Events 1910


The monthly drills continued to take place.


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY the 8th of January at 3.30 o’clock.

J.W. BUCKLAND. Ass. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 7 January 1910

18 January

The ambulance division were on duty on election night at the Conservative Club.


The ambulance division the Volunteer Life Brigade were on duty during the evening in case of emergency, Captain Shaw in charge. The men were stationed at the Cabmen’s Shelter Ocean Road, and they had a number of scouts among the crowd. Several cases of fainting and minor accidents due to the crush were attended to.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 19 January 1910


10 February

The Annual Meeting took place.



J.W. BUCKLAND. Ass. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 February 1910

So. Shields Life Brigade
Magnificent Gift
A New Ambulance Detachment


The members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade held their 43rd annual meeting last night in the Watch House, South Pier. Dr J. Robertson Crease, hon. surgeon of the institution presiding over a large gathering. There were also present Captains J. Page, T. R. Grimes, J. W. Buckland, and F. Oliver; Mr G. R. Potts, Mr W. E. Moffett, Mr F. Robertson; Deputy Captains C. Harker, J. W. Buck. C. J. Shaw, and  J. M. Middleton, and others


The annual report, which dealt with the past eighteen months so as to finish up the year at the end of December was read by Capt Buckland, and stated that they had to record sad losses by death and illness. Their treasurer, Mr Alex. Purvis, was suddenly taken from them, a loss which was deeply deplored, for he had endeared himself to all the members. He was the means of greatly increasing the honorary members, thus enabling them to almost wipe off the whole of their debt caused by the alterations and re decoration of the House. The report also made sympathetic reference to the illness of their hon. secretary. The work practical work of the brigade during year had mainly consisted in keeping a good look out for stormy weather. On July 11, 1908, the alarm signals were fired at 12.30, when it was found that a steamer, afterwards ascertained to be the Fairy, lay beached about half way between the Groyne and the South Pier. She had been in collision with the Spanish steamer Mar Negro. The vessel lay in smooth water on the sands and required no assistance. Although the local brigade had not been much in requisition during the past ten months, the records round the coast showed that many valuable lives had been saved by the rocket apparatus. It behoved them, therefore, not to relax their efforts towards efficiency and all other preparations. A very successful First Aid Ambulance Brigade class had carried on under the tuition of Dr Galloway. The members were examined by Dr Medlui of Sunderland, four receiving certificates, two vouchers, one medallion, and three labels. The division connected with St John's Ambulance Brigade were also examined. The Division took part in a review at Gosforth Park in July last, the inspecting officer being Inspector General Belgrave Ninnis. The members acquitted themselves very creditably. The seventh yearly inspection of the Division was held in September when the inspector chief surgeon. Dr. J. Robertson Crease of No. 6 District expressed himself as being well pleased with their appearance and drill. The searchlight division had attended well to their duties. Some had attended every practice held, and all had shown a deep interest in that particular branch of their work. The Brigade was in inspected in December by Captain Daintree, Board of Trade Inspector of Life-saving Apparatus, who expressed himself to be quite satisfied. Although not forming part of the events of the last year the officers and committee desired to tender their hearty thanks to "Shields Gazette” for the gift of the searchlight which was just used the other night for the first time at the wreck of the Alphonse. The light lit up the wreck marvellously and was of great assistance to the members of the Brigade in their operations. The lifeboat crew and the crew of the crew of the wrecked vessel were also loud in their praises. The report also expressed their grateful thanks to the honorary members for their continued support.


The financial statement was read by Capt. Page, and showed at the end of the year there was a balance due at the bank of £7 1s 7d. as compared with £84 at the beginning of the year.

Deputy Captain Harker moved the adoption of the reports, and said that during the year they had paid £50 off the deficit.-The motion was seconded and agreed to.


Mr G. B. Potts, an ex-captain of the Brigade, then presented an excellent portrait of the late Capt. Cottew. He said it was a gift of the Misses Cottew, who also asked him to hand over an envelope containing a cheque towards the funds of the institution. The gift was prompted by the desire of the donors that the Brigade might retain some permanent recollection of their father who during his lifetime was so closely identified with its work. (Applause)

The Chairman on opening the envelope, stated that it contained a cheque for £100, the statement being received with great acclamation. He (the chairman) said the least they could do was express their deep sense of gratitude to the Misses Cottew for their handsome gifts (Applause). They were glad to have the face before them of one who had done much sterling work for the Brigade and they very greatly appreciated the munificent cheque which accompanied it and which would enable them to rid themselves entirely of debt. (Applause). He moved a resolution accordingly.

