Annual Report for the Year 1925
The Committee beg to present the 59th Annual Report to the Members of the Brigade and the general public. There was not much of interest to report in the early months of the year, the prevailing winds being westerly, and that meant calm seas in our neighbourhood.
On MAY 19 Capt. Aplin, R.N., Inspector-General of Life-Saving Apparatus, inspected the Brigade. He visited the Brigade House, Rocket House, and examined all the gear etc. Owing to his visit being timed at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it was impossible to hold a drill. He was met by some of the Captains and Secretary, who discussed various matters with him.
THE “CHRONICLE CUP” Competition was held on July 18, Capt. Retly, R. N., Inspector of Life Saving Apparatus, being the judge and umpire. Our team did very well in all stages of the competition except the Heaving Cane. They, however, eventually obtained third place in the competition.
On SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, the first watch of the season was held. Moderate gale from the east, and rain squalls: sea high. Watch kept till midnight, when weather moderated. Watch well attended.
NOVEMBER 25. – The alarm guns were fired at 7.15 a.m., a vessel having been observed in distress off the coast. There was a strong north-east gale blowing with heavy snow showers. The Brigade mustered and the rocket wagon was taken towards the Trow Rocks, where the vessel was observed to be drifting. She finally grounded under the high cliffs at the south side of Ladies’ Bay, or more properly called Graham’s Sand, as it is described in Admiralty charts. After various adventures the Rocket Wagon was got to a spot about 40 yards from the stranded steamer, and the first rocket was successful in establishing communication. In the meantime members of the Brigade and several helpers scaled the high cliffs immediately over the vessel, and P.C. Darling, of the South Shields Police, was lowered over the cliff, the vessel then being about 15 yards away. A line was thrown from the ship, and to this P. C. Darling attached another line, and by this means the only two men on board were rescued. All this was a particularly hazardous proceeding. Darling by this time was accompanied by Station Officer White, who also descended the cliff to help him. The breeches buoy was lowered down the cliff, and the two men, with Darling and White, were hauled up by the Brigade, many of whom were in a very exposed position on the top of the cliff. All were taken to the Brigade House and given dry clothes and refreshments. The Officers and members of the Brigade present exhibited much courage and deserve great credit for work performed under trying circumstances. The ship afterwards was proved to be P. C. 71, one of the war-time “Mystery-ships” which was on its way from Southampton to the Firth of Forth. The watch was continued all day till about 5 o’clock in the evening, when, as the weather had been moderating for some time, the Brigadesmen were at liberty to return to their homes.
NOVEMBER 28. – At 5 p. m. watch commenced, heavy snow falling and strong gale from the north. Eleven p. m. watch continued; 12 p. m. watch continued; squalls abating and weather shows signs of improving. Five-thirty a. m. on the 29th provisions served out for breakfast, and at 6.30 a.m. watch was discontinued.
NOVEMBER 30. – Moderate gale from the north-east. Sea high. Watch discontinued at 1 a.m. on December 1.
DECEMBER 20, SUNDAY. – At 4 a.m. watch was commenced. South easterly gale, snow and sleet. Rocket van out along the pier, and all was got ready. Watch kept all day, members coming and going. At 6 p.m. weather was very stormy and wind increasing; 12 p.m. weather slightly moderating; 6 a.m. on the 21st, watch discontinued.