Incident at St.Mary's Island, August 2006, Picture Courtsey of Adrian Don

2007200820092010

2011

Breeches Buoy Rescues - 1865 to present day

The Brigade was formed in 1864 primarily to provide a group of men trained in ship-to-shore rescue using a process known as Breeches buoy Rescue. While the Brigade has developed into a multi-disciplinary rescue team over the years, the use of the Breeches buoy equipment has remained one of our key skills. The process involves the firing of a rocket, with a line attached to it, over a ship with the ship's crew then attaching the line to a strong part of their ship, often the main mast. Using this line, a further three lines would be hauled out to the ship and running along one line would be the Breeches buoy. (The Breeches buoy is very simply a set of breeches (trousers) with a floation device attached to it). The ship's crew would then climb into the Breeches buoy one by one and be hauled ashore by the Brigade. While some of the technology used in Breeches buoy Rescues has changed since 1864, the basic priniciples remain the same.

Below is a list of the 92 callouts since our creation where there was either an intention to use the Breeches buoy equipment or indeed it was used in the process of rescuing crew from stricken vessels.

15th May 2005 Fishing Vessel Sea Hawk

The vessel became grounded on mud banks up the River Tyne near Dunston with two crew on board. After assessing the situation, the Brigade decided that rather than risk recovering the two crew across 80 metres of dangerous mud banks in the middle of the night, they would use their Breeches buoy equipment to put clothes and warm food on board so that the crew would be O.K. till the next high tide early the following morning. A rocket was fired and the packages were delivered via a stretcher attached to the Breeches buoy equipment. The Sea Hawk successfully floated off the mud banks the following morning.

25th January 1982 Motor Tanker Nordland

Reported sinking on entering the River Tyne. Brigade members stood by and operated searchlight whilst the crew was saved by the pilot cutter.

14th December 1979 Merchant Vessel Ganton

Came ashore to the south of the promenade at St. Mary's Island. The Brigade stood by and assisted in the salvage operation.

3rd October 1979 Fishing Vessel Conduan

Came ashore in thick fog at the North End of Tynemouth Longsands. 8 men were rescued by the Brigade using whips and liferafts.

14th January 1977 Fishing Vessel Kilsyth

Came ashore by Panama Dip, Whitley Bay. No action was taken by the Brigade.

2nd September 1974 Merchant Vessel Aliki

Became stranded on the Black Middens and the Brigade was called out to stand by the vessel. Thankfully it was refloated on the next tide.

11th March 1974 Merchant Vessel Oregis

During salvage operations following the vessel coming ashore the previous day, a small boat capsized with 2 men aboard. Despite best efforts one man drowned and the other was rescued by lifeboat. The body of the drowned man was later recovered by the Brigade.

10th March 1974 Merchant Vessel Oregis and Tug Northsider

Both vessels came ashore at the foot of the Spanish Battery. The Brigade managed to get a Breeches buoy line aboard the Northsider and the crew were rescued by this means.

18th November 1967 Fishing Vessel Scarthoe

The vessel came ashore on the Black Middens rocks in thick fog. A line was put aboard by the Brigade, but the crew of five was rescued by lifeboat.

18th November 1965 Merchant Dredger Beverwijk III

A Dutch Dredger came ashore on the old pier foundations on the North side of the North Pier at the mouth of the River Tyne. The Brigade arrived on scene and rescued three of the crew via Jackstay method. The Dredger had got into difficulties after its tow broke in gale conditions.

30th August 1965 Fishing Vessel

A Polish Trawler came aground on the south side of the Causeway at St. Mary's Island. Although the Brigade was called out, no further information is available as to the outcome of this callout.

30th July 1965 Rescue of Boy Scouts

The Brigade was called out to Hexham to rescue 8 Boy Scouts who had been stuck on an island in the River Tyne for over 2 days once again after extreme flooding. The Breeches buoy equipment was used to rescue the 8 lads whos ages ranged from 11 to 17. After firing four rockets at the island, all of which did not reach the Boy Scouts, a fisherman made a giant cast with his rod to get the line onto the island. Instructions were then passed via loud hailer so that the Boy Scouts were able to tie the line to a suitable point.

11th February 1964 Merchant Vessel Queensgate

Blown ashore on the North End of Tynemouth Longsands. The Brigade arrived on scene but our services were not required as the vessel refloated on the next tide.

