The Hartlepool hero who saved a baby from a shipwreck

The medal given to George Nossiter.
The medal given to George Nossiter.

If ever the term hero was appropriate, it applies to George Nossiter.

Today, we ask are there any descendants of the man whose bravery in 1858 was astonishing.

The crew of the long boat, imagining that Nossiter and the baby were drowned, left the vessel. The next morning, a German farmer on the shore saw Nossiter pacing the deck with the baby in his arms

Northern Daily Mail reporter

He was a sailor on the brig Black Boy which was wrecked off the mouth of the Hamburg river.

George, of Harbour Terrace, West Hartlepool, and the rest of the crew abandoned ship and got into a long boat.

Most were safely on board, including the captain’s wife and two of her children.

But not George Nossiter and not the captain’s 11-month old baby who was still in the cabin.

George went back to the sinking vessel and found the child.

He was about to hand the infant over to the long boat when a huge wave swept the deck.

The same wave swept the long boat far away from the abandoned ship.

The crew headed for shore, thinking all hope was lost.

But the very next morning, a German farmer was on the seafront looking out to the wreck and there was George Nossiter pacing what was left of the deck with the baby in his arms.

He had kept the child alive all night by suckling it with his tongue.

The farmer swam his horse to the wreck and saved them both.

Mr Nossiter was born in Whitby but came to Hartlepool during his childhood.

He received a bravery medal for his actions.

We are hoping his heroism has remained as a wonderful story for one local family.

If so, we would love to hear from them. Get in touch by contacting Chris Cordner on email at