Tynemouth Medal Trust
The Tynemouth Medal Trust exists in order to award the Tynemouth Medal, an award which was established in 1895, with the first award being made retrospectively, for an incident witnessed by the founder of the trust during 1891.
The trust historically awarded only a medal, struck from Silver and identical in design, save the name of the recipient engraved on the rear, until 1911, when a decision was made to introduce a Gold medal for acts of exceptional bravery and a Parchment Certificate.
The Tynemouth Medal exists to be awarded to:
Those who had done a ‘heroic deed’ – in the widest acceptance of the phrase – either within the ebb and flow of the Tyne or its adjacent sea, or by Tynesides on a foreign sea, or by foreigners in local waters, and who in the opinion of the Trustees is deserving of an award within the spirit and objects of the Trust.
In the history of the trust, there have been only 4 recipients of the Gold medal, 87 recipients of the Silver medal and 64 recipients of Parchment Certificates.
The last award was made during 1993 - following a period of inactivity, it is the intention of the Trust to award a number of medals during 2020.
History of the Trust
A full history of the trust can be accessed by clicking HERE. The below is a summary of how the organisation was formed.
On the 13th October 1891, after darkness had fallen, the schooner “Peggy”, running for shelter in the Tyne from hurricane force winds, drove ashore in a storm, on the rocks on the West side of the Spanish Battery. The Life Brigade, who were on standby bad weather watch, quickly took the Breeches Buoy apparatus down to the rocks, establishedc ommunication with the vessel and rescued most of the crew. The ship end of the hawser needed to be fastened to the mast at some height above the deck in order to lift the breeches buoy clear of the rocks and waves as much as possible, so the crew needed to climb the rigging to get into the breeches. One crewman, however, Frank Whittet, was badly injured after twice falling from the rigging while trying to do so and, being unable to climb up again, he was left on board tied to the rigging after the four others had been safely landed.
One of the Tynemouth Coastguards on duty at the wreck was George Edwin Hoar who, when he found out about the hapless man still on the ship, volunteered to be hauled out to the vessel in the breeches buoy in an attempt to bring him ashore. He then climbed into the buoy and was hauled off to the ship. When he saw what the situation was, he signalled to be hauled back to the shore, where he arranged to be hauled back to the ship and, when he reached it, to have the hawser slackened off in order that he would be lowered onto the deck. This was all accomplished and he managed to untie Whittet, drag him onto the buoy, wrap his legs around the seaman’s and grasp him firmly around the waist, whereupon the hawser was hauled taught again and the pair were brought safely to the shore.
The conditions in which Coastguard Hoar had accomplished this very difficult feat were horrendous ; hurricane force winds were blowing, huge seas were running in, alternately totally burying him and Whittet, crashing them against the rocks then throwing them high up on a wave as they travelled in the buoy and threatening to tear the crewman from his grasp, and it was pitch dark. The winds were so strong as to cause structural damage in Tynemouth Village and to make it dangerous to walk the streets because of the flying debris. He displayed immense courage in his actions and undoubtedly saved the life of the crewman, who would otherwise certainly have perished. At the time of the wreck, he was awarded the Albert Medal for his bravery ; he was later to become the first recipient of the Tynemouth Medal.
Among the many people who were very impressed with Coastguard Hoar’s gallantry was a New York lawyer, a Mr.E.B.Convers, who was at the time staying in Tynemouth with a lawyer friend, John Stanley Mitcalfe. Upon his return to America, Mr.Convers worked on a plan to give tangible expression to his admiration and, in a letter date marked New York, December 14th 1894, enlisted the help of Mr. Mitcalfe, Mr. Joseph Cowen and Mr.Horatio Adamson to act as founder trustees and the award committee of a trust which would henceforth recognise any such gallantry with the award of silver medal or a parchment.
He had had a silver medal designed and produced and he would fund the trust, which he named the “Tynemouth Medal Trust” in honour of the gallantry of the men of that village. The three gentlemen were requested by Mr.Convers to act as Founder’s Trustees and as an ex-officio Committee of Award ; the three consented to the request and Mr.Mitcalfe was appointed Honorary Secretary, his first task being to communicate to Mr.Convers their high appreciation of the trust which he had placed in them and their admiration for what he was doing. The one condition which Mr.Convers imposed upon the three Trustees was that his, Mr.Convers’s, identity was to be “strictly suppressed” and that any enquiry as to his identity should be responded to by saying that he was “a gentleman of the Hudson who has friends by the Tyne”. Upon enquiry as to the parameters to be used in the consideration of the award of the medal, Mr.Convers responded on 15th January 1895 that he wished the medals to be given to “those who had done a “heroic deed” - in the widest acceptance of the phrase - either within the ebb and flow of the Tyne or its adjacent sea, or by Tynesiders on a foreign sea, or by foreigners in local waters.”
The Tynemouth Medal
The medal designed by Mr.Convers bears upon the obverse a scene from a viewpoint to the North of King Edward’s Bay at Tynemouth, with Pen Bal Crag surmounted by the Lighthouse and the many buildings which stood within the Castle, and, in the background, Tynemouth North Pier with its lighthouse.
