the sixteen members the class, and announced that he would forward a recommendation that certificates should be issued to the whole class. Surgeon-Major Hutton also told how he had frequently taken the South Shields Volunteer Brigade as the subject for his text when comparing their work of humanity to those at sea with that of the Ambulance Associations on land.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 4 March 1889

7 March

The meeting was to discuss a proposed memorial to Col. Duncan who had been a benefactor to the Ambulance Service.


ALL Ambulance Members are requested to be PRESENT at the “Duncan Memorial" Meeting to be held in the Queen Street Hall on Thursday, March 7th, at 8 p.m.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 March 1889

21 March

The Brigade was on watch during stormy weather.

Severe Gale off the Tyne
An Exciting Scene
The Alarm Signals Fired

The storm which had been brewing from the early hours of yesterday morning, as indicated by the lowering clouds, rain showers, and gusts of wind, gathered strength as the day wore on, and between four and five in the afternoon had developed into a gale. During the next three or four hours it came away with almost hurricane force, but long before nightfall huge seas were breaking over the Tyne piers, and waves of tremendous size rolled into the harbour, and were churned into a broad belt of yeasty foam upon the Herd Sand; while south of the South Pier the breakers covered on enormous distance from the shore line. Rain on Tuesday night bad fallen in torrents, and it only cased for brief intervals in the course of yesterday, being occasionally varied by showers of blinding sleet. In the morning a number of vessels put out to sea, but meeting the gale some of them put back, and as the storm increased in intensity, every kind of craft within a radius of a few miles the harbour ran for shelter. The

Effects of the Gale

were felt a considerable distance up the river and one or two casualties are reported. About four o'clock in the afternoon the large Dutch ship Batavia was coming up the harbour from sea, and collided with the ship Prince Edward, of Konigsberg, which was lying at the North Shields tiers. The latter vessel had her starboard boat carried away, the davits and accommodation ladder smashed, besides suffering other damage. The Batavia lost her foretopsail yards and Dying jibboom. She was afterwards taken in tow by five steamtugs and assisted to her moorings. The schooner Margaret Trail, Leith, while lying abreast of Edward's Dock, South Shields, parted her stern moorings and swung round to her head moorings, but was secured without sustaining any damage. The members of the South Shields

Volunteer Life Brigade

put an appearance at the Watch House early on in the evening, among the first to arrive being Captains G. R. Potts and Geo. Grey, and Deputy- Captains Walter Ross and James Henderson. They were subsequently joined by Captains A. Whitelaw and Geo. Robson, and Deputy-Captain J. W. Buckland, and Dr Crease, honorary surgeon to the brigade. When the muster roll was called there were forty-eight officers and men present. It was the watch of the first division, of which Mr Grey is captain and Mr Buckland deputy-captain, but there were officers and men present representing all four divisions. A close lookout seaward was kept by the brigadesmen and the coastguard, and the pilots on the Lawe held themselves in readiness in case the services of the lifeboat should be needed. The only exciting incident during the afternoon took place near the Groyne lighthouse. The salvage steamer News which has been in attendance in connection with preparations for the raising of the sunken vessel, the Triumph, was turning, evidently with the intention of proceeding up the river, when she

Narrowly Escaped Striking

on the Groyne, but, happily, this was averted by the skilful handling of those board. The passenger steamer Tynesider was coming down the river at the moment, and had to bring up in order to avoid a collision. She then went on her way southwards, and having the wind on her stern she raced out of sight in very quick time. A few of the sailing craft that came in had a terrific "dusting” before getting round the ends of the piers, but in each case the harbour was made in safety. At eight o'clock the rocket van was taken along the south pier in the teeth of the storm, and the task proved a pretty difficult one for the dozen men engaged in it. The salt water was dashed over them in large quantities, and this made the work also one of some danger, as well as trying in other respects. At 9-15 a vessel was observed outside the harbour, exhibiting flash lights, and a number of brigadesmen were proceeding along the pier in order to render any possible help that might be needed, when

The Alarm Signals Were Fired

from the north side of the river, and these were succeeded by the guns of H.M.S. Castor, giving forth the intelligence to all who might not have heard the first reports that a vessel was in danger. As the wind was from the north-east the people of South Shields heard the signals with great distinctness, and there was immediately an enormous crowd hurrying at top speed down Ocean Road, and the bulk of these huddled on the lee side of the Watch House. Many, however, more venturous pushed in the darkness towards the beach to the south of the building, and very soon found themselves plunging knee-deep in the good-sized lake which had been made by the wind driving the surf into the sand hollows above high water mark, and it was found advisable to beat a retreat, though a few, believing they saw the light of a vessel near the end of the pier clamoured for the

