Captain William Swarbrick

Fleetwood Skyline sepia

Captain William Swarbrick, the subject of this website was a master mariner in the mid to late nineteenth century.  He  operated as a ships pilot out of the port of Fleetwood on the southern shores of Morecambe Bay in the North West of England.  He was also captain of the steam tug Wyre, that was newly in service in Fleetwood in the early 1860's.

William Swarbrick was born in Rawcliffe (Hambleton) in the North West of England in 1809.  The 1841census shows him to be living in Stalmine.  By 1851 he was living in Fleetwood with his family.

The Great Gales

Newspaper reportage of storms and shipwrecks in those days often used the title ‘The Great Gales’ or other similar headlines to capture the stories of incidents. Two separate rescues undertaken by William Swarbrick in the steam-tug Wyre were:

Pudyona: October 2012 is the 150th anniversary of the dramatic rescue of the 17 crew members from the barque Pudyona.  In October 1862 the Pudyona was in difficulties half a mile east of Danger Patch buoy in Morecambe Bay. For rescuing the crew of this vessel William Swarbrick, who was master of the steam-tug Wyre, and pilot Robert Gerrard, were awarded the Lifeboat Institution silver medal for taking 17 crew off the vessel as it became stranded in severe gale foce conditions and high seas. William Swarbrick was also presented with a telescope for his actions. Details of this rescue are available at - Pudyona.

Inga:  In a separate incident in December 1866 William Swarbrick rescued 13 crew members from the barque Inga of Kragona in Norway.  The Norwegian owners of the Inga presented William Swarbrick with a painting depicting the rescue.  This painting was hung in the old lifeboat house in Fleetwood, and has now been re-located to the new lifeboat station.  Details of this rescue are available at - Inga.

Fleetwood Lifeboat:  A separate report describes the loss of the Fleetwood Lifeboat in 1862, and the part played by William Swarbrick and the steam-tug Wyre in this incident.  Follow link:  Loss of Fleetwood Lifeboat.

William Swarbrick died in July 1889.  Reportage of his death is recorded in the Fleetwood Chronicle, at -  William Swarbrick's Death.

Victorian Fleetwood

A  report of a rescue by Stephen Musgrave in 1984 is here

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