Thursday, 3 June 2021

Nicholas Jones, services to the French navy, 1886

Harbour View, Cobh
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Ian S - geograph.org.uk/p/5840688

From the Cork Constitution (newspaper), 17 January 1888

MERITORIOUS CONDUCT OF A CORK SAILOR

At two o'clock yesterday, Nicholas Jones, of 11 Harbour View, Queenstown, was made the recipient of a silver medal, presented by the French Government for his meritorious services performed under the following circumstances:- 

In March 1886, he was serving on board the steamship Sarah Ann of West Hartlepool, bound from Baltimore to Galway. When in the neighbourhood of the Grand Bank of Newfoundland they fell in with a French brig Dix Freres (Ten Brothers) of Martinique, in distress, with masts gone and decks swept, a very heavy sea running at the time. The steamer hove to, launched a boat, of which Nicholas Jones was one of the crew, and they, after great difficulty and risk, brought four of the French crew on board the Sarah Ann the remainder being subsequently rescued by another steamer. 

The medal, which was accompanied by a certificate of merit, bore the following inscription:- "A Nicholas Jones, matelot a bord du naviere Anglais Sarah Ann; services a la marine Fran├žaise, 1886." (To Nicholas Jones, sailor aboard the English ship Sarah Ann; services to the French navy, 1886.)

Mr W Harvey, President of the Board of Trade, presided; and Alderman Scott and Capt. M Dermott were also present.

Mr Harvey, in presenting the medal said that [the] board had very frequently been applied to to perform duties of the present pleasing nature, and that, he thought, spoke very well for the bravery of Cork seamen. He had very great pleasure indeed in presenting Jones with the medal and certificate which was so justly awarded to him for his share in the meritorious rescue, and he heartily wished him a long and successful career.

Alderman Scott said he had only to endorse what had been said by Mr Harvey, and he thought he was expressing the opinions of the community when he said he was proud of the recipient, not alone for the favourable record he bore, but for his instrumentality in saving human life, which was a most commendable quality. Mr Jones, having retuned thanks, the proceedings terminated.

It may be mentioned that the delay caused in presenting the medal was due to the fact of Mr Jones being at sea almost constantly since the occurrence.

This further report of the incident, from the Northern Daily Mail, March 27th, 1886, tells us more, "The lifeboat by which the rescue was affected was in the command of Mr Andrews, the mate & it was so severely damaged by the heavy sea running at the time that it was little short of a miracle that she ever got back to the steamer. The entire crew of the brigantine were Negroes & the master & mate were quite drunk & not only resisted all persuasion to leave the sinking vessel, with which they declared they would go down, but they most inhumanely prevented a small boy from being rescued with the other four."

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