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Crewmember swims through heavy seas and extreme cold to save colleagues

Year 1906

Read by Sheridan Swallow – Trustee, Royal Humane Society

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Davidson, Christopher, Second Hand, Steam Trawler Southcoates.

At 8.30 a.m. on the 14th February, 1906, the steam trawler Southcoates of Hull ran ashore on the south coast of Iceland. There was a strong south- east gale blowing with snow showers, the thermometer registering fifteen degrees of frost. It was impossible to launch a boat, as heavy seas were making a clean breach over the vessel where she lay about sixty yards from shore.

Christopher Davidson, second hand on the vessel, volunteered to try to swim ashore with a line, and there being no other hope of saving the crew, the captain consented. Davidson then went over the side, and after a hard struggle succeeded in reaching land, and communication thus being established, the crew of eleven men were hauled through the surf and landed in safety.

Great risk was incurred, not only from the heavy seas and extreme cold, but also from the want of lifebelts, there being none on board.

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