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In Memoriam - Lifesaving Awards

Albert Medal  
American Cross of Honor  
Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York Medal  

Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society Marine Medal

Lloyd's Silver Medal for Saving Life at Sea,  
Merchant Services Guild Silver Medal  
Netherlands Gold medal for Saving Life  
Order of the British Empire
Portuguese Lifesaving Silver Medal  
Royal Humane Society "Stanhope" Gold Medal  
Russian Order of St Stanislaus of the 3rd degre  
South Holland Lifeboat Institution of Rotterdam's Gold Medal.  

UK Board Of Trade Sea Gallantry Medal


US Congressional Gold Medal.



Some of the recipients...



W. H. Baker (years not known) Burning of the Volturno (extracted from the Liverpool Mercury, Oct 18th 1913)

The awful tragedy in mid-Atlantic by which 136 persons lost their lives through the burning of the emigrant ship Volturno [3602 tons] has startled and horrified the public almost as much as did the awful Titanic, 18 months ago. The heavy death-toll is due to the fact that the fire broke out during a raging-tempest, so that although the Volturno had more than sufficient boats to carry those onboard, they could only launch with a grave risk of being dashed to pieces or swamped when in the water. That so large a proportion of those on board were rescued was due to the fact that she had wireless installation. Her pleas for help were heard widely over the Atlantic, and 11 liners immediately converged on her but heavy seas effectually prevented rescue work. Volturno launched 7 boats, the first boat swung under the stern and the propeller literally smashed her to matchwood, cutting the unfortunate occupants to pieces. 3 more were dashed to pieces as she rolled in the great seas, 2 reached the water safely but were swamped, killing all onboard. Under such terrible conditions rescue work seemed impossible. Many attempts were made to send rescue boats but all failed. Volturno's master became desperate and called for volunteers to show the other captains that it was not impossible to launch their boats. One got as far as the Gosser Kurfurst, but the boat was smashed and was almost lost. Volturno's master sent a final desperate message, "My God, Can't stand this long. Our boat has gone. Send me some boats." The Captains of the other boats replied, "We have tried our best. The sea is too heavy and no boat could live in it."

Baker (2nd Officer of the Leyland steamer Devonian) launched a boat and eventually managed to get a lifeboat alongside. He later recalled: "Early in the morning following our arrival on the scene of the disaster I determined to make an attempt to reach the burning vessel, "Neck or nothing, let us go' I said to the men, and a crew of eight agreed to go out on the boisterous sea, and amidst perilous conditions. When we were near to the vessel we could see there would be a rush by those on board to escape. We called to those in charge to keep back the men, who were pressing forward, and to let us save the women and children first. Officers used their fists to drive the men back, and some of them went down like ninepins. The work was carried out with the most considerable danger. Sparks were flying, the heat on the sides of the vessel was intense, and the smoke was blinding. From time to time some relict of the fire, such as a disjoined derrick, or piece of the funnel would tumble into the water, and might have easily injured rescuers and rescued alike. We could see the smoke coming up between the beams of the deck, and the men were almost standing in flames. During the night the scene was horrible. Shrieking was continuous and several of the women held up their babies and outlined them in the blaze, and begged of us to come and rescue them." Although Baker made several more rescue trips no other boats dared make the same journey until a tanker appeared and spilled oil onto the raging waters.

He was awarded the Marine Medal of The Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society, the Board Of Trade Sea Gallantry Medal and the medal of The Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York. He was also presented with a solid silver tea service by Leyland Line.


Captain Henry Broderick Harvey (1894-5)

Harvey played a leading role in a daring rescue of S.S. Willy. At 8.15am, Sunday 1.10.1911, the steamship Willy (862 tons), of the Coaling Agency of W.H. Berghuys of Amsterdam, was observed flying signals of distress in the North Sea. The ship bound from Newcastle to Amsterdam had sprung a leak due to the horrendous conditions, apparent for the last 24 hours.

The Cawdor Castle, which had set sail that morning, came upon the Willy in her state of distress, and despite the hurricane like conditions that were raging, determined to send a lifeboat out to her. At 10.50am the lifeboat was launched, under the command of Harvey, crewed by six able seamen. 'With characteristic British courage.....they stuck manfully to their oars, and gradually lessened the distance between them and the disabled steamer'.

The perilous seas continued to play havoc with the rescue attempt. Firstly a Dutch crewman, aware of how grim the situation was, dived overboard, only to be swept further away, causing immense difficulties for the lifeboat to rescue him; and shortly following his pick up, two men attempting to get a ladder to the lifeboat fell overboard. Captain Day brought the Cawdor Castle to windward of the lifeboat, and sheltered it from the wind, thus finally enabling the craft to reach the stricken Dutchmen.