Launching of the Lifeboat

which is located there. This request, however, was not acceded to, as those responsible for the safe-keeping of the craft, not bring satisfied to the accuracy of the statement in regard to the supposed light, saw no necessity for an attempt of the kind being made. In the meantime the members of the brigade and coastguard, under the command of Captain Grey and Mr Lorden, had taken the rocket van considerably nearer the pier end. On arrival there, there was nothing to be seen but the mass of tumultuous waters, which tore their way shorewards with terrific fury. A search light was used, and one man, Mr B. Heron, clambered on to the mammoth crane, which commanded, so far as the darkness would allow, a complete view of the river entrance, but though he looked long and carefully neither light nor vessel was to be seen. Shortly afterwards the brigadesmen returned to the Watch House, and many of them remained on duty over-night.

The Lifeboats Launched

Immediately on the signals being fired the lifeboat was launched from the Coble Landing, South Shields, and she was pulled in a very short space of time down past the Groyne lighthouse. The coxswains in charge were John Burns and Andrew Purvis. On getting past the submerged steamer Triumph the cause of the alarm was ascertained, of which an account appears elsewhere. The Tynemouth lifeboat had also been launched, but the particulars in reference to what transpired in connection with that and the firing of the signals are dealt with by our North Shields reporter.

This Morning

at daybreak, the wind had gone down considerably, and the sky had also cleared. The sea at the mouth of the harbour had still, however, a very wild appearance, and there was a good deal of broken water about the ends the piers and along the beach to the Trow Rocks. Only one or two arrivals overnight are reported. The members of the coastguard, and the pilots watched keenly for inward-bound craft, anything that had to bear the brunt of last night's storm must have been fortunate if it escaped without serious damage. Of this there is abundant in reports masters vessels that have already come in.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 21 March 1889


6 April


THE NEXT DRILL WILL TAKE PLACE on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 6th of April, 1889, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 April 1889


4 May


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday afternoon, the 4th of May, 1889, at 6 o'clock. Members in uniform will be photographed after the Drill.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 May 1889

6 May

Dr Crease is thanked by the members of the Ambulance Class.

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade Ambulance Class. —At a special meeting of the members of the above class for 1889, held before the drill on Saturday afternoon in the Watchhouse, Dr. J. Robertson Crease, the instructor of the class was presented with a very elegant writing case suitably inscribed. The presentation was made in suitable terms by Mr S. Malcolm, secretary of the Brigade who is also a member of the class. The doctor, in a few well chosen words thanked the members for their kindness, and the proceedings terminated.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 May 1889


1 June


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday afternoon, the 1st of June, 1889, at 6 o'clock. Members in Uniform will be Photographed in Group after the Drill.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 31 May 1889

6 June

It is agreed to move the pier gates.

The Pier Gates Shifted

In connection with report the following letter was read :—

Tyne Improvement Commission.
Engineer's Office,
June 4, 1889.


My Dear Sir,—With reference to your letter of the 30th ult. ( which arrived during my absence), I have pleasure in informing you that arrangements have been made for placing a new gate the South Pier considerably in advance of the present gate. I will bring the matter of the seats before the next meeting of the Piers Committee, but I think the matter will be greatly facilitated if the Corporation will send some seats the Tyne Commissioners to be placed on the pier during the few months only that they can be safely placed there. This is my own idea only, but I am the impression that a similar suggestion was made a year two ago either by the Corporation or by the Tyne Commissioners.

Very truly yours,


J. M. Moore, Esq.

Ald. Wardle, in moving the adoption of report, said it was very gratifying to think that the Commissioners had complied with the request. He thought the extension of the promenade by the placing the gates nearer to the end the pier would be a boon to both residents and visitors, which they would not be slow to acknowledge.

Mr Miller seconded.

Mr Lawson said he had sometimes had the temerity to criticise the Commissioners upon various questions, but he had no idea that they were so liberal as to provide the seats on the pier. He absolutely thought they were the property of the Corporation, and it came to him as a matter of surprise when he heard that the Commissioners provided them. He thought the Corporation would not hesitate for a moment in supplying the extra seats. (Hear, hear.)