The scene, therefore, depicts the scene as it was in the few years at the end of the century when the pier was originally completed and before the Pen Bal Crag lighthouse was
demolished. In the foreground left is a large ship, sinking by the stern, and a lifeboat is putting off into the stormy seas to go to her rescue Around the top of the medal is the
inscription “PALMAM QUI MERUIT” and around the bottom “TYNEMOUTH MEDAL”. The reverse of the medal is blank in the centre to allow for the engraving of the recipient’s name, with a laurel wreath around the outer edge. The ribbon is usually dark blue, but six medals awarded in July 1911 for an attempted rescue of four boys who were drowned at Whitley Bay were mounted on special red, white and blue ribbons in honour of the coronation of King George V.
The inscription “Palmam qui meruit” is, it is not known whether intentionally or not, an abbreviation of Lord Nelson’s motto “Palmam qui meruit ferat” - “Let him who has earned the palm bear it”.
At a meeting of trustees on 9th October 1911 it was decided that a further award of a Gold medal should be introduced to award those involved in ‘Special Cases’, as well as a Parchment Certificate.
To date, 4 Tynemouth Gold Medals have been awarded, 87 Tynemouth Medals and 64 Parchment Certificates.
Among the Trustees of today, several traditions still continue ; members of the Committee of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade and members of the family of Mr.Mitcalfe are Trustees of the Tynemouth Medal, in addition to members of the Local Council Authority.
Previous Recipients of the Medal
Gold Medal Recipients
1. E.S.Scorfield - 20th August 1911.
2. Captain Burton, Royal Engineers - 11th January 1913.
Captain Burton, Royal Engineers - “Rohilla” Bar to Gold Medal - 1914.