Captain Page, in seconding, said Captain Cottew was one of the original captains of the institution, and they had had no better friend in the past. (Applause)


The chairman then said there was another matter he wished call their special attention. He referred to the question of forming what was called a First Aid Voluntary Detachment to be called up only in the event of invasion by a foreign foe. It was to be composed of men and women who were in possession of first aid certificates issued by  the St John Ambulance Association. As far as the men were concerned it not necessitate a knowledge of nursing. That was a nursing certificate would not be required.  But it was essential that they should do something in  that district and he would like to see that the Brigade lead the way. In the circular of explanation of the organisation, its objects and duties, etc., it was pointed out that an arm of 300.000 men known as the Territorial Forces liable to be called out for active service in case of invasion or attack has been created for the purpose of defending Great Britain. Experience showed that the average sick rate per day of a force In a European country operating under the conditions of our Territorial Army, was 2 per cent. That meant there would be 6.000 men a day who would have to be cared for, even if only temporarily. In case of a set battle, such as would be sure to occur, in a short time after invasion, any prudent military responsible medical authority would prepare for least 30.000 casualties.  His (the chairman’s) object was if possible half a detachment out of the “First Aids" of the Brigade. That was 33 members. A voluntary aid detachment would consist of men and women under their own officers. It would number at least 88 persons, i.e. 18 officers and four women officers, 48 men and 18 women, or 66 men and 22 women all told. He thought the local Nursing Division would supply eleven of the 22 women, and asked the Brigade to provide the 33 men to make the compliment for half a detachment. The chairman answered various questions, pointing out that the cost would be nil The members would wear a Red Cross badge and it would only be in the event of invasion they would called up.

Before the meeting concluded it was understood that nearly the whole of the required number had enrolled their names.


Capt. Grimes took occasion to refer to the searchlight. He said if anyone had had any misgivings as to the utility they had been entirely swept aside after the experience they had of the use of the light the wreck of the Alphonse. There was not the slightest doubt now that It was of the greatest possible utility both to brigadesmen, lifeboatmen and to shipwrecked mariners themselves and that the latter none had extolled it more (Applause.) He thought that those were facts which ought to be made public and that the donors of the searchlight, the proprietors of the “Gazette" ought to be publicly thanked.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 11 February 1910


There were several matters in. and arising out of the annual meeting of the Volunteer Life Brigade which I think call for some special attention. The members who were faced first of all with the necessity of filling two important posts which had become vacant, namely, the hon. secretaryship and the hon. treasurership. The committee’s selections were unanimously confirmed in each case, Capt. J. B. Bowman taking over the duties of the former and Mr Allan Purvis those of the latter. I am quite sure both appointments will find a ready endorsement in popular opinion. Major Bowman has been in harness in one or another of the many branches of voluntary service which are open to loyal hands and patriotic hearts on all sides of us nearly all his life. It is not surprising therefore, when there was a position to fill which required a little self-sacrifice and  a steady devotion to duty, that the name of such an one should have quite spontaneously come to the minds of those entrusted with such an appointment. l am quite that the new secretary has the interests of the institution at heart and those interests will not suffer but improve in his hands. Upon Mr Allan Purvis has fallen the mantle of his honoured father, who his during his short tenure of office rendered valuable service by his personal influence and his efforts to the Brigade.


The presentation of the portrait of the late Mr Stephen Cottew, one of the four original captains of the Volunteer Life Brigade, was an event sufficiently important of itself to evoke admiration. But it was greatly enhanced because of those who gave it and of the spirit in which it was given. It was the gift the Misses Cottew, the daughters of the deceased, who sent along with it a cheque for £100 as a proof of the sincerity of their loyalty and devotion both to the institution itself and to one whose memory they ardently desire to keep for generations to come. The intrinsic value of the gift is considerable and all the more so as it comes at a moment when some financial embarrassments were resting upon the institution. But more than that, it is a beautiful tribute to one whose active interest and support in the Brigade never flagged during his life time, and it loses nothing, but gains incalculably by reason of the source from which it comes. Captain Cottew, it is worth recalling here, was also one of the first officers of the South Shields Rifle Corp formed in 1859.