The Mayor said he was also very pleased that the Commissioners had been liberal in carrying out the improvements at the piers, and hoped they would also soon see their way to extend the hand rail more towards the landward end of the pier, as there was some danger at high tide during windy weather.

The report was adopted.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 June 1889


2 July


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 6th July, 1889, 6 o'clock.

ANNUAL MEETING Friday, July 5th, at 7.30 p. m.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 July 1889

5 July

The Annual Meeting took place.


3 August


THE NEXT DRILL will take place Saturday afternoon, the 3rd August, 1889, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 August 1889

27 August

Two members of the Brigade rescued two bathers.

Exciting Incident at Frenchman’s Bay

On Saturday evening at about six o'clock, an accident occurred to two young men who had hired a boat at Tynemouth or South Shields and rowed to Frenchman's Bay, where they stayed a short time. After coming off again, they had got about 40 yards from the shore, when the boat was swamped by the huge breakers. The men, who were unable to swim, jumped into the water, and, but for the timely aid Mr A. E. Hunter and Mr Buckland who happened to be on the spot at the time, would have been drowned. Mr Hunter and Buckland without divesting themselves of any of their clothing, plunged into the sea, and succeeded in rescuing the men at great risk to their own lives. The incident was witnessed by about thirty spectators who were in the greatest state of excitement until a rescue had been effected. We understand this is the fifth occasion which Mr Hunter has saved life under difficult circumstances, a fact which ought to commend him to the notice of the Royal Humane Society.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 27 August 1889

28 August

A case which the officers of the Volunteer Life Brigade, or some kindred body, should interest themselves was recorded in these columns yesterday. On Saturday evening last, two young men, whilst rowing out from Frenchman's Bay, were thrown from their boat into the sea, and would certainly have been drowned had not Mr Alfred E. Hunter and Mr Buckland, both of South Shields, plunged into the water, and rescued them. What Mr Buckland's life-saving record is I cannot say; but I am informed that Mr Hunter has risked his life five times in rescuing persons from drowning. It must, I think, be generally admitted that he is at any rate deserving of the Royal Humane Society's medal, but in order that this may be secured it is necessary for some public body or prominent citizen to bring the matter before the officials in London. Action should be taken once.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 28 August 1889


4 September The action rendered in the saving of the two young men at Frenchman's Bay is, I am glad to say, not being lost sight of. I hear that the secretary to the Volunteer Life Brigade, Mr Malcolm, has signified his intention to take the matter up with a view to the bravery of Mr Hunter being recognised by the Royal Humane Society, if full particulars are furnished him; and if anyone can successfully conduct negotiation of this kind it is the gentleman mentioned. Mr Hunter is a member of the Life Brigade; he is also an enthusiastic football player, and for several seasons past has rendered useful service to the Westoe Club. He has been out of a situation for some time, and was one of the applicants for the Guardian's clerkship. Not a few Shields people regret that his claims were passed over in preference to those of a stranger.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 4 September 1889

7 September


THE NEXT DRILL will take place Saturday afternoon, the 3rd August, 1889, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 September 1889


5 October


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 5th of October, 1889, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 October 1889

21 October

A period of stormy weather resulted in the Brigade being on watch.

South-East Gale off the Tyne

Since Saturday afternoon the wind has been blowing pretty stiffly from the south-east, and as a consequence the sea has been very high at times along the coast north and south of the Tyne, while the entrance to the harbour has been in a condition that somewhat reminds local people of gales disastrous in their results in bygone years. Though not by any means so violent as some of those storms, the quarter from which the wind came is always the most to be on the immediate coast, as only a moderately strong breeze raises

A Dangerous Sea

in the vicinity of the piers. The expanse of water between the South Pier and Trow Rocks was on Saturday night a mass of huge waves, tossed and driven before the wind in the wildest manner imaginable, breaking on the shore with such force create acres of white foam upon the surface. Yesterday the wind had considerably lessened in intensity, but there was still heavy sea at the mouth of the harbour, and the smaller vessels that put in did so only at the expense of severe pitching that must have made matters very uncomfortable for those on board. Several officers and men of the South Shields

Volunteer Life Brigade

put in an appearance at the Watch House during the afternoon and evening, but there was no regular watch overnight. This morning the wind still came away freshly from east-south-east, and the outlook seaward was wild and threatening. There were several peals of thunder, followed by driving showers of rain. Deputy- Captain James Henderson was the first to arrive at the Watch House, and if the storm continues others will doubtless deem it necessary to go upon duty in order to be prepared for any casualty that may arise.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 21 October 1889

