Norwegian seamen rescued by Nairn lifeboatmen

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jen wilson
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Norwegian seamen rescued by Nairn lifeboatmen

Post by jen wilson » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:07 pm

During my research on my father's side, I came across the following newspaper report and thought that there may well be others out there who would be interested.

August 12th 1885

" During Wednesday night and Thursday morning a severe gale was experienced here. Early on Thursday morning a telegram was received by Mr Donaldson, the Honorary Secretary of the Nairn Lifeboat, from Burghead, stating that a barque was ashore on the Old Bar near Findhorn, beyond the reach of the rocket apparatus and requesting the services of the Nairn Lifeboat. An urgent telegram was received from Findhorn to the same effect. The regular crew of the lifeboat being absent at the fishing ( with the exception of Smith the coxswain), Mr Donaldson set about getting a volunteer crew to man the boat and by the time the gear was ready the following crew volunteered: Captain Bain, Messrs James C. Crawford, coalmerchant, James Main Bunker, John Ralph, David Jamieson Dye, Clarence Howe, Joseph Ruffell, Alex McGillivray, Adam Piercy, John Macintosh, James Ross, Donald McLennan and James Smith. The crew having donned their cork jackets took their places in the boat and a large crowd of willing hands having assembled, the lifeboat was run down the beach and pushed off. Owing to the tide being low, some 10 minutes had to be waited before the boat was fully afloat but when it got fairly under weigh the crew rowed her manfully into the surf. It was really a grand site to see the boat now riding high on the crest of the waves and down in the hollow between the seas and again mounting up. But the crew had hard work keeping her head to the sea and for over an hour they laboured manfully in pulling her through the surf. When clear of the broken water, they hoisted the sail and proceeded eastwards, running down where the ship was in about an hour. The found the vessel stranded on the beach opposite the Culbin sands. The sea was running very high and breaking completely over the vessel. She lay parallel with the line of the coast with her head to the east. The lifeboat rounded to on her lee-side. The crew was seen to be still aboard and communications having been established the lifeboat proceeded to take of the men. This operation was attended with considerable peril and occupied over an hour as the men had to be taken off singly, one after another of them jumping on board the lifeboat. Some exciting scenes took place but happily the last man of the ten composing the crew was got off without any mishap. A tremendous sea was running in and it was of no little difficulty to get the lifeboat clear of the wreck and once more out to sea. Ultimately they got off the shore and set sail for Nairn. Meanwhile great excitement existed at Nairn and when the vessel was descried in the distance,making for the harbour a large crowd gathered on the pier head to await its arrival.
The following particulars of the wreck were then learned - the vessel was the barque Himalaya from Ivedstrand, of 391 tons, commanded by Captain Samuelson, laden with a cargo of timber from Sundswall in Sweden and bound for Inverness, the wood being for Messrs Walker and Coy."

As a result of the incident the lifeboat crew received recognition from the King of Norway in the form of medals and parchments.

Hope this is of some interest to someone out there. It was to me - Clarence Howe, a crewman was my great grandfather.

Jen
Names: Howe, Shaw, Raitt, Milne, Forsyth, Daniel, Hay, Jaffrey, McDonald, McKenzie, McBeath, Duncan, Smith, Crichton, Birnie, Robertson, Craighead, Alexander, Mitchel, Martin, Black, Laurenson, Murdo, Seymour.

Anne H
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Post by Anne H » Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:16 am

Hi Jen,

What an interesting report...I felt as if I was standing on the shore waiting for everyone to come back safely. Your great grandfather and the others were very brave indeed...what a treasure to find and thanks for sharing it :)

Regards,
Anne H

jen wilson
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Location: Cumbria

Post by jen wilson » Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:56 pm

I realised after I had posted it that I had missed a small amount out but nothing to change the general feel of it. I have to thank the very kind staff at the museum in Nairn who dug this report out for me. All I knew was that great grandfather, Clarence, had been given an award for his part in a sea rescue and with only a vague idea of the date, I went into the museum with very little hope of finding anything else. Imagine how pleased I was when I was able to see the original newspaper report and to take away a copy. Then to be able to stand by the harbour and imagine how it must have been, completely made the trip worthwhile.

Cheers,

Jen
Names: Howe, Shaw, Raitt, Milne, Forsyth, Daniel, Hay, Jaffrey, McDonald, McKenzie, McBeath, Duncan, Smith, Crichton, Birnie, Robertson, Craighead, Alexander, Mitchel, Martin, Black, Laurenson, Murdo, Seymour.

Anne H
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Post by Anne H » Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:53 am

Jen wrote:
...I went into the museum with very little hope of finding anything else. Imagine how pleased I was when I was able to see the original newspaper report and to take away a copy.
I'll bet it was like finding gold :)
Then to be able to stand by the harbour and imagine how it must have been, completely made the trip worthwhile.
I imagine that would have been a wonderful experience for you :!:


When I was home last year I was staying at my sister's house and took a shortcut down to the Main Street in Coatbridge. On the way, I happened to look up at the street name on one of the buildings and was in awe when I realized that my great great grandmother lived there 1870 - 1871...it wasn't a great big fancy house, but just knowing my ancestors were right there all those years ago gave me goosepimples :)

Regards,
Anne H

Pam Peek
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Re: Norwegian seamen rescued by Nairn lifeboatmen