By the way, the other three original captains of the Brigade were also well known townsmen, M. Cay. W. Cay and T. Tinmouth, all whom predeceased Captain Cottew. Is it too much to hope that someday their portraits will also  embellish the walls the House!


There is another matter which makes its appeal to those outside as well as inside the institution. That is with regard to the raising of one or more ambulance bodies known as Voluntary Aid Detachments. The only qualification for membership of these new organisations is the possession of a first aid certificate. or in the case of women, a nursing certificate A detachment consists of 88 persons,66 men and 22 women -and in view of the fact that upwards of 40,000 first aid and nursing certificates have been secured by residents of South Shields alone, no very formidable difficulty ought to present itself in any serious effort that is made to establish two more of these detachments here. In ambulance work the Volunteer Life Brigade has always been in the vanguard, and it is peculiarly fitting that the new patriotic movement should first materialise itself under its immediate care. The proposal for the present is to establish a half detachment. Nearly the whole of the men required were forthcoming at the meeting in question, so that as far as numbers are required it is indeed an assured thing, and if there is no undue waste of time perfecting details the honour will be ours of holding the premier Voluntary Aid Detachment in the district. As to the objects and duties they are simple, but essential and invaluable. The main fact to be born in mind is that the detachments are only intended to operate in the event of invasion by a foreign foe, and remote as that emergency may be, it is nevertheless a fact that if precautions of the kind are desirable at all they are certainly desirable on this particular coast line. I don’t know what is being done or is intended to be done in furtherance of this movement outside the Brigade, but I have no doubt that “First Aids” will in due course learn something more about the matter.

Source : Shields Daily Gazette 16 February 1910



THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY the 5th of March at 4.0 o’clock.

J.B. BOWMAN, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 4 March 1910

The Brigade forms part of the first Volunteer Aid Detachment in the town.

Shields to the Front

A few weeks I referred to an effort that was made to establish a volunteer aid detachment in the borough. To-day I have to congratulate the town upon its acquisition of such an organisation and as it is the first of its kind established in the north, probably in the whole country, the fact will not be lightly esteemed. I have to qualify the statement to explain mg that it is only a half detachment but that is immaterial for the present, because is a competent and independent body of itself. There was never much doubt about the effort being crowned with success seeing that, the appeal in the first instance was made to the members of the Volunteer Life Brigade, who have been in the vanguard of many kindred movements. A half detachment numbers 44 persons, made up of nine officers, two lady superintendents, 24 men and nine women, or 33 men and 11 women. These have been drawn from two sources exclusively the Volunteer Life Brigade who are the premier ambulance corps in the borough and the Nursing Division.  A very graceful act by the way has been done in electing Mrs J R. Crease, the first Lady Superintendent and Mrs Warren, the second Lady Superintendent of this newly organised body, of which we shall learn a good deal in the  future. Having regard to the long and devoted services of Mrs Crease and her assistant on behalf of the local ambulance work, the honour is well bestowed and it redounds as well the credit and discrimination of those who conferred it.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23 March 1910

30 March

The Ambulance Division held their annual dinner.

Volunteer Life Brigade
The Ambulance Division at South Shields

The second annual dinner in connection with the Ambulance Division of the South Shields Volunteer Life brigade was held last night in the Victoria Hall, Dr Crease presiding over a fairly large gathering. He was supported by the Chief Constable (Mr Wm. Scott), Deputy Commissioner Palmer, Mr Jas. Page, Major J. B. Bowman, Mr Alan Purvis, Dr Sutherland, Dr Galloway, Dr Shepherd, Capt. Oliver, Deputy Capt. Buckland, Deputy Capt Shaw, Sergt. Fitzpatrick, hon. secretary and others.

The toast of the ambulance Division was given by Chief Constable Scott, who spoke of the valuable work of the institution and Capt. Buckland responded, reviewing the formation and growth of the division.

In giving the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, Capt. Jas. Page, who is secretary of the local division, remarked that the total membership of the brigade now numbered some 12,000 and they were able to do very valuable work. There could be no doubt that at least twenty-five percent of this number had been out in South Africa in active service. This was an illustration of the value of the institution.

Deputy Commissioner Palmer responded at some length and thanked Mr Page for doing him the honour of coupling his name with the toast. The work which they had done, and which they were prepared to do in the future, was known all over the world, while members were to be found wherever the British flag flew. He briefly alluded to the splendid work done by the brigade in the recent war in South Africa, and believed that in that work they had surprised the military authorities. He spoke of the voluntary first aid detachments and said that he was pleased to see that South Shields was one of the first towns in the North of England to take up the matter. It was necessary that towns like South Shields should be to the fore in such matters for the services they would be able to render in the case of invasion from foreign nations would be most valuable. It was a patriotic and noble work and they would always be prepared to render what services they could.

