Richard Eglon was Second Coxswain of the Whitby Lifeboat and had a wide knowledge of the tides and treacherous currents around the Saltwick Nab. Like Coxswain’s, the No2. appointment was regarded as an honour and attracted no extra pay. It followed long service as a crew member and required special qualities of seamanship and command.
The normal crew of a lifeboat was fourteen men. They were all paid 15 shillings for each occasion they put to sea. There was no payment for all the hours of standing by and preparation. By comparison with the general wages the level the figure was an extra one, but it did not reflect the hardships and risks involved.
The Coxswain steered the boat. The second Coxswain was close by, ready to take over in an emergency. Often he steered the boat on the outward and return journeys, leaving the No1. to take over for the actual rescue operation. The other twelve were oarsman and one of them was the Signaller, who operated a morse key which was strapped to his thigh. He was given an extra allowance of ten shillings, making him the highest paid man in the boat even though he was the third in rank.
In the John Fielden’s crew there were two Eglons and three Richardsons, maintaining the strong family tradition handed down from generation to generation. This could have disastrous consequences on a family if a lifeboat was wrecked.
People assisting to launch a lifeboat were paid and 145 of them received six shillings each for helping to drag the John Fielden across The Scar.
Mr. J. Moat was credited with giving first aid information and paid seven shillings.
Copyright © Ken Wilson 1981