Last Updated

9 th Febuary



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JWA Services - 2

Teesmouth LifeboatSupporters Association

Teesmouth lifeboat Supporters Association are not part of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Services of The J.W. Archer at Teesmouth Lifeboat Station Continued

After the Coastguard had reported that a fishing vessel was in distress, 4 miles north-east of Hunt Cliff, on the morning of January 2nd. 1939, the Redcar motor-lifeboat "Louisa Polden" was launched at 10-25 a.m., the "J.W. Archer" being launched 5 minutes later. In very rough seas and a near gale-force south-easterly wind, the Redcar Lifeboat stood-by the fishing vessel-until the larger Teesmouth Lifeboat arrived on the scene and took the disabled boat in-tow. She was the "Success", of Whitby , with a crew of 4 and she was towed by the "J.W. Archer" to Hartlepool, the lifeboat returning to her station at 3-15 p.m.

The "Louisa Polden" was launched from Redcar at 7-55 p.m. on October 25th. 1939, after a resident at Skinningrove had reported sighting 3 red flares out to sea. In rough seas and a strong WNW wind, the lifeboatmen searched for a vessel in distress, but without success. Then, at about 9-30 p.m., the lifeboat's engine broke-down and her crew hoisted sail, to continue with the search. But still nothing was found and so, at 10-00 p.m., the Redcar lifeboat-men dropped anchor and burned flares, the "J.W. Archer" being launched to their assistance at 10-25 p.m. However, just before she reached the Redcar Lifeboat, the crew managed to get the engine going again and so the "J.W. Archer" escorted the boat safely ashore at Redcar at 11-30 p.m. and returned to her own station an hour later.

At 2 0' clock on the morning of February 4th. 1940, the "J. W. Archer"was launched to the aid of the s.s. "Baron Ruthven", of Glasgow, which had run aground off the North Gare. The lifeboat rescued 25 of the steamer's crew, the Captain and the ship's officers remaining on board. The lifeboat landed the 25 men, but remained afloat, in case she was needed again. Indeed, by 9-00 a.m the weather had deteriorated considerably and heavy seas were then breaking over the stranded vessel. The lifeboat went back to the steamer, rescued the other 9 members of her crew and landed them at 11-30 a.m.

Later that week, as the weather improved again, attempts were made to salvage the steamer and 23 men went on board to help. But on the 11th., a storm blew-up and heavy seas again began to batter the steamer. The "J.W. Archer" was launched at 2-45 p.m., taking with her some food for the stranded men and some fuel and spark-plugs for the pumps. The supplies were put aboard the steamer and the lifeboat stood-by until 5-00 p.m. and then took 6 men off the vessel and brought them ashore. The following day, as conditions grew even worse, the lifeboat was launched at 4-10 p.m. and rescued the remaining 17 men, landing them at 5-15 p.m.

Late on the evening of December 5th. 1940, the Port War Signal Station on the South Gare, reported that a vessel had gone ashore on the North Gare and the "J.W. Archer" was launched at 11-00 p.m. The casualty was the s.s. "Daleby", of West Hartlepool and the lifeboat-men dropped anchor close to the steamer and stood-by her throughout the night, in very rough seas and a strong northerly wind, with frequent violent squalls. At 10 o'clock the following morning, the Master of the "Daleby" decided that the help of the lifeboat was no longer required and' so the "J .W. Archer" returned to her boathouse at 11-00 a.m. But as the afternoon wore on, the weather grew even worse, until a full gale was blowing, churning up extremely rough seas. The Master of the "Daleby" agreed to abandon-ship and so the "J.W. Archer" was launched at 5-30 p.m., rescued all 37 members of the ship's crew and landed them at Middlesborough.

While the Hartlepool Lifeboat was out on service on March 28th. 1941, she experienced some engine-trouble, but was able to return safely to her station. When another call was received for her services the following day, it was decided to send the Teesmouth Lifeboat instead and the "J.W. Archer" was launched at 5-00 p.m. She went to the s.s. "Flimston", of London, which had run aground on the south side of the Long Scar Rocks, 2 1/2 miles south of Hartlepool, the Hartlepool Lifeboat having rescued 37 of her crew on a previous service. Coxswain Thompson succeeded in taking the "J. W. Archer"alongside the stranded vessel and the remaining 5 members of her crew were rescued, the lifeboat's stern being damaged during this operation, but she returned safely to her boathouse at 6-55 p.m.

In June 1941, Colin Coates took over as Motor Mechanic.The Teesmouth lifeboat-men had a very busy week at the beginning of January 1945, the first call coming on the morning of the 4th., the "J.W. Archer" being launched at 10-15 a.m. to the 6,800 ton s.s. "Empire Prospero", of Sunderland, which had gone ashore on the North Gare Breakwater, in rough seas and a strong NNE wind. The lifeboat stood-by the steamer until 2-00 p.m. and then returned to her boathouse, putting to sea again at 4-15 p.m., with a Pilot, who was put on board the steamer. The lifeboat again stood-by, while tugs tried to get close enough to put lines aboard the steamer, but they were unable to do so and the lifeboat then made for Middlesborough Docks, where she remained until the 6th., when the weather moderated sufficiently to be rehouse again.

Two days later, the "J.W. Archer" was called out again, being launched at 6-30 p.m., together with the Hartlepool Lifeboat, to go to the aid of the s.s. "Empire Scout", which had been reported to be driving ashore near the entrance to the Tees, in very rough seas, a NNE gale and frequent hail showers. Escorted by the two lifeboats, the steamer slowly made her way towards Hartlepool, where she was safely berthed at 9-00 p.m., both lifeboats remaining moored in the Docks there over-night, the "J. W. Archer" returning to her station the following morning.

She was called out again only a few hours later, being launched at 12-15 p.m., to the s.s. "Jan Van Goyen" and eventually, she put a Pilot on board the steamer, before returning to her station again at 3-15 p.m.

When the motor-vessel "Lena Broden" arrived off the Tees on the afternoon of August 6th. 1945, the weather was too bad for a Pilot Cutter to go out to her and the local tugs were also unable to get out over the Bar, to meet up with her. As her cargo of ore was very urgently needed, her owners, the Swedish Iron Ore Co., of Middlesborough, telephoned Mr. Friskney, the Honorary Secretary of the Teesmouth Station, to ask if the lifeboat could help. The "J. W. Archer" was launched at 2-30 p. m. and headed out into extremely heavy seas and a fierce NNE gale, the lifeboat-men having a tremendous struggle to get out safely over the Bar. But this was achieved and a Pilot was put aboard the "Lena Broden", the lifeboat then guiding the vessel safely into the River Tees, where two tugs were waiting to take her to a berth in Middlesborough Docks, the lifeboat having to remain in the Docks until the weather improved the following day.

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