Harvey loaded ten of the crew, and made with his load back to the Cawdor Castle. However having struggled to make a length away from the Willy, shouts came across to him that she was sinking fast and that unless he came back for the rest of the crew, then they would surely go down with her. Thus loaded with the last six Dutch crew members the lifeboat finally started to return to its mother ship. Given the conditions and the fact that she was so heavily laden it was deemed too dangerous to attempt to turn the craft round, thus the oarsmen had the particularly arduous task of having to back water.

Within 15 minutes of rescuing the crew, at 12.50pm, the Willy heeled over and sank head first into the North Sea, 'At 1.15pm the lifeboat reached the ship, badly damaged and half full of water, with crew and survivors completely exhausted.....I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the Chief Officer and the lifeboat's crew, who showed great gallantry.". The battle against the waves had lasted two and a half hours, and the badly damaged lifeboat had to be abandoned.

On arrival in Cape Town, the Mayor of the City presented the crew with their Lloyd's medals and certificates. Day and Harvey received the Dutch gold medals upon their return to England. Harvey received Lloyd's Silver medal for Saving Life at Sea, the Netherlands, Gold medal for Saving Life, and the Netherlands, South Holland Lifeboat Institution of Rotterdam's Gold medal.

There is more information about his life in the Notables page.



Lt Huddlestone RIN (years not known)

He jumped into the River Hoogly and rescued a comrade from amongst a shoal of sharks. He was awarded the Stanhope Medal.



Rowland Owen Lloyd (1893-5)

In 1916 he received the Order of St Stanislaus of the 3rd degree for saving many ships loaded with ammunitions from a fire whilst iced up at Alexandrovsk, serving as Lieut. R.N.R. on the H.M.S. Albermarle.

In 1919 he was awarded an O.B.E. for his bravery in saving many lives after the Irish Mail boat the Leinster was torpedoed in the turbulent Irish sea on 10th October 1918, whilst Captain of the Torpedo-Boat Destroyer Mallard.


Sir Arthur Henry Rostron CBE KBE RD RNR (1885-6)

Arthur Rostron is best known as the Master of Carpathia and rescuer of nearly 700 Titanic survivors on the morning of April 15th 1912. As the result of his efforts to reach the Titanic before it sank, and his preparations for and conduct of the rescue of the survivors, Captain Rostron was lionized as a hero and received may honours:

- The US Congressional Gold Medal. This award dates from 1776 and the first recipient was George Washington. Each medal is awarded by its own individual Act of Congress and must be ratified by the President. Early medals were generally awarded for military valour, but after the establishment of the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1865, the award was extended to all manner of persons recognised as worthy. Captain Rostron's award was proposed in the Senate on 28 May 1912 and was approved by a Joint Resolution of both Houses of Congress on 6 July. President William Taft presented Sir Arthur's Gold medal on March 1st 1913 at the White House.

- The American Cross of Honor. This decoration was given by the Society of the American Cross of Honor, an organisation devoted to recognising bravery in the saving of life in non-military situations. The medal was frequently awarded for rescues at sea. There was also British involvement and the gold version of the decoration was sometimes awarded on the recommendation of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. This is probably the reason for the medal being presented to Captain Rostron at the British Embassy, also on March 1st 1913.

-  The Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society medal.

-  The gold medal of the Shipwreck Society of New York.

There is more information about his life in the Notables page.


A T Weatherall (1919-21)

While 4th officer in the Federation Steam Navigation Company's Suffolk he saved the lives of the Chief Officer and a Mr Watts. They were discharging cargo from No 3 hold when Mr Watts was overpowered by the fumes form cheese in the hold. The Chief Officer went in to rescue him but was also overpowered. Weatherall went down with a rope and was able quickly to recover the Chief Officer but not Mr Watts. He made three separate rescue attempts but on the fourth was successful. He was awarded the Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal.



Capt. Matthew 'Chummy' Webb (1860-62)    s

Whilst serving as second mate on the Cunard ship 'Russia', travelling from New York to Liverpool, he attempted to rescue a man overboard by diving into the sea in mid-Atlantic. The man was never found, but Webb's daring won him an award of £100 and the Stanhope Gold Medal, and made him a hero of the British press.

There is more information about his life in the Notables page.



John Herman Woolner (approx 1906-08)

On 9th July 1911 while in Clan Maclean off Beira, Woolner dived into the sea, "at some danger to his own life" and rescued a Portuguese seaman who had fallen overboard. He was awarded medals by the Portuguese Government and the Royal Humane Society.











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