31st May 1963 Charles H. Merz

Became stuck on rocks on the South side of the North Pier at the mouth of the River Tyne. Once again the Brigade was called out but assistance was not required as the vessel refloated on the next high tide.

17th September 1958 Clyde Crusader

The vessel came ashore on the Castle Rocks at Tynemouth. Although the Brigade was called out, it stood by as as the vessel was able to refloat a while after becoming stuck.

28th July 1954 Rescue of Boy Scouts

The Brigade was called to rescue a group of Boy Scouts from their camp on Gold Island, near Wark-on-Tyne, after the loss of life of one Boy Scout. The rescue was carried out after the River Tyne had flooded due to excessive rain fall.

18th March 1951 His Majesty's Ship Brave

Blown ashore on the Black Middens Rocks. The Brigade put a line aboard the vessel and rescue 14 men.

23rd September 1949 Steamship Surrey Brook

Blown ashore on the rocks infront of Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. The Brigade made contact with the vessel but our services were not required and the crew were taked off by Lifeboat.

16th February 1947 Steamship Zepheros

Came ashore at Browns Bay. The Brigade sent gear aboard the vessel but the crew were able to wade ashore and walk to safety.

17th February 1941 Steamship Empire Knoll

The ship was driven ashore on the North side of the North Pier at the mouth of the River Tyne. The vessel fired a line ashore and using this the Brigade sent gear aboard which was used by the crew of 32 to get to safety.

19th January 1941 Steamship Birtley

Driven ashore on Tynemouth Longsands. The Brigade attended and rescued the crew of 24 landed.

6th February 1940 Merchant Vessel Gerco

Came ashore on Tynemouth Longsands. Method 'B' was used by the Brigade and a crew of three was rescued.

3rd February 1940 Steamship Jernfiild

The vessel had sailed from Bergen and came ashore half a mile South of St. Mary's Lighthouse. A rocked was fired by the Brigade but fell short. The crew then left the ship in their own boat and were assisted ashore by lifebelts and lines. In total 18 lives were saved.

25th February 1933 Steamship Eilande

Came ashore on the rocks at the Black Middens. The Brigade made communcations with the vessel but our services were not required.

21st January 1926 Steamship Crackshot

Came ashore on the rocks in front of the Spanish Battery in thick fog. She was successfully refloated the next day but the Steam Tug Corsair also became stranded after going to Crackshot's assistance. The services of the Brigade was not required in either incident.

16th December 1925 Merchant Dredger Sunshine

Vessel sunk after a collision with the Steamship BelJfri in thick fog off the Groyne in the River Tyne.

30th October 1925 Steam Tug Peterborough

As in the previous incident, this vessel become stranded in fog at the Hailing Station. She was refloated successfully later that day.

21st August 1925 Steamship Florence Cook

Became stranded in fog off Lloyd's Hailing Station near North Shields Fish Quay. Although the Brigade was called out our services were not required and the vessel was refloated the next day.

1st June 1922 Steamship Scottish Maiden

Came ashore off Sharpness Point, Tynemouth, in thick fog. The Brigade was called out but our services were not required and the vessel was towed off on 2nd June.

8th November 1919 Steamship Linerton

Came ashore at South Shields. The Brigade's searchlight was used to light up the area and assist the Lifeboats in their rescue work.

19th November 1916 Steamship Bessheim

The Norwegian mail steamer became stranded on the rocks in front of the Spanish Battery. Communication was quickly established with the vessel and three passengers were rescued by the Brigade with the remaining 108 passengers and crew rescued by Lifeboat.

5th November 1914 Steamship Kenilworth

Blown ashore on the Black Middens rocks. The Brigade established communications with the vessel but the crew were taken off by Lifeboat.

26th October 1912 Schooner Auguste

Vessel in danger near the Black Middens rocks. Outcome unknown.

18th January 1912 Brigantine Maggie A

Called to stand by as the vessel was having difficulty reaching the tide. She eventually entered the Tyne safely.

26th January 1909 Steamship Tees and Etleray

A collision occured between the two vessels during thick fog. A Brigade searchlight practice was taking place at the time of the incident.

8th January 1907 Steamship Norfolk

Blown ashore on the Black Middens rocks. The Brigade fired a line aboard the vessel but the crew failed to take it and were rescued by lifeboat.

20th May 1905 Steamship Vauxhall

Ship sank inside Herd Buoy following a collision. This was the first incident in which the Brigade's searchlight was used.

15th August 1903 Steamship Eastwood and Madeline

Called out following a collision between the two vessels but our services were not required.

