Ramsgate Lifeboat
by Simon Cooper
Wrecked on the Goodwin Sands on the night of 19th April 1849
in the heavy gale of wind blowing from the E-NE

Wholly composed by Simon Cooper one of the Boat's Crew
who were engaged during the following day in saving the lives of the suffering Mariners

On Thursday night a tremendous gale,
From E-NE it did prevail,
Accompanied by a heavy rain,
Made many a seaman's stout heart pain.

At daylight, to attend our calling we
Did from the pier of Ramsgate see
A wreck presented to our view -
But oh! where was the suffering crew?

Two luggers from Ramsgate now with speed
Did reef our sails, and to sea proceed,
Our fellow-creatures lives to save
Though long and wild the billows raved.

Approaching near the Goodwin Sand,
We saw the wreck, but not one man;
Including in that heavy sea
No living being there could be.

So amid the surf our noble boats,
Protected by the God of Hosts,
Did bear us to our port again,
Where till 10 am we did remain.

When on the cliffs, with glasses clear,
We scanned the sea with anxious care,
Till hull could no longer be seen,
And jib-boom only now and then.

Excited now the throng did stand,
For those with telescopes in hand
Expressed that they most certainly
Could men upon the jib-boom see!

These impressions led us once more
To man our luggers as before,
And to the Sands proceed again,
With heart-felt sorrow, grief and pain.

For as we to the wreck drew nigh,
The sea ran so tremendous high,
We thought there surely could not be
A living soul in such a sea.

And so we made for home once more,
And by God's help we reached the shore;
To the cliff again we did repair,
And watch'd the falling tide with care.

Again with telescopes in hand,
We viewed the wreck upon the Sand,
And to our great surprise did see
Some living men amidst the sea.

Undaunted, we once more did go
And pray'd kind Providence to bestow
Her blessing, so that we might save
These poor men from a watery grave.

About 3pm we reached the Sand,
Hoisted our colours to the suffering crew;
Each lugger then, in number three,
Did most unanimously agree -

To try our utmost to a man
(Seeing the crew on the dry sand)
To succour each other in this serious risk,
Hoping Providence would our efforts bless.

We tack'd and tack'd but 'twas in vain,
Against wind and tide no distance gain;
Till the MORNING STAR sailed o'er the Sand,
Succour'd by the CHARLOTTE ANN.

The ONDINE follow'd with courage bold,
But sorry we were for to behold
Her strike upon the Sand and swing
Her broadside to the sea and wind.

Kind Providence still urging us forward
Sent us the wind born from the Northward,
Which caused us to sail unto
The suff'rers that we had in view.

Yea, we viewed them upon the sandy heap;
In the jaws of death it made us weep;
And the signal from them we did behold,
Was a shirt flying upon a pole.

About 5pm we rescued with joy
Nine exhausted men and a little boy,
And from their bodies the lashing cut,
Gave them such nourishment as we had got.

About 6pm we again set sail
For Ramsgate, with this N.E.gale;
And our lugger striking so long a time,
It caused the suff'rers to repine.

About 7pm we cleared the Sand,
Made sail with joy did every man,
To turn against the wind and tide,
Reach'd Ramsgate as the clock struck nine.

And as we entered Ramsgate Pier,
Was welcom'd with unceasing cheers,
And every kind attention paid,
To crew and boatmen of the 'foresaid.

The reason why I write this is
That men might think of their mercies;
And whilst we on such mercies gaze,
With thankful heart give God the praise.
Copyright 1999-2020 by Clive Lawford (e-mail). All Rights Reserved.
You are very welcome to link to this site, though any form of duplication requires written consent from me unless otherwise stated.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736).
Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.