Robert Cassell

 

Robert Cassell recalled the drill in the 1930s:

Just before a practice or any launch, the chief helper would come along and issue badges. If you never had a badge, you never got paid. The coxswain used to organise everything. Ordinary helpers used to get three shillings and sixpence summertime and five shillings wintertime for every launch. That extra bit of money was a godsend in the winter. Rowing was difficult and very hot work. You had great oilskins on and lifejackets and when you was pulling on the oars out through the breakers…well you would get ever so hot. The sweat would just roll off of you and come through the oilskins and you would stick to the seat and have to wrench yourself off. The lifeboat was away in less than an hour after the gun went off: At Brook we had a light on the beach made from a forty gallon drum half full of carbide and because the fog was so thick the coxswain called out to us as they rowed away ‘Keep that light burning won’t you’. They wanted to be able to see to come back. It gave a magnificent light. One time we lit a fire and sat around and had a smoke and one thing and another while waiting.