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Burton Bradstock: Hero fisherman to be remembered by RNLI
10:30am Friday 7th September 2012 in Lyme Regis
A FISHERMAN who died in a rescue attempt at Burton Bradstock in 1861 is to have his name added to the RNLI memorial at Poole.
John Gerrard, master of a fishing smack called Busy, died on November 29 in 1861 as he tried to rescue the crews of boats being driven ashore in a heavy gale.
The recognition comes after an appeal by the RNLI and Lyme Regis lifeboat crew for more information about Mr Gerrard. His name is one of 28 that have come to light since the RNLI unveiled the impressive memorial in September 2009.
RNLI operations director Michael Vlasto said: “The names came to light during the past three years and since they are part of the institution’s history we thought it appropriate that these individuals should also be commemorated.”
A small dedication service for an additional panel containing the extra names will be held at the memorial on September 28.
It came after a chance discovery by Midlands-based Jeff Morris, a member of the Lifeboat Enthusiast’s Society, about the incident.
Research at the Poole RNLI HQ followed Mr Morris’s discovery, revealed a minute of the RNLI Wreck and Reward Sub-Committee dated December 3, 1861.
It stated: “From the Reverend WS Temple and several other gentlemen of Bridport and Burton Bradstock stating that John Gerrard, a fisherman of the latter place, had unfortunately perished while assisting to save the lives of the crews of several fishing boats during a heavy gale of wind at Burton Bradstock.”
The Lifeboat Journal of April 1, 1862 gave more detail of the incident.
“The fishing smack Friends, of Burton, near Bridport was caught in a sudden gale of wind while out fishing and, on attempting the beach she capsized in the surf and became a wreck.
“John Gerrard, master of the smack Busy, of Bridport, rushed into the surf to the rescue of the crew but was unhappily killed by the overturned boat striking him on the head – Gratuity to widow £10.’”