On November 13, 1901, the Caister lifeboat, Beauchamp was launched to go to the aid of a vessel on the Barber sands. It took four hours and two attempts and, as the launching crew watched, the lifeboat was forced back towards the beach. Fifty yards from the shore, it capsized, breaking off the masts and trapping the crew beneath the boat.
Two onlookers - one a 78-year-old former assistant Coxswain, James Haylett - dashed into the sea and pulled three crewman from under the craft. Despite their bravery, the remaining crew members were drowned. Eight bodies were recovered at the scene with another body that had been washed away being recovered four months later. Haylett had saved his son-in-law and a grandson, but failed to save his two sons and another grandson who were in the boat. A good account of the heart-rending tragedy can be found HERE.
The victims were buried in Caister Cemetery where a monument raised by public suscription was unveiled in 1903.
|Photograph by Evelyn Sirak|