Station history

Station established in 1825 although it apparently lapsed about 1829 until a lifeboat was sent in 1867.  The Institution's Journal for July 1867 quotes:

"A lifeboat establishment has been founded by the Institution at Courtmacsherry.  A lifeboat was once placed here, but it was never housed and ultimately went into decay.  The Coastguardsmen and boatmen here often run very great risk in rescuing by means of their own open boats the crews of wrecked vessels."

1840

Silver Medal awarded to Mr Barnabus E Quadling, Chief Officer of Coastguard and monetary awards to seven other men for the rescue, by means of a boat, of the crew of four of the sloop John and Ellen, which was wrecked whilst bound for Courtmacsherry from Newport on 21 February 1840.

1842

Gold Medal awarded to Mr Barnabus E Quadling, Chief Officer of Coastguard and £10 to five other Coastguards for the rescue of the crew of 14 of the Brig Latona, which was wrecked at Courtmacsherry on 7 February 1842.

1867

Lifeboat house constructed at a cost of £170.

A new SR 32ft lifeboat City of Dublin, built at a cost £250 was placed on service in February.

1874

A grant of £15 was given to the owner of a horse which was taken ill after a service.

1885

A new 34ft SR lifeboat Farrant (ON103), built at a cost of £300, was placed on service.

1887

Silver Medals awarded to the Misses Maria and Josephine Horsford and to Mr W C L Sullivan for rescuing at great risk, owing to the smallness of their boat, two women and two men from a sailing boat which had capsized in Courtmacsherry Bay on 12 August 1887.

1901

Corrugated iron lifeboat house on concrete base and a slipway constructed at a cost of £1,300 on a new site at Barry Point.

A new 37ft SR lifeboat Kezia Gwilt (ON467), built at a cost of £467, was placed on service.

1904

The Journal for August 1904 quotes as follows:-
"On the 1st January, 1904 the lifeboat Kezia Gwilt rendered very useful service to the barque Faulconnier of Dunkirk.  During a strong breeze from east south east and rough, with somewhat hazy weather, the barque stranded, about 6.30 am, in a very exposed and rocky position known as the Seven Heads, about four miles by land from Courtmacsherry.  Her lights were seen by the people at the Cove close by, and a messenger was despatched for the lifeboat.  In the meantime a yawl manned by six local fishermen put off to succour the crew of 26 men who had taken to their boats, but owing to the heavy sea breaking were unable to land.  The shore boat made two trips, bringing 15 of the men ashore, but while returning the second time a heavy sea struck the boat, throwing all her occupants into the water; happily they all managed to get ashore, some being badly bruised. Eleven of the ship's company still remained to be saved; the lifeboat was on its way and they managed to keep the boat end on to the sea until she reached them.  Their position was one of great peril; to starboard, within 200 or 300 yards, was dangerous reef of rocks, while on the port side the ship lay wrecked on another reef.  After strenuous efforts and considerable risk the lifeboat reached them and took them aboard; she then made for Courtmacsherry where the men, who were all French, were duly cared for.  The greatest credit is due to the fishermen who put off in the shore boat to assist the shipwrecked men and they were rewarded by the Institution for their bravery.  The Faulconnier was a large barque of 1,715 tons and was bound from San Francisco to Queenstown with a cargo of corn, when this disaster overtook her; she eventually became a total wreck."

1915

On the 7 May the famous liner Lusitania is sunk off the old Head of Kinsale, with the loss of 1,198 souls – torpedoed by a German submarine U-20. She sank in just 17 minutes. Kezia Gwilt was the first rowed boat to the scene.

1928

The station was temporarily closed due to crew shortages.

1929

The station opened again and the lifeboat was placed on moorings on the river.

A new motorised Watson class lifeboat Sarah Ward and William David Crosweller (ON716), built at a cost of £8,454, was placed on service.

1930

Centenary Vellum presented to station.

1952

Coxswain Denis Driscoll retired after serving for nearly 24 years as an officer of the lifeboat, during which time he helped in the rescue of 50 lives.

1958

A new Watson class lifeboat Sir Arthur Rose (ON801), built at a cost of £8,358 and previously on service in Tobermory and Mallaig, was placed on station in February and the Sarah Ward and William David Crosweller transferred to the reserve fleet.

1968

A Frenchman who was rescued by the Courtmacsherry lifeboat on 1 January 1904 sent a donation to the branch in appreciation of the kindness shown to his daughter when she visited Courtmacsherry in 1968.  She was shown the site of the wreck and met the only surviving member of the crew who took part in the service.

1969

A new Watson class lifeboat Helen Wycherley (ON959), built in 1961 at a cost of £35,500 and previously on service in Whitehills, was placed on station in August and the Sir Arthur Rose transferred to the reserve fleet.

1975

150th Anniversary Vellum presented to station.

1979

A special framed certificate awarded to the coxswain and crew for display at the station in recognition of their services in connection with numerous yachts in difficulties during the Fastnet Race on 14 August.

1981

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, The Duke of Atholl, awarded to Acting Coxswain/Mechanic J B Madden in recognition of his determination and leadership when the Helen Wycherley lifeboat under his command searched for survivors from the fishing boat Blue Whale which had capsized and sunk off Barry's Point in storm force south-easterly winds and violent seas on 19 December.

1987

A new Solent class lifeboat R Hope Roberts (ON1011), previously on service in Rosslare, Fraserburgh and Galway, was placed on station in October and the Helen Wycherley sold off for use as an angling boat.

1993

A new Waverney class lifeboat Arthur and Blanche Harris (ON1005), previously on service in Barry Dock, was placed on station and the R Hope Roberts transferred to Poole for sale.

1995

A new Trent Class lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn (ON1205) was placed on service. The lifeboat was funded by the generous bequest of Frederick Storey Cockburn. The Waveney class lifeboat has been withdrawn.

1998

Boathouse extension to improve crew facilities was completed in August.

1999

Bronze Medal awarded to Second Coxswain Daniel O'Dwyer and Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution awarded to Assistant Mechanic Colin Bateman and Crew Members Michael Cox, Patrick Lawton, Alan Locke, Brian O'Donovan and Michéal O'Donovan for the rescue of three people from the yacht Supertaff in storm force 10 south westerly winds on 24 October 1998.

2003

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution Mr Peter Nicholson, awarded to Coxswain Dan O’Dwyer in recognition of his seamanship in the saving of an injured yachtsman from the disabled yacht Bowden in Force 11 winds and severe seas on 1 December 2002.

MEDAL RECORD

Six medals have been awarded, one Gold four Silver, and one Bronze the last being voted in 1998.