20th November 1902 Steamship Knud

Following a collision the vessel sank with the Captain and seven crew drowned. This disaster resulted in the late Roland Philipson, Esq, presenting a searchlight to the Brigade.

13th November 1901 Ketch Journeeks

Ship became wrecked on the North side of the North Pier at Tynemouth. One man was saved by the Brigade

13th November 1901 Iron Barque Igna

Came ashore at Tynemouth Longsands. Despite best efforts only one man was saved as he was washed ashore in a lifebelt.

21st October 1901 Steamship Elmore

Brigade called out after the vessel became stranded on the Black Middens rocks. Contact was made with the crew but they elected to stay on board.

10th December 1900 Steamship Onyx

Came ashore on the Black Middens rocks. A rocket line was sent on board the ship but with the assistance of a tug she was able to slip back off the rocks and into the River.

7th December 1900 Steamship Maltby

Vessel became stranded on the rocks infront of the Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. In total five rockets were fired by the Brigade at the vessel but no effective communications could be established with the crew, who were eventually rescued by Lifeboat.

8th November 1900 Steamship Anna Eugene

Vessel came ashore on the rocks infront of the Spanish Battery, Tynemouth, but eventually floated off.

10th May 1900 Steamship Galtee

Vessel came ashore on the rocks infront of Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. Just after a rocket line had been hauled aboard, the crew left in a lifeboat.

15th February 1900 Steamship Lekeitio

Vessel became stranded on the rocks at Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. The crew of twenty-six and two pilots were rescued by the Brigade using the Breeches buoy equipment.

8th December 1899 Steamship Craigneuk

Ship came ashore on the rocks at Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. A woman, one child and ten crew were rescued by the Brigade.

6th November 1899 Steamship Snefond

Came ashore on rocks at Sharpness Point, Tynemouth. The Brigade attended the scene but did not fire a rocket.

26th March 1898 Barque Diamant

The ship came ashore directly below the T.V.L.B. Watch House. The crew of eight were rescued by the rocket apparatus.

8th January 1897 Steamship Wandsworth

Vessel became stranded on the rocks at Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. The crew of twenty-three were safely landed by the Brigade.

24th December 1895 Brigantine Rupert

Ship drove onto the rocks at Spanish Battery, Tynemouth, after capsizing. None of the crew were left aboard when she became stranded.

20th October 1894 Brigantine Fame

Wrecked on the rocks behind the North Pier at Tynemouth. The crew of six were rescued by the Brigade using their rocket appartus.

8th January 1893 Barque Lowestft

Vessel came ashore on the South side of the North Pier at Tynemouth. The crew landed themselves and were taken into care by the Brigade at our Watch House.

14th November 1891 Steam Trawler Advance

Became stranded on the rocks at Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. The crew of seven landed in their own boat but were aided by a line from the shore passed to them by the Brigade.

13th October 1891 Schooner Peggy

Vessel became stranded on the rocks at Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. The five crew were rescued by the use of the Brigade's Rocket Apparatus. The last man to be rescued, who was disabled, was brought ashore by Coastguard Officer Hoar, who had heroically gone to his assistance.

25th May 1891 Steamship Napier

Ship came ashore on the rocks at the Black Middens. A rocket line was sent on board and made ready, but the vessel was eventualyl towed to safety.

18th February 1884 TIC Hoper

Ship driven onto rocks behind the North Tyne Pier. The Breeches buoy equipment was deployed and the two crew were rescued

30th March 1883 Steamship Yan Yean

Vessel came ashore on the Black Middens rocks. A rocket line was fired onto the vessel but once again the crew left via Lifeboat.

18th March 1883 Schooner Elisa

Ship came ashore on rocks at the Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. A rocket line was sent onto the boat but the crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

9th February 1883 Steamship Minnie

Became stranded on the rocks at the Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. A rocket line was fired over the vessel but the crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

7th February 1883 Brigantine Hannah and Eleanor

Came ashore on rubble under the North Pier at the River Tyne. A line was sent aboard by heaving crane and the crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

12th January 1883 Steamship Libelle

Vessel came ashore at Tynemouth Longsands. The Brigade's apparatus was transported to the scene but the crew were rescued by Cullercoats Lifeboat.

