Silver Medal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Wyre alongside PudyonaIn recognition of the services rendered in rescuing the crew of the barque Pudyona Captain William Swarbrick and Pilot Robert Gerard were each awarded the silver medal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.  

At a meeting of the RNLI on Thursday 1st January 1863 at its house. John Street, Adelphi, Thomas Chapman, Esq., F.R.S. V.P., in the chair, the Silver medal of the Institution was presented to Mr Swarbrick, master of the steam-tug
Wyre of Fleetwood; and to Mr Robert Gerrard, pilot, in admiration of their noble conduct in rescuing, by means of the tug, under the most perilous circumstances, seventeen persons from the barque Pudyona, of Glasson Dock, which had stranded during a heavy gale of wind and a high sea, in Morecambe Bay.  
At the same meeting a reward of £6 10s. was voted to the crew of the Institutions's lifeboat stationed at Lytham, for saving on Friday last, during a gale of wind, the crew of thirteen persons of the barque Brazil, of Liverpool.

(Abstract from Fleetwood Chronicle 2nd January 1863)


Presentation of a Telescope to Captain William Swarbrick.

Telescope(abstract report from Fleetwood Chronicle, Blackpool Herald & Lytham Gazette 19th December, 1862).
Yesterday, a telescope was presented to Captain Swarbrick, of the steam-tug Wyre, having been sent as a recognition of his courageous and humane conduct, by her Majesty's government, in rescuing from imminent peril of shipwreck the crew of the barque Pudyona, stranded in Morecambe bay, on the 27th October.  We gave the particulars at the time, and we have now the pleasure to record that the gallant services of Captain Swarbrick and his crew, have not passed unrewarded. The presentation took place in the Estate Office, Fleetwood, J.S. Burrell, Esq., of Lancaster in the chair, to which he was voted by the unanimous voice of the meeting. The room was filled with gentlemen of the town, most of them interested in shipping.
The Chairman rose and said, - Gentlemen, in taking up the duty which has been allotted to me this day, I feel I ought to thank Mr. Walker for requesting me to present this telescope.  There are many persons in this town whom he might have chosen for this duty, but I will say this, that he could not have fixed upon one who would have felt a greater pleasure in undertaking it than I do.  I dare say that the particulars are known to most of you, I will nevertheless recapitulate them.  The barque Pudyona, of which I was the owner, was on her voyage from Quebec to Glasson Dock, and after a prosperous run, was obliged to put into Holyhead.  I wrote to Captain Foster, telling him that if he could get a Liverpool tug there, he might tow round; with a view to saving the spring tides at Glasson Dock.  Captain Foster did so, and sailed on the evening of the 26th of Oct., and on the morning after he arrived in the bay, but it was so thick that they could not make out their whereabouts.  However, after anxious watching, they made out the Wyre lighthouse, and Captain Foster, who knows the bay well, found that he was out of his course.  He instantly ordered the ship to be put about, but it seems it was too late, for almost immediately she struck on the foul ground, and, whilst I do not wish to speak evil of any man, I regard the conduct of the Captain of the Liverpool tug, who abandoned her to her fate, as most inhuman.  He did not attempt to render any assistance, either by getting out ropes or boats, but left the crew of the Pudyona to their own resources .  
I now wish to turn to another subject of a more pleasing character, and whilst we leave the crew of the Pudyona abandoned to their own devices, we will go aboard the steamer
Wyre,  which was going out of Fleetwood, to tow the brig Marys to Glasson Dock. The other steamer Teazer was close by the Marys, and the Wyre asked if they had got the crew of the Pudyona on board, and were told that they were all drowned.  The crew of the Wyre, however, would not take word of those on board the Teazer, but after brief consultation between the Captain and Robert Gerrard, pilot, the Wyre went to the Pudyona, and went close to her; so near indeed that the crew of the Pudyona were able to jump on board the Wyre, and when I state that the three masts of the Pudyona had all gone, and were only kept on board by the rigging, you will agree with me that a more humane and intrepid act could not have been rendered, and I take this opportunity of publicly thanking them, on behalf of the captain and crew of the Pudyona.  I think that on an occasion like this, the names of every one engaged in this transaction should be mentioned.  I will therefore read the names of those on board the Wyre :-  William Swarbrick, master; John Singleton mate; W. Morrison, engineer; Robert Gerrard and Thomas Hornby, pilots; R. Hesketh, R. Bailey, J. Murray, C. Young, E. and R. Ainsworth, R. Cockburn, and J. Hesketh.  To all of these, I beg that they will accept my grateful thanks; and I also offer my acknowledgements to the owners of the Wyre, and to Captain Rawstorne.  Mr Walker properly represented this conduct to the Board of Trade, who very promptly sent £30 for the crew, and intimated that a telescope should be sent in a few days for presentation to the Captain of the Wyre, and which we have now met to present him.  I think their promptitude in acknowledging this service reflects great credit on Her Majesty's Government.  Mr Burrell then read the inscription on the telescope, which is as follows: "Presented by Her Majesty's Government to Mr William Swarbrick, master of the Steam Tug Wyre, in acknowledgment of his gallant and humane conduct in rescuing the master and crew of the Barque Pudyona, of Lancaster, from their disabled vessel, on the 27th October, 1862,"  and calling Captain Swarbrick, presented it, saying - - Captain Swarbrick, on many occasions in the ordinary exercise of your duties, I have seen you at Glasson Dock, and you have always endeavoured to assist us to your utmost in towing the vessels at that place, and I am very gald to be able publicly to thank you for your gallant services to the crew of the Pudyona.  I was pleased to see some time since that you had obtained the command of the new steam tug Wyre, and the occasion of the loss of the Pudyona was the first service you had performed for me in that vessel, and I will say that it was the most important service that you have ever performed.  I feel sure that this present will be gratifying to the inhabitants of Fleetwood, coming as it does from Her Majesty's Government, and I hope you may live long to use it.  I beg to hand it to you, and wish you health and happiness.  He then shook hands with Captain Swarbrick, who feelingly acknowledged the gift, and said that he was unaccustomed to public speaking, but he felt that he had done nothing but what was his duty, which he hoped he should always be found ready and willing to do.  The pleasure he felt in having been the means of rescuing the crew of the Pudyona, was increased by the fact that Captain Foster was an old friend.  The Chairman said he had thought it only right to bring Captain Foster with him, and he had no doubt that their friendship would only be cemented the stronger by the event.
Mr Tarner proposed a vote of thanks to the Fleetwood pilots, and paid a well deserved compliment to their vigilance and skill.
Mr Kemp seconded the proposition, which was enthusiastically received.
The Rev. G.Y.Osborne said he wished to state that Captain Ward, the Secretary of the National Lifeboat Association, whilst on a visit to Fleetwood lately, had several times told him that he considered the conduct of the Wyre, on the occasion of the loss of the Pudyona, as one of the most meritorious services he had ever known.
The Chairman stated that the Board of Trade had sent for Captain Swarbrick's certificate, and had addixed their seal, and recorded on the back of it an endorsement to the effect, that Captain Swarbrick had rescued the crew of the Pudyona.  He said this was an endorsement on this certificate of which any man might feel proud.
After a vote of thanks to Mr Burrell, on the motion of Dr Dall, for his kindness in coming over to preside on this occasion the interesting proceedings terminated.

(abstract from Fleetwood Chronicle, Blackpool Herald, and Lytham Gazette, 19th December, 1862).

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