The Signal Guns at Tynemouth.—The great value of these signals was clearly demonstrated on Friday night, for within five minutes of the time of the barque Sovereign setting fire to the tar barrel, as a sign of distress, the signal was replied to by blue lights from the south pier, and three guns from Tynemouth, this being the number of guns to denote a vessel or vessels ashore at the south side of the harbour. Two guns denotes the north side. However, the signal was responded to by the Life Brigades on both sides, and help in abundance was afforded the shipwrecked crews, with a dispatch and alacrity never before known at night time. We had another instance of it at a quarter to five o'clock this (Monday) morning. The barque Camilla, of Shields, got amongst the large heavy rollers off the south pier end, and she let go her anchors, and fortunately they held till assistance came. Had she struck the foundations she could scarcely have held together many minutes, as there was terrific sea rolling in on the pier. Three guns were fired at Tynemouth, help was instantly given her, and in very short time she was towed safely into the harbour, instead, as formerly, driving ashore and hammering her bottom out till daylight revealed her position. Within six minutes of the guns firing this morning there were seven or eight men down on the sand end, ready to launch the Northumberland lifeboat in case of need. Amongst the number were Mr Hewitt, Superintendent of police; Mr H. F. Hemy, &c., and several pilots.
Source: Newcastle Journal 20 November 1866