2nd November 1872

Lifeboat men awarded Norwegian medals

The Isabella Northcote, a 700 ton Norwegian cargo vessel, was bringing timber from Montreal to London when she struck the Echero off the Cherbourg peninsular in rough seas. When lookouts spotted her from Gorey, they alerted the Jersey lifeboat, which put out to sea and ferried some of the crew back to Jersey over the course of several trips. The remaining crew members were stranded on rocks for two days and two nights until the wind and seas had calmed enough for the lifeboat to draw aside and rescue them.

The Isabella Northcote was badly damaged, with a hole below the waterline which not only let in water and put her at risk of sinking, but damaged her cargo, which had to be sold at auction as spoiled goods.

The following year, Charles Blampied, John Bouchard and Elias Whitley, who had manned the lifeboat that saved the 18 crew members of the Isabella Northcote, were each awarded silver medals by the Norwegian government. A third man, John Pinel, who was employed by Blampied, also aided in the rescue, but received only £5 in recognition of his bravery, not a medal like his boss.


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