23 October

The Easterly Gale
The Watch on the South Pier

The storm continuing last night, after darkness set in there was a good muster of brigadesmen at the Watch House on the South Pier. Being the watch of the fourth division, which Mr George Gray is captain and Mr J. H. Wood deputy captain, the latter officer was in charge, Mr Gray not been able to attend. The other officers present were Captains Geo. Robson, J. R. Potts, and Walter Ross; Deputy-Captains Scrafton, Buckland, and Henderson. The coastguard, under Mr Lorden, was also in attendance. A close lookout was kept seaward for arriving vessels. There was a heavy sea outside, the long rollers sweeping into the harbour with tremendous force. At the south of the piers

The Immense Breakers

presented a magnificent appearance, and the roar that they produced must have been heard for a long way inland. Nothing calling for note occurred until nearly one o'clock this morning, when the light of a vessel was seen dodging about off the harbour. There was a good deal of diversity of opinion amongst the brigadesmen as to the exact vicinity of the vessel; but as it seemed extremely close to the south pier end the rocket van was run out to beyond the Commissioners landing stage. Here, under the lee of the van, the men were able to have a good view of what was transpiring outside. Very shortly a steamer, from the southward came in, and passed up the harbour at a rapid rate, having the wind and tide in her favour, and being carried forward with great impetus by every succeeding wave. About the same time the lights of no less than

Other Five Vessels,

all in a southerly direction, were observable, and they followed each other into the harbour in quick succession, rounding the south pier in capital style. As the sky had become less obscured a clear view was obtained the heaving waters, which at short intervals sent showers of spray over the top of the rocket van, and more than one of the men on watch had a severe drenching. The brigade remained on duty for several hours more. When day broke the wind had considerably abated, but there were not wanting signs, that there might at no long lapse of time be a renewal of the storm.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23 October 1889


2 Novvember


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 2nd of November, 1889, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 October 1889

27 November 1889

Messrs Hunter and Buckland received recognition of their gallant behaviour.

It will gratifying to all who admired the pluck shown by Mr A. E. Hunter and Mr Buckland on the 24th September last in rescuing two young men near Frenchman's Bay, to learn that the Royal Humane Society has recognised their services on that occasion. The negotiations were seconded by Mr S. Malcolm, and at the end of last month an intimation was received that the Society had decided to award their testimonial on vellum. The public presentation of the same will probably be arranged for at an early date.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 27 November 1889


6 December


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 7th of December, 1889, at 6 o'clock.

After the Drill Testimonials from the Royal Humane Society will be presented to Messrs Buckland and Hunter, by J. C. Stevenson, Esq., M.P

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 December 1889

9 December 1889

Presentations for Bravery
The Rescue at Frenchman’s Bay

On Saturday night, in the presence the members of the Volunteer Life Brigade and a number of ladies and gentlemen who had come specially to witness the proceeding, Mr H. B. Buckland, of Newcastle, and A, E, Hunter, of South Shields, were presented at the Watch House, the South Pier, with the Royal Humane Society's certificate on vellum, for bravery, in rescuing two young men from drowning at Frenchman's Bay on the 24th at August last. Previous to the presentations taking place the Brigade held a drill on the beach, commencing at six o'clock and as it was a beautiful moonlight night the outdoor proceedings were of a much more attractive character than usual, and were witnessed with interest by a considerable number spectators. On returning to the Watch House, Captain Grey was voted to the chair. He was supported Mr J. C. Stevenson, M.P., Ald. Scott, Dr Crease, hon. surgeon to the Brigade, and Mr S. Malcolm, hon. secretary; there being present also Captains Robson, Potts and Ross, besides other officers of the Brigade. Mr Malcolm detailed the circumstances under which two young men,


were rescued by Messrs Buckland and Hunter after the capsizing of a small pleasure boat which they bad rowed from the South Pier on the afternoon of the 24th August. (The facts have already been published).—Mr Stevenson, on being called upon to present the certificates, said while our soldiers by their heroism in the battlefield received, by favour of the Queen, such decorations as the Victoria Cross, they had before them that night an instance that peace had its victories not less renowned than war, and were shown that private citizens were as capable of acts courage and self-forgetfulness as those who did brave deeds under the stimulus of war itself. He was glad to find that this act of bravery on the part of Mr Buckland and Mr Hunter had not passed unnoticed; that although the honour did not come from the Crown, it came from Royal Humane Society, which not only provides means for saving life, but bad a secondary duty, that of offering rewards for conspicuous gallantry in rescuing those who may be exposed to danger. He could understand people saying, what a thoughtless thing for these men to risk their lives in that way. But what sort thoughtlessness was it? They had


