Brave The Storm – Learning TracksView Keely Hodgson's Full Store
The song tells the story of Edward Rutter, coxswain of the Cadgewith Lifeboat, based in the fishing port of Cadgewith, on the Lizard Peninsula, between The Lizard and Coverack in Cornwall, England, a wild and rocky coast, and the site of many shipwrecks.
Rutter lived during the second half of the nineteenth century and was coxswain for 24 years, saving over 60 lives. One occasion is described in the account that follows, written in a letter to the Editor of The Times, September 14th, 1891, by J.J. Mallock, the Honorary Secretary of the Cadgewith Lifeboat: “It is told of Rutter that some thirty years ago, when a vessel (the SS Suevic) was breaking up on the rocks off the Lizard, his simple appeal to the crew that hesitated to row him in a small boat alongside amid the surf, the broken spars, and the tangled rigging was, ‘Why, the men will drown – the men will drown! You are not going to let the men drown, are you?’”
Sadly, J.J. Mallock’s letter was written after Rutter’s own death at sea on Friday 4th September 1891, just 10 days after Rutter’s brave actions. His own fishing boat capsized during a sudden squall and although a boat went out to rescue him, when it reached him, he was exhausted after swimming towards the rocks. Sadly he died, probably from heart failure. J.J. Mallock makes an appeal to the readership of The Times, on behalf of Rutter’s widow and 5 young children. He goes on to write: “They are in want – they are in want! You are not going to let the widow and children of such a man want for food, are you?
I am indebted to Andrew Burgess for finding this story in “The Book of The Lifeboat” and bringing it to life in his own words. Andrew writes: The main thing that struck me was how much we see all the hi-tech of modern lifeboats, yet here was a bunch of people rowing out again and again in wooden boats in fog so thick they couldn’t see a huge ship two yards in front of them. Amazing strength and courage!
Andrew Burgess lives near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. He sings with the Honley Male Voice Choir.
I would also like to thank Craig McLeish for his vocals on the learning tracks for the TBB version of the song.
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