Successful appeal finds medals from heroic Harold rescue
Six medals for bravery - awarded to lifeboat heroes who saved lives of nine sailors 100 years ago have been found following a Daily Post newspaper appeal. Lifeboat volunteers at Holyhead were extreemly pleased by the response to locate the medals awarded in 1908. Many people from all over the UK with links to the rescue of the stricken steamboat the he 75-tonne vessel"Harold"also joined in the centenary celebrations on 22nd February,2008 Holyheadlifeboat spokesman Ray Steadman said six medals had been located,including the gold medal given to RNLI Coxswain William Owen, awarding him for the courage and skill he demonstrated.Holyhead station's steam lifeboat "Duke of Northumberland "was launched 2pm on February 22, 1908.into very rough seas to reach the ill-fated Liverpool steamer. The Harold was anchored dangerously close to rocks between the headlands of North and South Stacks. Her crew were awarded 11 gallantry medals,10 silver and one gold, for a successful rescue mission.Holyhead Coxswain Brian Thomson said:"The response to the appeal has been fantastic,having the medals on station will make this anniversary even more special. The gold medal was with Coxswain William Owen's great-great grandson in London, who also has the silver medal awarded to William Owen Junior and a silver medal awarded to the Coxswain from the Royal Humane Society."The silver medal (also with relatives)awarded to Samuel Jones,will be returned Holyheadfor the historic occasion, as will James Lee's medal.The medal belonging to Richard Jones is still in the Holyhead area and will be displayed at the station.Today's volunteer RNLI crew will sail to the location of the rescue on February 22nd and will say a prayer at the exact place that the lives of the Harold crew were saved.
Many thanks once again to Ray for the following report and photos of the event.
The volunteer crew of the Holyhead lifeboat were able to take direct decedents of the duke of Northumberland crew to the very spot were the rescue took place it was a very moving experience for the relatives and the present Holyhead lifeboat crew. The crew were rewarded with one gold and 10 silver gallantry medals. One of the silver medal winners was Samuel Jones, grandfather of Holyhead's current lifeboat operations manager Dave Barry. He celebrates 40 years as an RNLI volunteer this month. Dave said: "My mother Margaret remembers her father's tales of the rescue. He told her how he was down in the engine room and battened down throughout the storm. Some of the medals have been given on permanent loan to the maritime museum at Holyhead so local people and visitors can see them. Members of the Coxswain Owen family can be seen in the pictures along with Mrs Margaret Barry whose father was Samuel Jones crew member and Mr John Parry holding a reatives medal Mr Parry was the hon sec for the Holyhead lifeboat for a number of years and still supports the station as one of the committee members.
MANY THANKS to RAY STEADMAN for the photos and text below.
Coastguard teams from around Wales testing new kit at Newry Beach, Holyhead in January 2009
The "Smitt" job" - 20 August 2007
Holyhead ILB launched to large vessel Smitt Cymran vessel had hit rock and was sinking 7 miles out of Holyhead the 5 people were lifted of by RAF sea king helicopter from RAF valley lifeboat and helicopter landed pumps on board but vessel still taking on water ,the sea was up to the wheel house before water was held at bay lifeboat crew worked hard to keep vessel afloat after 2 hours the lifeboat was able to tow vessel to sandy beach area and place more pumps on board vessel was eventually towed to Holyhead inner harbour were she is on the hard Holyhead ILB launched to help ALB to bring vessel along side wall local coastguard teams assisted with vessel from the beach with ropes Holyhead coastguard coordinated rescue stena shipping assisted and local pilot boat this was a good example of all services working together well done to all.
Below are photos of the children from Chernobyl who were given a go of the great model boats at the Holyhead Breakwater Park.
The six children called at the lifeboat station and then taken to model boat club lads by holyhead cliff rescue team who gave the children a great time.