October 22nd and 23rd (1940)

At 09.30 hours on Tuesday, 22nd October, the Brigade was called out for Wreck Service. The Rocket Life Saving Apparatus was taken by motor lorry to Marsden, where the “CAIRNGLEN” Steamship of four or five thousand tons was found lying aground 200yards or more off Wyron Point. The Roker Brigade who had been called out earlier, were present with their apparatus, and the Tynemouth Lifeboat was standing by, but the life saving services were not then required. Our Brigade also stood by. The weather was bad; wind East – strong and increasing with heavy rain; the sea rather rough and increasing, and the tide falling – High Water 6.55 p.m. G.M.T., the visibility ½ to 1 mile. Tugs were attendant on the vessel and on the approach of High Tide they attempted to tow the ship off but without success. The tide was rising and the weather worsening as darkness fell, and presently the vessel’s back was heard to break. The tugs cast off their Hawsers, and our services were immediately called for from the ship. The Tynemouth Life Boat was apparently unable to reach the “CAIRNGLEN” probably owing to her position amongst dangerous rocks. Two rockets were fired – both excellent shots; the first over the forward part of the ship, which apparently the crew were not able to reach, and the second carried the line over the vessel further aft. This was secured and the Whip line was hauled out, followed by the Hawser and Breeches Buoy, and the work of landing the crew proceeded. The South Shields Brigade worked with the Roker Brigade and received valuable assistance from soldiers stationed near the scene. It was a long and arduous service, lasting almost throughout the hours of darkness, but the whole ship’s company numbering 49 persons was safely brought to land without accident.

Source: S.S.V.L.B. Minute Book 4

Sea Rescue of Marsden Recalled
Award of B.E.M.

A graphic sea rescue - off the cliffs at Marsden seven years ago, when 35 men were brought ashore by Breeches Buoy, in a gale and black-out, from the steamer Cairnglen, was recalled last night when Brigadesman William Burton, of Roker Volunteer Life Brigade was presented with the B.E.M. for his courageous part in the rescue.

When the call was made for volunteers to board the ship because of a sick man. all brigadesmen offered their services, but Burton was chosen.

In addition to the men brought ashore by Breeches Buoy, another 14 in a lifeboat were guided to the shore.

Source: Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette 12 December 1947