LIFEBOATS – Whitby Lifeboat Capsized Three of Crew Drowned

Accreditation The Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette 12/01/1877


            A melancholy accident occurred at Whitby on Wednesday morning (10/01). A before two o’clock the schooner ‘Agenoris’ of and for Whitby, from Hartlepool, coals, Peart master, in standing in for the harbour, was driven on the beach. The morning was dark, and the sea very heavy. The harbour master, Capt. Gibson, and the chief officer of coastguard, Mr. R. Smith, single to the schooner that it was not safe to attempt the harbour. To rescue of the crew of the schooner, the lifeboat Harriet the lifeboat Harriet Forteath, belonging to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, was probably launched and manned with her full complement of twelve men, all having their life-belts on. When the lifeboat got abreast of the schooner, the former was unfortunately capsized by the violence of the sea, and all hands except one were thrown overboard. After a painful struggle, this shrieks of the drowning and struggling men be heard in the town amid the stillness of only morning, seven of the poor fellows succeeded, by desperate efforts in regaining their places in the lifeboat, but three sank and were drowned. These ill-fated men were Samuel Lacy, the coxswain, and Richard Gatenby and John Thompson, members of the crew, who leave the wives and families tautly unprovided for. The other man, Storr, who failed to reach the life board, was more fortunate, as he partly swam and was partly washed up on the shore, much exhausted, and beat up on the beach almost at the feet of the coastguards men, who were actively working the rocket apparatus. He was assisted home, and received every attention. The lifeboat having lost several oars was helpless and eventually drifted ashore, and the remainder of the crew were landed. There can be no doubt that the pool of fellows who were drowned lost their life-belts off in the water, as two of the belts have since washed up. The bodies have not been recovered. The crew of the schooner were rescued by rocket apparatus, and the vessel has since become a wreck. The chief officer of the coastguard, Mr. Smith, and the harbour master, Capt. Robert Gibson, were mostly fishing in their exertions throughout the training scene.

Accreditation The Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette


          On Monday (     ), Mr  John Buchannan, coroner, held an inquiry into the circumstances of the death of John Thompson, one of three men drowned by the capsizing of the “Harriet Forteath,” a lifeboat belonging to the National Lifeboat Institution.there were in attendance Rear-Admiral Robertson Mcdonald, Inspector of Lifeboats, Mr. G. W. Smales, Local Secretary to the National Lifeboat Institution, Mr. R . Smith, chief officer of the Whitby Coastguard, Captain Gibson, Harbourmaster: and the Rev . W. T. Linn. After evidence had been heard the Chairman said that there did not seem to be any fault attached to any person or persons, and that the accident was an unavoidable one. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased met his death by drowning, by the capsizing of the lifeboat.



Lol Hansom October 17, 2014 Lifeboat