DID 3 SOUTH SHIELDS ORGANISATIONS GET THERE BEFORE THE US COAST GUARD – PART 2

DID 3 SOUTH SHIELDS ORGANISATIONS GET THERE BEFORE THE US COAST GUARD – PART 2

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Some historical references on United States Coast Guard websites refer to the USCG motto of Always Ready or sometimes the Latin equivalent Semper Paratus.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. 

In Tuesday’s blog I offered 3 options, all connected with South Shields, that convince me, our town was an influence.
The story continues….

In August 1848, the US Congress appropriated funds to pay for life-saving equipment that included surf lifeboats, rockets and breeches buoy apparatus, to be used by volunteer organisations.  It was the beginning of the US Life-Saving Service, which in June 1878 was established as a separate agency, under the control of the Treasury Department. The motto of the Surfmen was ‘They had to go out, but they did not have to come in’. In 1915 the US Life-Saving Service merged with the US Revenue Cutter Service to create the US Coast Guard.

This is the most intriguing bit, though. In July 1883 the US Life-Saving Service made a request to the British Board of Trade, that their Lieutenant CH McClellan, Inspector of Life Saving Stations, could visit the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade on a fact finding mission, to see how they used rocket apparatus and breeches buoy equipment. He was also invited to inspect the lifeboats and equipment of the Tyne Lifeboat Institution.  At that time, the Tyne Lifeboat Institution and South Shields Borough Council, as well as the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, all used the motto Always Ready.

In later years, McLellan played a leading role in the design and development of motor lifeboats in the USA.  They are still relevant to the designs of lifeboats in use today.

My theory is that whilst McLellan was in South Shields, one of the ‘facts’ that he took back with him to the US, was the lifeboatmens’ motto Always Ready. 

I would be very interested to hear if any readers know of any evidence to substantiate this theory.

John Lightfoot MBE, Solar Solve Chairman