Community News Summer 2015 – Historic Medal comes home to Baltimore

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Published on: June 29, 2015

 A rare opportunity to secure a piece of Baltimore Lifeboat history came to light earlier last month. An extremely scarce and very fine Royal National Lifeboat Institution Silver Gallantry Medal, George V, awarded in 1917 to the Venerable Archdeacon John Richard Hedges Becher, for the gallant rescue of survivors from the SS Alondra came up for sale. The medal was being sold from a private collection and had previously been on public display at the base of Lagan Search & Rescue – the independent lifeboat service for Belfast.  Donations to defray the costs of medal purchase are very welcome as is any additional information concerning the fate of Archdeacon Becher – please contact Tom Bushe.

 

The exact cause of the wrecking of the Alondra is not entirely clear. What is known is that the ship ran aground on Kedge Rock. After its grounding sixteen of the Alondra’s crew were able to get  aboard one of three ship’s lifeboats, 

 

but ended up drowning before they could reach safety. Another man died on board. Meanwhile, the Archdeacon John Richard Hedges

Becher, who was serving as the Honorary Secretary of the Baltimore (RNLI), set out to re

scue the stranded crew. He failed to reach the Alondra on the first try, then again on the second. When the sun rose, they set out a third time. In total, 23 men were rescued from the steamboat with the assistance of Royal Navy trawlers. The RNLI awarded Silver Medals for Gallantry to both Archdeacon Becher and to Lieutenant Sanderson for assisting with t

he rescue. In 1913, the RNLI had established a lifeboat base in Baltimore, which could have been of assistance in rescuing the crew of the Alondra. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Great War delayed the official opening of the base until 1919.

This famous rescue has been the subject of a recent film as part of the RNLI’s commemoration of the Great War. The film was made in Baltimore and features lifeboat crew alongside a cast drawing from talent in Baltimore Amateur Drama.  The film was last screened in May 2015 in the National Library of Ireland.

John Richard Hedges Becher’s death was announced in the Times on the 7th May 1929. The announcement read “Deaths - At Nakuru Hospital Kenya, after surgery, John R H Becher, Archdeacon of Ross, father of Mar

y Littleton, Ballyheary, Ashford, Co Wickford & Norah Trench, Molo, Kenya. The Southern Star, on the 11th May 1929, also reported “….the death this week of the Venerable Archdeacon Becher….He was the son of the Late Michael Becher of Carriganear, Maulbrack, Skibbereen, and subsequently of Ardralla House, Newcourt, Skibbereen and he was nephew of the late Mr John R H Becher of Lough Ine House, and cousin-German of The Rev Henry Becher, ex Dean of Ross. The late Archdeacon ministered in Youghal…to Castletownsend…to Baltimore…to Bantry…he was instrumental in bringing a Life Boat to Baltimore…for his health he went to Kenyan Colony. Everybody liked & most people loved him.”

News Update

On Sunday May 10th at 16:50 Baltimore Lifeboat responded to a distress call from a fishing boat that had broken down approx. 40 nautical miles south of Baltimore. The vessel was Irish registered at Sligo with a displacement of approx. 100 tonnes, Mizen Head Coast Guard reported 5 people on board at the time that the alert was raised. The all-weather lIfeboat Alan Massey was launched at 17:00 under the command of coxswain K. Cotter, with crew, J. Smith, P. Collins , K. Collins, A. Bushe, B. McSweeney and G. Sheehy as crew. The lifeboat proceeded south and directly into the prevailing swell which made progress slow, about 14 to 17 knots. Wind was from the South Force 5-6, visibility moderate, sea state rough to very rough (2.5-4.0m and 4.0-6.0m) the swell being predominately 3 to 4 metres but at times 5 metres. The distressed vessel was sighted at at 19:35. The lifeboat established a tow at 19:55 shortly after arriving on scene. The return journey was a lot smoother than the journey out and averaged about 6.5knots, making the shelter of Baltimore Harbour at at 02:15 on Monday morning. A falling tide delayed berthing, but eventually the fishing vessel was secured at the pier at 03:20. Coxswain Kieran Cotter commented afterwards ‘it was a difficult shout because of the distance from shore and the weather conditions, its great to have such an experienced crew who performed excellently under arduous conditions” 

On 25 May a flare was sighted in Baltimore Harbour at 2:15. The inshore lifeboat was launched immediately under the command of Helm Jerry Smith and proceeded directly towards the the Cove where a 10 metre yacht which had been attempting to reach her own mooring had fouled her propellor. There were three adult males on board at the time. The lifeboat took a rope from the bow of the yacht to the mooring. Once secured the lifeboat returned to station, the whole operation being completed in 45 minutes. On board the Alice and Charles were Helm Jerry Smith with crew Youen Jacob & John Kearney. Slip crew: Tom Kelly, Rianne Smith & Sean McCarthy

On 20 May a joint exercise was held  on 

combining the efforts of RNLI Baltimore, RNLI Union Hall, Toe Head Coastguard. Schull Community Inshore Rescue & Civil Defence. This was a valuable exercise in anticipation of a busy Summer season when so many people take to the water to enjoy the great boating areas of West Cork. We encourage all boaters to take care and stay safe. We’re always here to help but prevention is the best cure! Respect the Water.

