Tribute for double drowning victims

RICHARD BATSON Padded with cork lifebelts the two young men who served together in a gallant lifeboat crew from bygone days. But just five years after the photograph was taken they died together as they went about their daily work as fishermen.

RICHARD BATSON

Padded with cork lifebelts the two young men who served together in a gallant lifeboat crew from bygone days.

But just five years after the photograph was taken they died together as they went about their daily work as fishermen.

The double drowning tragedy will be marked by their modern day lifeboat colleagues who will lay flowers on the sea where they met their doom in the seas off Cromer. The ceremony is set to take place tomorrow, operations allowing.

The accident highlights the daily perils faced by fishermen in search of their catch, and shows that even rescue experts are not immune from becoming victims of the forces of nature.

James Harrison, son of the lifeboat coxswain James, and Robert Rix perished when their boat Boy Dick overturned in a heavy squall on Friday May 10 1907.

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An official inquiry by the receiver of wrecks heard that the boat was fishing for crabs and lobsters in the 15 year old boat, in a strong force 5-6 wind.

It capsized after spar which supported the sail broke, which saw them take to the oars in a bid to make progress to shore.

A squall blew in lasting 20-25 minutes, and afterwards nearby boats said the Boy Dick has disappeared.

It was found floating on its beam ends, the mast still attached but with no sign of the sail or crew - who it is believed got wrapped up in it and could not swim to safety.

The boat was valued at £7 10s (£7.50) but was not insured. There were no lifebuoys on the boat, due to lack of space, but the hearing agreed they would not have helped in the circumstances.

Press reports at the time of a memorial service at the parish church record that a large congregation heard the vicar, the Rev W F T Hamilton, say the two young men had been “doing their duty when death overtook them”.

The gathering sang hymns including God Moves in Mysterious Ways, and listened to an “impressive sermon”, taking text from a psalm “He commandeth and raiseth up the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.”

He also commended fishermen to show the courage, resource and qualities to face the risks they ran “without fear of this world or the next.”

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