Post by Pam Peek » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:26 am

Hi Jen,
Was researching King Oscar of Norway on the net as he issued the medals to the sailors who went out to rescue the Himalaya on 12th August 1885. I then decided to try and track down the barque on the net and your post came up so I joined the Talking Scot and am just finding my way around it! Thought you might like to know that my Great Grandfather was also one of the crew members, Adam Piercy - how exciting for us both. But even more so, I have just returned from a visit to "home" in Scotland and was given the medal to give to my son here in Australia. I wonder if there are any more of the descendants from that can be tracked down from the men that went out so courageously that night. There was an article published in the Nairnshire Telegraph on August 20 1985 about this...on their section of 100 years ago and I have a copy of it. I wonder if that is what you have a copy of from the museum. Just looking through the two articles, most of what you have written is the same. However, there is a little more in the copy I have from the paper. My second cousin passed the medal on to me as he was the one who lived with Adam and wife when he was a little boy. Adam lived to 1948 and passed away after his wife within 6 months and both were 90 years old. I was only 3 years old at the time but am fascinated by the history of Adam's life and have been up to where he salmon fished in the north and also near Forres. How thrilling to have found your article. Pam, Brisbane.

Russell
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Re: Norwegian seamen rescued by Nairn lifeboatmen

Post by Russell » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:37 am

Hi Pam

Welcome to [talkingscot]
This is what TalkingScot is all about. making contact with relatives and exchanging information. I noticed that Jen has not visited the board for a couple of years but if the e-mail address is still active an alert will be sent. You could also use the PM button under the name on posts to send a personal message.
Finding a news report or obituary about a relative really gives you a feeling of knowing more about the person in a way that a death or marriage extract fails to do. I found an obituary in the BMA about a gr-great uncle who practised his medicine in Gibraltar and Malta and it set me off on a whole new exploratory journey in places with quite different systems and records. Quite fascinating and rewarding.

Russell
Working on: Oman, Brock, Miller/Millar, in Caithness.
Roan/Rowan, Hastings, Sharp, Lapraik in Ayr & Kirkcudbrightshire.
Johnston, Reside, Lyle all over the place !
McGilvray(spelt 26 different ways)
Watson, Morton, Anderson, Tawse, in Kilrenny

Currie
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Re: Norwegian seamen rescued by Nairn lifeboatmen

Post by Currie » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:52 pm

Captain Bain was presented with his medal in Glasgow and there was a write-up in the Glasgow Herald, Tuesday, August 3, 1886.


PRESENTATION FOR GALLANTRY TO A GLASGOW SHIPMASTER.
At a meeting, of the Local Marine Board yesterday, Captain Bain, of Messrs Stobo & Bain, marine surveyors, St Vincent Street, was presented with a silver medal, awarded by the King of Norway for services rendered to the shipwrecked crew of the Norwegian vessel Himalaya. The presentation was made by Mr Thomas Henderson, of the Anchor Line, chairman of the Board, who presided. The Himalaya, he said, was a vessel of 391 tons register, with timber from Arendal to Inverness, and was driven ashore in August last at the Old Bar, about seven miles from Nairn. With a scratch crew of volunteers, the regular crew being at the fishing at the time, Captain Bain then rescued ten men, being the whole of the crew of the vessel in distress, in the Nairn life-boat. There was a tremendous sea running, and the life-boat several times was in great danger. After launching the life-boat a considerable time elapsed before Captain Bain was able to get into deep water, more than an hour being occupied in passing through the surf. He then succeeded in hoisting a sail, and in about an hour reached the ship in distress. The vessel was stranded on the beach opposite Culbin, a very dangerous part of the coast. The sea was running very high, and was breaking completely over the vessel at the time. She lay parallel with the line of the coast, with her head to the east. The life-boat cautiously rounded to on her lee side, and the crew had to be taken off singly, not having the use of ropes and lines, the men jumping one after another into the sea, and being lifted into the boat. Great difficulty was experienced in getting the life-boat clear of the wreck and away to sea again; but ultimately she was got safely away, and after a long pull the men reached Nairn and landed, where the crew of the life-boat and the rescued crew were received with great demonstrations by the assembled multitude.

He was sure it must be very gratifying to Captain Bain to have had this opportunity of distinguishing himself in the exercise of humanity, and it was very pleasing to the Board that the Norwegian Government had thought it right and proper that his services on that occasion should be so recognised. He had very great pleasure in presenting him with the medal, and wishing him long life to wear it. Captain Bain, in acknowledging the presentation, said that in the absence of the regular crew, and in responding to the summons for volunteers to man the life-boat, he only did what he would expect another sailor to do for him if unfortunately placed in similar circumstances, and that too without ever raising the question as to whether he was stranded on the shores of the Moray Firth or on the rocky coast of Norway; and he was confident that the same feeling existed in the heart of every man who accompanied him. During an experience of over 30 years of sea life he had never suffered shipwreck or stranding in any form, consequently he took a place for the first time in a national life-boat, and he could assure them he was not a little interested in her qualifications as a sea boat when in broken water, and also in the completeness of her outfit of oars, masts, sails, ropes, lead lines, and grapnels, each and all made of the best material and in the handiest form. Her sea qualities became more evident on the return trip laden with 23 men, when, although frequently flush to the gunwales with water, her buoyancy, life-like motion, and self-emptying capabilities were, in his estimation, as near perfection as possible. There and then, both in the hollow of the sea and the crest of the wave, he concluded that the sailors, or indeed the general public, did not sufficiently support an institution that did so much for them on dark, stormy nights at so many dangerous points extending from the Land's End to John o' Groat's House. In conclusion, he again thanked the Board and, through the Board, the Norwegian Government for the honour they had conferred upon him by the presentation of the medal, which, he remarked, he should wear on great occasions with, he thought, pardonable pride.


There’s a bit of extra information about the wrecked ship here.
http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/20 ... ray+firth/

Alan

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