 

Lifeboat on two separate shouts this morning

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Published on: June 18, 2015

The all weather lifeboat was launched this morning 18 June, when reports were received that a yacht had been dismasted 5 nautical miles south of the Fastnet Rock. The hi-tech 21ft racing yacht has been competing in a race from France around the Fastnet and back when the top section [...]

Mizen Watch

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Published on: June 14, 2015

Following on from last year where a number of thefts took place on the Mizen Head and the Baltimore area An Garda Siochana Schull are launching a Crime prevention campaign for the summer of 2015 aimed at raising awareness with people who own boats, kayaks, canoe’s and any other form of maritime equipment. Please see the information leaflet below or contact Michael Walsh RNLI Sea Safety Officer.

 

ILB launches to assist propped yacht in Baltimore Harbour

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Published on: May 25, 2015

A flare was sighted in Baltimore Harbour this afternoon 25th May at 2:15. The inshore lifeboat  was launched immediately under the command of Helm Jerry Smith. They proceeded directly towards the the Cove where a 10 metre yacht which had been attempting to reach her own mooring had become became [...]

Community News Easter 2015

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Published on: March 30, 2015

  The past few months have been quiet at the station in terms of shouts, but work continues with training at sea and ashore. We are delighted that our all weather lifeboat Alan Massey is back on station again. She had been sent to the UK for works in December [...]

Happy New Year

Categories: Events
Published on: December 31, 2014

Happy New Year from all at Baltimore RNLI Lifeboat Station

Community News Update December 2014

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Published on: December 27, 2014

Baltimore lifeboat station has gone through a huge period of growth and development over the past ten years. During that time we have seen an inshore Atlantic 75 lifeboat co-located with a new Tamar class all weather lifeboat. The station house itself has undergone massive change; a new berth and cradle mean that crew can step aboard lifeboats from dry land. The number of volunteers at the station has risen dramatically during this period to. We now have fifty-five volunteers, including lifeboat crew, shore crew and the Sea Safety team, alongside the very important fund-raising and administrative / maintenance functions that are necessary to run a busy station. Most recently two volunteers, Gerald O’Brien and Rianne Smith, have taken on the role of Deputy Launching Authority (DLA) joining Vincent Roantree who was appointed four years ago. Their role is to support the Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM), Tom Bushe. 

The DLAs play an important role in the chain of command for launching the lifeboats whether it be for a rescue or an exercise. The protocols for responding to an emergency at sea are well defined. A 999 call to emergency services is diverted to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard have an overview of all available rescue assets in an area, which could be RNLI, Coast Guard Units or Community Rescue Services. They will be aware when for example a Search and Rescue (SAR) resource has been taken off service for essential maintenance or if it is already tasked elsewhere. The Coast Guard can set off ILB and ALB crew pagers remotely. This is when they contact the DLA requesting the launch of RNLI lifeboats. The all weather lifeboat is equipped to go to sea in all weather conditions, while the ILB has a more limited range of conditions in which it is safe to launch. This does not happen very often. The DLA takes the names of all crew who have boarded the lifeboat going on service as a safety measure. When exercises are planned the Helm or Coxswain submit an exercise planning form containing names of crew, the area in which the exercise is taking place, the estimated time of departure and arrival back at the station. When the exercise has been completed the DLA is notified of the safe return of all crew. In this way the DLAs manage the safe operation of lifeboats and crew. There are lessons here for all those involved in managing maritime activities whether they be leisure or otherwise. We ask people to always be safety conscious and as we approach the New Year we urge everyone to let us know when and where fireworks/flares or Chinese lanterns might be lit, as they are frequently the cause of false alarms.

 

While we have a large complement of volunteers at the station, we are still looking for anyone who might be interested in doing video editing of material recorded on lifeboat cameras. Please contact Tom Bushe in this regard.

 

On a sad note, this year saw the passing of a long-serving RNLI local branch Treasurer and former DLA, Pat Fehilly. He is a great loss to his wife Maria, family, friends and the wider community and we in Baltimore Lifeboat will remember him fondly. LOM Tom Bushe remarked “since 1999 Pat served as a volunteer at the station in a number of different roles, throughout this time he was a gentlemen in every sense of the word. We extend our sincerest sympathies to his wife Maria and family”.

 

Inshore Lifeboat assists with Medical Evacuation in Roaring Water Bay

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Published on: December 11, 2014

The inshore lifeboat was called to give assistance when a medical emergency occurred on board a 75ft fishing vessel in Roaring Water Bay. The two crew on board had been pumping the vessel bilges with a petrol pump when one of them became overcome with fumes and collapsed. The boat [...]

Baltimore Lifeboat in service at Padstow

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Published on: December 7, 2014

Baltimore lifeboat crew on passage to Falmouth were tasked to a search & rescue operation off the N coast of Cornwall. Reports of a missing person in Padstow Harbour lead to a full scale operation coordinated by Falmourh coastguard. The search was called off after 3 hours when it was [...]

Shannon Rescue Helicopter tests new landing site

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Published on: November 24, 2014

Shannon based Rescue 115 visited the field adjacent to Baltimore Lifeboat Station on Saturday 22nd November to test it out as a landing field for casualty evacuation. Following the construction of the ALB berth, the rock spoil extracted was spread over the old field. It was reseeded at the beginning of the summer to create a level area and the helicopter crew commented on the excellent location and suitability.

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Welcome , today is Monday, June 29, 2015