‘Do you want to drown the lot of us?'

 A vessel was stranded on the outer ledge in a heavy ground swell. We could hear the crash as her bottom struck …we saw, too, a gaping wound where the rivets had broken…the crew knew very well what had happened and almost before we were alongside had jumped into the boat.

The last man stood at the rail and shouted loudly: ‘I am not going to leave my ship. I will be better in here than in your little cockle-shell.’ ‘Come on,’ shouted Ben Jacobs, our coxswain, ‘we can’t leave you there all alone.’ ‘No,’ he cried, ‘I will stand by my ship.’ Ben shouts out, as we rise again: ‘Do you want to drown the lot of us? If you don’t get aboard we will come and fetch you, but it will be your fault if we are all swamped.’…

Finally he jumped, for a moment the lifeboat was right under water... We came out of it as we knew we would, and there was the captain, in the early dawn, with bloodshot eyes, sitting in the stern with his feet entangled in mine, shouting out: ‘Put me back on my ship, your boats are not fit to ply the sea…’

The poor man was so grieved at the loss of his ship that we knew we must humour him, but when he stood up to protest still further, Ben Jacobs put an enormous hand on the top of his head and pressed him down with irresistible force, as a man might press down a rebellious puppy trying to escape from its basket.

Launch, JEB Seely