4th December 1882 Barque Rhineland

The ship became stuck on rocks at the Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. The Brigade made communication with the vessel, but the crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

3rd November 1881 Sloop Aurora

Vessel became stuck on the Black Middens rocks. Two rockets were fired over her by the Brigade, but her crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

21th October 1881 Iron Crown

Fully rigged ship became stuck on rocks at the Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. Four of the crew were rescued by the Brigade with the rest recovered by Lifeboat.

7th February 1881 Schooner Faithful

The ship became stuck on the rocks at Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. A rocket line was sent aboard and made fast, but the crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

16th February 1879 Steamship Mary

Vessel came ashore on the rocks at the Black Middens, Tynemouth. Two rockets were fired onto the vessel, but the crew were recovered by Lifeboat.

29th November 1878 Steamship Stagshaw

As the vessel attempted to the leave the River Tyne for the open sea she became stranded on the Black Middens rocks. The crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

21st December 1876 Schooner Albion

Vessel became stranded on the rocks at Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. The crew of six were rescued by the Brigade.

21st December 1876 Brigantine First of May

Came ashore at Tynemouth Haven. The crew of eight were rescued by the Brigade

4th December 1876 Schooner Seven Sons

Wrecked on the Black Middens rocks. The crew of seven were rescued by the Brigade within half-an-hour of being called.

19th October 1875 Schooner Mystery

The ship came ashore inside the North Pier at the River Tyne. The crew of five were all saved by the Brigade.

11th December 1874 Steamship Breeze

Vessel ashore on the rocks at Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. The Brigade sent a rocket over the vessel, but the crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

29th November 1874 Sloop St. Albans

Came ashore on rocks near the North Pier at the River Tyne. Three of the crew were rescued by the Brigade.

17th December 1872 Barque Consul

Wrecked on the North Pier at the River Tyne. Three of the crew were rescued by the Brigade. Brigade members Robert Thirlway Arkley was washed off the Pier and drowned. To date he is the only Brigade member to lose his life while on call for the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade.

1st October 1871 Barque Llanelly

Came ashore on the rubble near the North Pier at the River Tyne. Crew managed to come ashore without assistance

10th February 1871 Brigantines British Queen, Valiant, Cynthia Anne and Oronoco

All vessels came ashore at unknown places along the coastline. Lines were sent on board all the vessels but the crews were taken off by Lifeboat.

10th February 1871 Schooner Admiral Codrington

Came ashore at an unknown locatlion, the crew of six were rescued by the Brigade

10th February 1871 Jabez

In need of assistance at an unknown location. A line was sent aboard the boat which the crew used to tie themselves to the stump of the mast. Two out of the six crew survived as they were washed ashore, the remainder drowned.

9th December 1870 Schooner Amalie

Also came ashore at Tynemouth Longsands. The crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

9th December 1870 Barque City of Bristol

Came ashore at Tynemouth Lifeboat. The crew were rescued by Cullercoats Lifeboat.

8th February 1870 Schooner Light of Harem

Wrecked behind the North Pier at the River Tyne. The five crew were rescued by the Brigade using their rocket apparatus in under sixteen minutes

8th February 1870 Barque Helena

Stranded on Spar Hawk. The crew were rescued by Lifeboat

8th February 1870 Brigantine Susannah

The Susannah came ashore on the rocks at the Black Middens. Four of the crew of six were saved by the Brigade. This was the first successful effort of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade, six years after its formation.

26th December 1869 Viscount Mac Duff

Came ashore on the rocks at the Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. The crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

21st January 1869 Steamship Scotia

This vessel came ashore at the foot of Tynemouth Priory. The crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

29th December 1865 Union, Levis and Wynyard

All three vessels became stranded on the rocks at the foot of the Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. In each case a line was sent aboard, but the crews did not understand its use and were rescued by Lifeboats.

10th October 1865 Ringwood

Ship came ashore on the rocks at the Black Middens. The crew took to their own boat to reach the shore which subsequently capsized with three of the five drowning.

19th March 1865 Brigantine Border Chieftain

Wrecked in Tynemouth Haven with the crew saved by Lifeboat.

19th March 1865 Burton

Vessel struck the end of the North Pier at the River Tyne. A rocket line was sent over her, but she broke up before the crew could get hold of it. One man was saved by Lifeboat.

8th February 1865 Steamship Earl Percy

This ship was wrecked on rocks infront of the Spanish Battery, Tynemouth. The crew were rescued by Lifeboat.

5th December 1864 - Meeting held to form the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade

2007200820092010

2011

The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade. Registered Charity Number 1093237

T.V.L.B. 2014