Rohilla rescue remembered at Trinity House
The famouse Rohilla rescue that was carried out by the Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat in 1914 was remembered by the Corporation of Trinity House of Newcastle upon Tyne yesterday, at their annual Service of Remembrance.
The service, attended by the Brethren and members of Trinity House together with invited guests including representatives of the Royal British Legion, Royal Air Force, Northumbria Police and the North East Chamber of Commerce, was also attended by crewmembers of Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat who heard Trinity house Member David Stenhouse, also the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Tynemouth RNLI, read a moving description of the rescue and the heroic actions of Coxswain Robert Smith, Major H E Burton and the lifeboat crewmen as they rescued 50 people from the hospital ship Rohilla after she became wrecked at Whitby in 1914. Captain Tony Hogg, Warden of Trinity House and Chairman of the Tynemouth RNLI Branch was also present at the service.
On the 6th of August 1914 Rohilla was requisitioned and converted for use as a Hospital Ship. On the 29th of October she left Leith bound for Dunkirk to repatriate wounded soldiers but at 04:00 the following day she ran aground on the Saltwick Nab, a mile south of Whitby. With no coastal navigation lights available because of the war she lost her way, ran onto the bank and in the raging storm broke her back. After the local lifeboats had exhausted their strenuous efforts to reach any more survivors, a telegram was sent to Tynemouth requesting the launch of the Henry Vernon, the RNLI's first motor lifeboat.
The Henry Vernon and her crew were to be the saviour of the last fifty survivors, who had endured over fifty hours amongst the wreckage, With her motor running the Henry Vernon was able to stay alongside the Rohilla whilst picking up survivors in mountainous seas. The lifeboat was said to have been enveloped on many occassions by waves, each time righting herself and continuing the operation. All the time watched by the townsfolk from a nearby beach, who cheered the rescue attempts and waved lanterns.
Major Burton of the Tynemouth lifeboat was awarded an Empire Gallantry Medal on the 30th of June 1924 for his bravery, this was later changed to a George Cross in 1940 when the award was instituted. RNLI Gold Medals were awarded to Captain Burton and Coxswain Robert Smith, and Silver Medals to Second Coxswain James Brownlee and Lt Basil Hall, Lifeboat Inspector,
Sadly even with the efforts of the lifeboat crews, 84 members of the ship's compliment perished out of a total of 229.
Find out more about Trinity House here www.trinityhousenewcastle.org.uk
Pathe News footage of the rescue. Click on the picture to visit the Pathe site.
https://www.tynemouth-lifeboat.org/2012/11/12/832/rohilla-rescue-remembered-at-trinity-house/Rohilla rescue remembered at Trinity HouseNews1914,corporation,house,Lifeboat,poppy,remembrance,Rescue,RNLI,rohilla,sunday,trinity,Tyne,Tynemouth,whitbyThe famouse Rohilla rescue that was carried out by the Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat in 1914 was remembered by the Corporation of Trinity House of Newcastle upon Tyne yesterday, at their annual Service of Remembrance. The service, attended by the Brethren and members of Trinity House together with invited guests including...Tynemouth RNLI [email protected]AdministratorTynemouth RNLI lifeboat station