3. Robert Smith, Coxswain, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914.
4. W.J. Richardson – 25th December 1913 and 20th December 1922.
Silver Medal Recipients
1. Coastguard Edwin George Hoar- Awarded retrospectively in 1895 for a rescue on 13th
2. Stephen Renforth - 26th January 1895.
3. James Dryden - 22nd April 1895.
4. Constable J.T.Carruthers, River Tyne Police - 22nd August 1895.
5. Constable Robert Marsh, River Tyne Police - 23rd August 1895.
6. Captain Davison - 23rd June 1895.
7. Samuel Gray - April 1896.
8. Thomas Callendar - 22nd July 1896.
9. Quartermaster Sergeant Sidwell, Royal Artillery - 30th December 1896.
10. Gunner Ritchie, Royal Artillery - 30th December 1896.
11. Constable Edward Alfred Hellyer, River Tyne Police - 18th August 1897.
12. John W.Tinning, Coxswain of North Blyth Lifeboat - 16th October 1898.
13. Robert Drane - 11th July 1899.
14. Thomas Manforth - 23rd July 1900.
15. Michael Lowes, Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade - 4th January 1902.
16. John Whale - 12th November 1901.
17. Andrew Pendrigh - 23rd July 1902
18. Constable John E.Appleby, River Tyne Police - July 1902.
19. George Hutchinson - August 1904.
20. George Claughton - August 1904.
21. Lieutenant Burton, Royal Engineers, (Tynemouth Division, Submarine Miners) - August
22. J.J.W.Macpherson, Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade - 13th July 1905.
23. John Burton - 13th July 1905.
24. L.G.Wight - 13th July 1905.
25. R.E.Blackburn, Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade - 4th February 1906.
26. Richard Wilson. Tyneside Naval Volunteers - 1906.
27. Edward Ernest Walker - 29th June 1906.
28. James Willis - 31st July 1908.
29. Matthew Martin - November 1908.
30. Robert Cameron - 1909.
31. Eugene McCormack - 1909.
32. William L.Meyer - 24th June 1910.
33. Alfred Drake - Easter Monday 1911,
34. Robert Cuthbertson Brown - Easter Monday 1911.
35. Wilfrid Davis - Easter Monday 1911.
36. John Welsh - Easter Monday 1911.
37. Henry Hammond - Easter Monday 1911.
38. Allen Crowe - Easter Monday 1911.
39. Gunner Roberts - 20th August 1911
40. David Anderson - 1st May 1912.
41. William Henry Harmer, Leading Boatman H.M.Coastguard, Seaton Sluice - 10th January
42. Robert Smith, Coxswain, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 11th January 1913.
43. Frederick Luter - 13th January 1913.
44. William Marsden, Leading Boatman H.M.Coastguard, Blyth Haven - 10th January 1913.
45. J.S.Brownlee, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914. 13
46. J.R.Brownlee, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914.
47. Thomas Cummings, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914.
48. Percy C.Chaston - 1st April 1916.
49. Henry Young Bone - 26th November 1919.
50. Edwin Poulson - 28th October 1919.
51. Thomas S.Miller - 11th March 1922.
52. W.J.Richardson - 25th December 1913 and 20th December 1922.
53. Harry McQueen - 11th August 1922.
54. Gordon McQueen - 11th August 1922.
55. Harold Fyfe Milner - 14th November 1923.
56. Captain Bain - 28th December 1926.
57. John Henry Croucher - 18th December 1926.
58. Constable James Darling, South Shields County Borough Police - 25th November 1925.
59. Frank Dick - 26th July 1926 plus several previous dates.
60. Samuel E.Arrowsmith - 1st June 1928.
61. Thomas Frost - 9th June 1929.
62. Mrs.Gibb - 15th June 1929.
63. John William Tomlinson - 7th July 1929
64. John Robert Purvis - 9th August 1929
65. William Jappy - 20th March 1930.
66. Joseph Dickinson - 13th August 1930.
67. Thomas Fry McAll - 29th October 1930.
68. Albert Watson - 29th November 1932.
69. James Kirkley - Prior to June 1934.
70. William Babbs - Prior to June 1934.
71. John Archer - Prior to June 1934.
72. Edward Anderson Snowden - 14th April 1936.
73. Constable F.Millions, Tynemouth County Borough Police - 22nd April 1939.
74. Constable J.W.Carss, Tynemouth County Borough Police - 22nd April 1939.
75. J.J.Ingledew - 22nd April 1939.
76. James Smith - 15th April 1946.
77. George Stagg - 22nd July 1947.
78. James Foggin - 31st July 1947.
79. Edward Saint - 31st July 1947.
80. Stanley Askew - 24th June 1957.
81. A.Zelmanski - 22nd July 1958.
82. Dennis Screaton - 19th July 1962.
83. Alan Rae - 19th July 1962.
84. Frank Charles Oldaker - 8th December 1964.
85. Joan Stevenson - 25th April 1965.
86. Constable John Snowball, Newcastle City Police - 25th April 1965.
87. John Morton - 10th August 1993.
Parchment Certificate Recipients
1. Sidney O.Armstrong - 30th August 1911.
2. W.Thurlbeck - 22nd November 1912.
3. George Brunton - 23rd June 1912.
4. James Ingram, Seaton Sluice Volunteer Life Saving Company - 10th January 1913.
5. Charles Wallace Major, Seaton Sluice Volunteer Life Saving Company - 10th January 1913.
6. J.G.Smith, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 13th January 1913.
7. Thomas Cummings, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 13th January 1913.
8. J.R.Grant, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 13th January 1913.
9. J.R.Brownlee, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 13th January 1913.
10. J.S.Brownlee, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 13th January 1913.
11. Anthony Nixon - 13th January 1913.
12. Ralph Macarthy - 13th January 1913.
13. Robert Lisle Dawson - 13th January 1913.
14. George Renner Armstrong - 13th January 1913.
15. Adam Robertson - 13th January 1913.
16. Emanuel George Morgan Kelsey - 13th January 1913.
17. Colin MacFadyen, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914.
18. J.F.Scarth, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914.
19. Archibald Craig, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914.
20. J.M.Kay, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914.
21. John Henry, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914.
22. David Martin, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914.
23. William Storey, Tynemouth Lifeboat - 1914.
24. W.J.Richardson - 1922.
25. Harold McQueen - 1922
26. Gordon McQueen - 1922.
27. C.A.Hill Porter - 1922.
28. J.E.Greaves - 1922.
29. Thomas Fry - numerous dates.
30. W.H.White, H.M.Coastguard - 25th November 1925.
31. John Smith - 1st June 1928.
32. Thomas Sword - 9th June 1929.
33. Mr.Ernest George Ashman - 15th June 1929.
34. Henry Davies - 13th August 1930.
35. George William Wear - 3rd June 1930.
36. Constable Thomas Wilson - 8th October 1944.
37. Zivko Subat - 8th October 1944.
38. Cooper - 15th July 1945.
39. Newton - 15th July 1945.
40. Law - 15th July 1945.
41. Purtill - 15th July 1945.
42. David Bell - 13th April 1946.
43. Raymond Oliver - 27th November 1945.
44. Raymond Nesbitt - 4th October 1953.
45. Paul Abela - 4th October 1953.
46. Derrick Harvey - 16th April 1957. 31
47. Haltia Pentti Ilman - 24th July 1957.
48. William Norris Allan - 26th July 1957.
49. Algar John Cole, Royal Marines - 6th July 1959.
50. R.H.Sinclair - 8th January 1960.
51. W.W.Simm - 4th May 1960.
52. R.MacLean - 29th February 1960.
53. William Albert Morton - 3rd July 1960.
54. William Drew - 1st January 1961.
55. Martin Atkinson - 19th July 1962.
56. Charles Howdon - 27th August 1962.
57. V.A.Wright - 25th April 1965.
58. Constable Anthony Gibson, South Shields County Borough Police - 24th January 1966.
59. Gordon Johnson - 19th April 1968.
60. Mr.Cox - 1990.
61. Stephen Gellately - 9th October 1993.
62. Philip Davis - 9th October 1993
63. Mark West - 9th October 1993
64. Phil Haggerstone - 1996
The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade. Registered Charity Number 1093237
© T.V.L.B. 2020