Dodie's Dream World - Complete Chaos! xxx
Thu, 05 Nov 2009
"The Women of Mumbles Head.". not all of it, you can find the rest by clicking on dodiesdreamworld.|
|I must thank the Oystermouth Historical
Association for the picture below.
I am lucky enough to have a copy of
Clement Scott's actual Lay,
from his 1888 book
of Lays and Lyrics. Publisher Routledge &
A photograph of
Jessie Ace and her sister Margaret
OF MUMBLES HEAD
Bring, novelists, your notebook ! bring,
dramatists, your pen !
And I'll tell you a simple story of what women do
It's only the tale of a lifeboat, of the dying and
Of a terrible storm and shipwreck that happened off
Mumbles Head !
Maybe you have travelled in Wales, sir, and know it
north and south;
you are friends with the 'Natives' that dwell in
It happens, no doubt, that from
Bristol you've crossed in a casual
And have sailed
your yacht in the summer in the blue of Swansea
Well ! it isn't
like that in winter, when the lighthouse stands
In the teeth of Atlantic breakers, that foam on its
face of stone:
It wasn't like that when the hurricane blew, and
the story-bell tolled, or when
There was news of a wreck, and lifeboat launch'd,
and a desperate cry for men.
When in the world did the coxswain shirk? A brave
old salt was he !
Proud to the bone of as four strong lads as ever
had tasted the sea.
Welshmen all to the lungs and loins, who about the
coast 'twas said, Had saved some
hundred lives apiece - at a shilling or so a head
So the father
launched the lifeboat, in the teeth of the
And he stood like a man at the rudder, with an eye
on his boys at the oar.
Out to the wreck went the father ! Out to the wreck
went the sons !
Leaving the weeping of women, and booming of signal
Leaving the mother who loved them, and the girls
that the sailors loved,
Going to death for duty, and trusting to God above
Do you murmur a prayer, my brothers, when cosy and
safe in bed,
For men like these, who are ready to die for a
wreck off Mumbles Head ?It didn't go
well with the lifeboat ! 'twas a terrible storm
that blew !
And it snapped a rope in a second that was flung to
the drowning crew ;
And then the anchor parted - 'twas a tussle
to keep afloat !
But the father stuck to the rudder, and the boys to
the brave old boat.
Then at last on the poor doom'd lifeboat a wave
broke mountains high ! "God
help us, now ! " said the father. "It's over, my
lads, good-bye !"
Half of the crew swam shoreward, half to the
But father and sons were fighting death in the foam
of the angry waves.Up at the
lighthouse window two women beheld the
And saw in the boiling breakers a figure - a
It might be a grey-haired father - then the women
held their breath,
It might be a fair-haired brother, who was having a
round with death ;
It might be a lover, a husband, whose kisses were
on the lips
Of the women whose love is the life of men going
down to the sea in ships ;
They had seen the launch of the lifeboat, they had
heard the worst, and more ;
Then, kissing each other, these women went down
from the lighthouse,
straight to the
The Story of the Women of Mumbles
Carol Powell, MA
women involved, Jessie Ace and Margaret
Wright, were the daughters of the lighthouse
keeper, Abraham Ace. They,
with the help of Gunner Hutchings from the
lighthouse fort, rescued
John Thomas and Williams Rosser, two of the
lifeboat crew who had successfully rescued the crew
of the German barque,
Adalbert of Danzig'. Unfortunately the lifeboat
crew then got into
trouble themselves. The disaster took the lives of
two of the
coxswain's sons, his son-in-law and another man.
The coxswain received
a silver medal from the RNLI and £50; Gunner
Hutchings received his
thanks on vellum.
The action of the two women was not recognised by
the RNLI but both
received gold brooches from the Empress of Germany
for looking after the barques’ crew. (Subsequently
I have learnt that
Jessie’s brooch is now the treasured possession of
her great-great granddaughter in Australia.)
These happenings took place on 27 January 1883, the
being the Wolverhampton. In those days, the
lighthouse keeper, his
deputy and their families lived on the lighthouse
island, so were close
at hand when the ship ran aground.
Following this disaster, another lifeboat named
Wolverhampton II was built and remained in service
It was said of these men and their ilk that 'they
were iron men in wooden boats.'
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