The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67291   Message #1123704
Posted By: GUEST
25-Feb-04 - 03:34 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Robert Whitworth (RNLI Lifeboat)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Robert Whitworth (RNLI Lifeboat)
WHITBY, YORKSHIRE 19 January 1881

After several days iof heavy snowfall, at 10.30 am on 19 January 1881 Captain Robert Gibson, Harbour Master at Whitby, received a telegram to say that a ship had sunk off Robin Hood's Bay and that her crew had taken to the ship's boat, but had been forced to drop anchor. They were unable to reach land because of very heavy seas. The severity of the wind and the seas at Whitby made it impossible for the Whitby Lifeboat to be launched and sailed around to Robin Hood's Bay so the Lifeboatmen decided to take the lifeboat the 6 miles overland to Robin Hood's Bay and launch from there. No mean feat over very narrow roads and across moorland some 500 feet above sea level in drifting snow up to 7 feet deep in places.

About 60 Whitby men were given shovels and began digging to clear the snow from the roads. Horses were hitched to the lifeboat carriage and the "Robert Whitworth" set out on her journey. Eventually some 200 men joined in the snow clearance work. Additional horses were obtained from farmers on the way, eventually numbering 18. Men from Robin Hood's Bay started from their end clearing the snow and after 2 hours the lifeboat descended the very steep hill into the village.

The crew of the lifeboat had been involved in the digging but, tired though they were, they then manned the boat and set out to rescue the stranded sailors. Before they could reach them 6 of the boat's oars and the stearing oar were smashed by a heavy wave and they had to return to shore. Whilst the oars were being replaced Cox Henry Freeman asked for volunteers to double bank the oars and the lifeboat set out with 18 men on board and after an hour and a half managed to reach the sailors in the small boat, landing them at Robin Hood's Bay at 4pm. The six rescued crew members (from the Whitby Brig "Visitor") all needed medical attention as did some of the lifeboat crew.