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Cullercoats hero remembered

Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat. Picture by Adrian Don/ElectricPics
Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat. Picture by Adrian Don/ElectricPics

A former Tynemouth lifeboat coxswain was the subject of a talk at a meeting of Cullercoats Men’s Club.

Dorothy Brownlee, chairman of Tynemouth Ladies Lifeboat Guild, talked about Robert Scraper Smith – a Cullercoats Hero.

He was the coxswain of Tynemouth lifeboat between 1910 and 1919 when he had to retire as he was 70 years old then.

Dorothy started by showing computer shots of the lifeboats in action by several painters, eg. JW Carmichael, Robert Jobling and Winslow Homer, and went on to describe several of the most famous rescues he took part in.

Robert amassed a total of nine medals, which is a testament of his bravery and resourcefulness, including the Gold medal, the highest award given by the society; also the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire which has now been changed into the George Cross as well as several RNLI thanks certificates on Vellum.

The event that Robert is most remembered for is the rescue of the crew of the HM Hospital Ship Rohilla which thought it had hit a sea mine and was driven into Scar bay off Whitby. All other means of rescue had failed until the Tynemouth boat arrived.

Questions followed on several points to conclude a delightful morning.

The club meets on a Wednesday morning between 10.30 am and noon throughout the year with the exception of August and the Christmas/New Year period.

For more information on the club ring Ray Calboutin on 2524110.