IN WEATHER conditions which were a marked contrast to the storm 150 years earlier a wreath was laid at sea to commemorate those lost during one of Scarborough’s most famous maritime disasters.
Descendants of Lord Charles Beauclerk – who died on the night of November 2, 1861, while he was trying to help rescue the crew of the Coupland which had beached on rocks near to the Spa – travelled to Scarborough to honour the anniversary.
Yesterday they attended a special dedication service for a new headstone for his grave in Dean Road and Manor Road Cemetery to replace the crumbling sandstone one.
A total of five volunteers, including two members of Scarborough’s lifeboat crew, were lost during the disaster and John Beauclerk, Lord Charles’ great-grandson, said it was important to remember them all.
The family had been trying to replace the headstone for a number of years and Mr Beauclerk said he had finallly found closure. He said: “Laying the wreath was very moving indeed. Being on that boat, and it was absolutely dead calm, we were looking back at Scarborough and just thinking what it was like 150 years ago.
“The chaplain came up with the phrase ‘man doth no greater deed but to lay down his life for his fellow man’ and we were all thinking along the same lines.
“For us it is closure and that is what needed to be done. It’s long overdue business.”
His nephew Charles Beauclerk agreed that the events in Scarborough were a fitting tribute to Lord Charles’ heroic actions. He said: “I found it curiously moving, especially the little service for the stone. The two times that his name was mentioned there was a huge gust of wind. I think he has been laid to rest.”
They were taken out to sea on Monday night by the current crew of the Scarborough RNLI Station and members of the organisation also attended the service – both services were conducted by RNLI chaplain the Rev Pam Jennings.
She said: “It was very important to the family and the sea was flat calm and the wreath laid well. I think it’s very important to remember courageous people – November is a time of remembrance and it’s important because we need to learn from history.”
Colin Lawson, the lifeboat operations manager, said that the names of those non-crew members who were lost during the disaster would be added to the nominal roll which would be read out at this year’s lifeboat memorial service – and they would continue to be included in future years.
It was a stormy afternoon in 1861 when The Coupland, a schooner from South Shields, got into difficulty trying to enter the harbour – a strong wind crippled its sails.
Lord Charles was staying at the Crown Spa Hotel, in Esplanade, when he saw distress rockets launched and he ran down to help with the rescue.
Scarborough’s lifeboat Amelia was overwhelmed by huge waves while trying to rescue the crew of the Coupland which was trapped near the Spa.
It cost the lives of lifeboatmen Thomas Brewster and John Burton as well as three bystanders – William Tindall, John Isles and Lord Charles.
Lord Charles was hauled ashore by Scarborough-based photographer Oliver Sarony but died of his wounds at the Spa’s music room.
He was awarded a rare posthumous silver medal by the RNLI as well as an award from the Board of Trade.
Lord Charles was buried in Scarborough’s Dean Road Cemetery by his elder brother, Lord Frederick Beauclerk.