but only for those whom they saw in danger of perishing before their eyes. They did this without thought of reward, and that was the essence of heroism. It was well that such acts as these should be recognised in some such manner as that, and that those admired such deeds should have opportunity expressing what they felt towards those who performed them, for it was not only gratifying to their feelings, but they wished it to be an encouragement to others and to go and do likewise if they may have a similar opportunity. In regard to one the young men that was rescued —Hall—he had shared in the credit of the transaction, for, able to save himself, swam ashore, and then went back to the assistance of his companion, and but for the assistance of Hunter and Mr Buckland his efforts in that way would only have resulted in the loss of both their lives. This taught a lesson as to the value of learning to swim. (Hear, hear). To the credit of South Shields it had probably fewer who were not able to exercise that useful art than any other town on the coast, (Applause). They had


and that was the more reason those who were exposed to its dangers, arising from eddies and undercurrents, or whatever other causes, should be prepared to meet them. (Hear, hear.) It was also singularly appropriate that they be making those presentations in that place in the presence of the Life Brigade, Mr Hunter himself being a member of that institution. Mr Buckland was not a member, though the name was well known in connection with it, and was familiar to them all. Then it was not the first time Mr Hunter had had the honour of receiving a similar testimonial, for on a previous occasion his bravery was recognised in like manner for rescuing someone under similar circumstances in the same place. He had great pleasure in being the channel the thanks of the Royal Humane Society, which only represented the feelings of the citizens of that town in presenting to their two friends those well-deserved tokens of public approbation. (Loud applause).—Mr Buckland, after the text of the certificates had been read over, said : I beg return our hearty thanks to Mr Malcolm, who has undertaken to secure these testimonials for us, and to the kind friends who have mustered to-night in connection with these proceedings. (Cheers.)—Mr Hunter, on being handed his certificate, made a like brief and appropriate speech. He said: I myself take it as a great honour in being presented with this testimonial, and I trust, if at any time the same service shall be required I shall not forget that I belong to the town whose motto is


and I am sure my friend Mr Buckland under the same circumstances will show that he is made of the right stuff. (Renewed cheers).-The Rev Mr Holmes, who was a witness of the rescue at Frenchman's Bay, bore testimony to the pluck that was exhibited on that occasion.—Mr Malcolm said he had spoken to the young man Hall, and he said that but for the exertions of Mr Buckland and Mr Hunter both he and Thompson would have been drowned.—Captain Robson proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Stevenson for his attendance there on that occasion and for the share he had taken in the proceedings. Mr James Hunter seconded the motion, which was carried by acclamation. Ald. Scott expressed the pleasure it had given him to be there that night, and said there was an additional pleasure to him in the fact that he claimed kindred with one of the recipients of those testimonials. The rocky coasts of Durham and Northumberland furnished history with many deeds of daring such as that these men bad performed, but there was no need to remind the brigade of such acts as these, because there was not a single member but who would be ready to run the same risk in saving life. He concluded by moving a vote of thanks to the chairman, Mr Malcolm seconded, and the preposition having been heartily agreed to the proceedings concluded.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 December 1889

20 December

Mr Joseph Spence was one of the founders of Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade.

The Late Joseph Spence

The funeral of the late Joseph Spence will take place at Preston Cemetery to-morrow, at 2-30 p.m. There will be considerable representation of local bodies. The Mayor of Tynemouth has requested the members of the Town Council to meet him at the Town Hall at 2 o'clock for the purpose of being present at the funeral. Detachments of the Tynemouth and South Shields Life Brigade will form part of the procession. The members of the Tynemouth School Board will also be asked to attend, and there will probably be a considerable representation of the Liberal party in the Borough. The procession is to leave Priors Terrace at 2 p.m. prompt. It will be joined by the members of the Town Council, at the head of Preston Avenue.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 20 December 1889

20 December


MEMBERS desirous of attending the FUNERAL of the late Mr Joseph Spence, are requested to meet in Uniform at the 2 p.m. Ferry, on Saturday first.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 20 December 1889