by John Wilson


The appearance of a barometer awarded by the RNLI in a recent auction[1] intreagued me as it was awarded for a shore rescue rather than for the usual long and meritorious service.  Therefore, I thought some details of this may be of interest to our members.


On the night of 29-30 December 1916, the 2,244 ton ss Alondra en route from Las Palmas to Liverpool, was wrecked on the Kedge Rock, off Baltimore, Co. Cork, Ireland


This shore rescue was reported in The Life-Boat as follows:


“Sixteen men of the crew of the Alondra were drowned as the result of leaving the ship in one of the ship’s boats.  As soon as information of the casualty reached the shore, Archdeacon Becher, who is the Honorary Secretary of the Institute’s Baltimore Branch, called for volunteers to launch a boat, and in this he attempted to make a landing on the Kedge Rock; but this proved impossible, and the boat was recalled by a signal to Baltimore.


Meanwhile, some of the crew from the wreck had managed to get on to the island, and when this was seen, the boat again put off from the shore, but failed to reach the wreck, and as the night was closing in all attempts at further rescue had to be abandoned until the next morning. 


At daylight, Archdeacon Becher and others again put off to the island, taking with them some of the gear of the rocket apparatus, and about the same time two of H.M. Trawlers came to the assistance of the shipwrecked men, and established communication with the shore. 


Eventually, thanks to the efforts of Archdeacon Becher and the two naval officers, twenty-three men were saved, some of these having to be lowered sheer down the face of the cliff, 150 feet”.


Rewards: (Voted by the RNLI on 12 January 1917)


Silver Medal: 

The Venerable John Richard Hedge Becher, M.A., Archdeacon

Lieutenant Arthur Lakeland Sanderson, RNR, - HM Trawler Indian Empire


Aneroid Barometer

Mr John Beamish – Fisherman


Pecuniary Awards

The other 40 men who assisted in the rescue received Ł47 between them.


The Aneroid Barometer awarded to John Beamish.
































A brass and black japanned aneroid presentation barometer Dollond, London, circa 1917. The 4.5 inch circular silvered register calibrated in inches and with Admiral Fitzroy’s observations, the centre inscribed DOLLOND, LONDON, PRESENTED BY THE ROYAL LIFE-BOAT INSTITUTION TO MR. JOHN BEAMISH FOR SAVING LIFE 1917, with brass setting pointer to glass within brass bezel and cylindrical japanned case, 16cm diameter.




Brian Wead – Royal National lifeboat Institution




Cox, Barry, Lifeboat Gallantry, Spink, 1998

RNLI, The Life-Boat, 1st August 1917, p.188.


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[1] Dreweatts Auction, Donnington Priory Saleroom, 11th March 2008, Lot No.31.