Other toasts were enthusiastically honoured and during the evening an excellent programme of music was gone through, the following gentlemen submitting contributions.

Messrs T. W. Tomlinson, Page, Ingledew, Harton, Smith, Shaw, Stewart and Fitzpatrick, a very enjoyable evening being spent.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 31 March 1910



THE NEXT DRILL will take place on WEDNESDAY the 6th of April at 7.30 o’clock.

J.B. BOWMAN, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 April 1910

The Searchlight in Life Saving Work
A South Shields Illustration.

“The Electrician” the oldest journal of electrical engineering contains the following:-

To the ordinary person the searchlight is often looked upon as an accessory for the killing of people – that is to say , it is used on battleships to help the gun firing and on our coast defences for very similar purposes. That it can, however, be successfully employed for life-saving is shown in an incident which occurred at South Shields.

In 1907 our contemporary the “South Shields Daily Gazette and Shipping Telegraph” presented to the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade a searchlight for use in connection with its work. The Brigade was founded in 1866 and has its headquarters at the pier. The projector equipment is placed in the Watch House on the South Pier, the generator being in the basement and the projector on the first floor. This floor is fitted with windows all round, so that the projector can be wheeled to any position and throw its light in any required direction. The set operating the light consists of a vertical petroleum engine of Messrs Norris and Henty’s make, delivering 10 h.p. when running at 800 rev. per min. This is coupled to a 65-volt 85-ampere Crompton dynamo, which feeds through the usual switchboard and controlling apparatus a 24 in. Crompton projector.

The formal opening ceremony of this set took place on October 24, 1907, and the volunteer brigade have practised with it in conjunction with the rocket apparatus every Friday night since. It had not however, been employed for actual life saving until a week or two ago, when it was used in connection with the rescue of the crew from the Norwegian barquentine Alphonse. In the course of a storm this ship was driven on the beach 200 yards north of the Trow Rocks, South Shields. Although the rocket apparatus was despatched, the crew did not seem capable of using it, so that after several attempts the lifeboat way launched and all hands were successfully brought off in it. In connection with the rescue work the searchlight proved itself of great value both to the rescued and the rescuers.  From every part the beach the vessel could be seen easily as in daylight, although it was nearly a mile distant from the pier. It is not surprising to hear that testimonials to the usefulness of the equipment were paid both by the life boat brigade and the captain of the wrecked vessel.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 26 April 1910



THE NEXT DRILL will take place on WEDNESDAY the 4th of May at 8.0 o’clock.

J.B. BOWMAN, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 May 1910

20 May

The Brigade attended the memorial service for the late king.


THE BRIGADE will attend the MEMORIAL SERVICE to His late Majesty King Edward VII at ST HILDAS CHUCH on FRIDAY the 20th inst. Time and place of muster will be notified by post card later.

J B BOWMAN Hon. Sec.

May 14th. 1910.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 14 May 1910


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on WEDNESDAY the 1st of June at 8.0 o’clock.

J.B. BOWMAN, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 May 1910


The ambulance examination results were announced.

Ambulance Work

Mr Claud Palmer paid South Shields the compliment the other day of being the best town in the North in connection with the ambulance movement. I think the fact is worth preserving here, coming as it does from the lips of one who, of all men, is entitled to speak on this topic. The first ambulance corps in the borough, I believe, was that associated with the Volunteer Life Brigade, and possibly its first teacher was Dr Crease, the present hon. surgeon of the institution. Its members have gone up for examination year after year, climbing the ladder of proficiency step by step until many have reached the highest rung. That is the “Label" honours.  According to the returns of the last official examination, which was conducted by Dr. Shepherd, all who were presented have passed. The list is not a long one and it is sufficiently interesting to deserve a place here. The passes were as follows Voucher—G. Smith; medallion—W. Brown A. G. Robertson; Label —J. L. Fitzpatrick, T. Readford, T. Crosbie, C. E. Shaw, R. D. Hall, J. D. Robson and H. McDonnell. The present hon. tutor, who may reasonably feel proud of the list, is Dr. Galloway.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 15 June 1910