DID 3 SOUTH SHIELDS ORGANISATIONS GET THERE BEFORE THE US COAST GUARD – PART 1

DID 3 SOUTH SHIELDS ORGANISATIONS GET THERE BEFORE THE US COAST GUARD – PART 1

The United States Coast Guard is Always Ready

THREE South Shields organisations got there FIRST, or did they?

Solar Solve’s Chairman theorises.

Some historical references on United States Coast Guard websites refer to the USCG motto of Always Ready or sometimes the Latin equivalent Semper Paratus.   They quite openly declare that no one seems to know exactly how Always Ready was chosen as the USCG motto, or exactly when.  I am intrigued because I am a past Honorary Chairman of the Tyne Lifeboat Society (the world’s FIRST proper lifeboat organisation), which began its existence 231 years ago when the Tyne Lifeboat Committee was formed.  I live and work in South Shields in North East England, have read the history of the TLS and have my own theory about how the USCG adopted their motto, Always Ready.  There are 3 options, all connected with South Shields.

The world’s first purpose designed lifeboat was conceived and built in South Shields, in September 1789 and put on station on the river Tyne.  This was as a result of a competition sponsored by the newly formed, South Shields based Tyne Lifeboat Committee.  Later to be named ‘Original’, the lifeboat’s first launch when lives were saved, was on 30th January 1790.  At some point in its history and before 1850, the TLS had adopted the motto Always Ready and by which time, the committee had been amalgamated with the North Shields Lifeboat Committee and renamed The Tyne Lifeboat Institution.

In 1850, South Shields became a Municipal Borough and adopted the lifeboatmens’ motto Always Ready for its coat of arms.  In December 1865, the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade was formed and following the towns lifesaving tradition, it too adopted the motto Always Ready.

Coincidently, as an aside to this story, my Alma Mater has a slightly different input.  I’m not sure of the exact date but probably between the two world wars, the South Shields Boys’ High School (later to become South Shields Grammar Technical School for boys, before turning to mixed gender comprehensive education) was looking for a motto.  It turned the town’s English motto into Latin.  It got complicated though and the negative of the negative was chosen … nunquam non was taken as meaning “always” and parati means “prepared”. So it’s supposed that the school’s motto Nunquam Non Parati really reads “not never prepared”, a derivative of Always Ready that is different from the US Coast Guard’s Semper Paratus.

You can read about the USCG side of things on Thursday.

John Lightfoot MBE, Solar Solve Chairman

DID 3 SOUTH SHIELDS ORGANISATIONS GET THERE BEFORE THE US COAST GUARD – PART 1
The lifeboat Tyne is the world’s second oldest lifeboat in existence and was built in 1833 and is of similar design to the first lifeboat, Original, that developed at South Shields some 44 years earlier. In 1894 it was sited alongside a monument to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, that also commemorates the invention of the lifeboat at South Shields in 1790, with the names of two men – William Wouldhave and Henry Greathead, the designer and the builder. Tyne was placed on public display under the decorative cast iron canopy, as a permanent reminder of the skill and bravery of the men of the Tyne Lifeboat Institution.