Second Officer Lester Newman RFA

Able Seaman Thomas MacCulloch Maclean RFA

Able Seaman David Stewart Sorby RFA

Able Seaman Robert Kennedy RFA

Ordinary Seaman Charles Reside RFA

Donkeyman Arthur Williams RFA

 

Cecil Junior

In mid March 1926, the schooner Cecil Junior from St John’s, Newfoundland was homeward bound from Seville, Spain with a cargo of salt. In mid Atlantic the Cecil Junior ran into a succession of gales and heavy seas, and on the 18th March whilst fighting the weather, the schooners rudder was smashed and the vessel began to take on water.


 

Second Officer Lester Newman RFA

Able Seaman Thomas MacCulloch Maclean RFA

Able Seaman David Stewart Sorby RFA

Able Seaman Robert Kennedy RFA

Ordinary Seaman Charles Reside RFA

Donkeyman Arthur Williams RFA

 

Cecil Junior

In mid March 1926, the schooner Cecil Junior from St John’s, Newfoundland was homeward bound from Seville, Spain with a cargo of salt. In mid Atlantic the Cecil Junior ran into a succession of gales and heavy seas, and on the 18th March whilst fighting the weather, the schooners rudder was smashed and the vessel began to take on water.

 

The crew managed to keep the flood under control with the vessels pumps until the 22 March when a ship was spotted on the horizon and flares were fired to attract attention. The ship had seen the flares and came over to investigate; this ship was the Royal Fleet Auxiliary War Diwan, who stood by the stricken vessel while she tried to launch her boat.

 

The Cecil Junior’s boat was smashed to bits as soon as it reached the water, so the Master of War Diwan decided to try and launch his own boat and attempt a rescue of the crew of the stricken schooner, he called for volunteers - Second Officer Newman, AB’s Maclean, Sorby and Kennedy plus OS Reside and Donkeyman Williams stepped forward.

 

WAR DIWAN

 

The crew of the War Diwan’s boat managed to row over to the schooner and take off the Master and five crew members; this was an extremely dangerous manoeuvre, as the seas were very rough, with very high seas running. The boat’s crew from RFA War Diwan ran a considerable risk in saving the lives of the schooner’s crew and displayed exemplorary skill and bravery in doing so. For their selfless act they were all awarded the Sea Gallantry Medal.

Sea Gallantry Medal

 

The Sea Gallantry Medal was the official Board of Trade Medal for saving life at sea; it was an award for civil gallantry at sea and was first awarded in 1856. This medal was last awarded in 1987 and has been replaced by the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

 

Other notable recipients of the Sea Gallantry Medal have been Lieutenant Max Kennedy Horton, later Admiral Sir Max Horton of the Western Approaches and Lieutenant John Rushworth Jellicoe, later Admiral of the Fleet, the Earl Jellicoe.

 

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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