Hero seaman to be remembered

The RNLI national memorial in Poole. Below, Hartlepool RNLI coxswain Robbie Maiden
The RNLI national memorial in Poole. Below, Hartlepool RNLI coxswain Robbie Maiden

A BRAVE Hartlepool seaman who perished while saving two people from a stricken vessel will be honoured 135 years after the rescue.

George Cowell died when his boat capsized while helping to save two men during an emergency in 1867 at the mouth of the River Tees.

Hartlepool RNLI coxswain Robbie Maiden

Hartlepool RNLI coxswain Robbie Maiden

Almost 150 years later, his name is among 28 that will be added to the RNLI’s national memorial in Poole, Dorset, which commemorates those who lost their lives at sea while selflessly trying to save others.

Mr Cowell was not a lifeboat crew member, but a seaman on a steam tug who gallantly went to the aid of the two men on the sloop named Wrecker which got in distress at the entrance to the River Tees on December 8, 1867.

Mr J Lister from Seaton Carew and five men set out in the vessel Trinity House and rescued the two men and brought them ashore.

Now Hartlepool RNLI is appealing for anyone with any more information to help shine more light on the incident.

Robbie Maiden, coxswain at Hartlepool Lifeboat Station, said: “The RNLI memorial in Poole is a tribute to the many hundreds of people who lost their lives at sea, while selflessly saving others.

“We are so pleased that the story of George Cowell has come to light. It means he will be always be remembered, and inspire future generations of lifesavers.

“We have been able to establish some details about the incident but we are keen to find out more.”

The RNLI made a grant of £10 to Cowell’s widow and parents. His and the other 27 new names will be added to the RNLI memorial at a dedication ceremony on September 28.

Relatives of those being remembered are welcome to attend.

The RNLI memorial is located at the RNLI College at the charity’s headquarters in Poole.

It also features the names of people from other organisations involved with the charity, who have lost their lives at sea while saving others.

Designed by sculptor Sam Holland, the memorial depicts a person in a boat saving another from the water.

It is inscribed with the motto of the RNLI’s founder, Sir William Hilary “with courage, nothing is impossible”.

People, or even descendants of Mr Cowell, can share information by emailing: heritage@rnil.org.uk

l Mail view: Page 8