ESSEX-UK-L Archives

Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2005-08 > 1124226022

From: Diane wynne <>
Subject: Re: [Ess] Harwich seafarers
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2005 23:00:22 +0200
References: <> <002e01c5a1be$6b95ba40$33e1a850@home> <> <002501c5a290$36c1ad60$dfe3a850@home>
In-Reply-To: <002501c5a290$36c1ad60$dfe3a850@home>

On 16/08/05, Patricia Graham <> wrote:

> He was born in St.Osyth in 1785 and tragically died sometime in 1820
> leaving my three times great-grandmother with 4 small boys to bring up.
> I had not come across this archive ... so did not know what kind of a mariner he was.
> Did members give a certain number of days per year - or were called out when required ?

Dear Patricia,

The Preventive Boat Service was the forerunner of the Coastguards. I
was searching for my ancestor Henry DEANE. I had no idea where he was
born; all I knew was that his children were born all round the coast
of England from Anglesey to Hartlepool but not Harwich. I finally
discovered that he died in 1839 in Hartlepool and his death
certificate stated he was a Chief Officer of the Coastguard. Finally,
last year I visited TNA at Kew to search the Coastguard records. None
of these records tell you where these people came from, just their
service history, but I was lucky enough to chance upon the record I
wrote about entitled 'RETURN of Officers and Men nominated to the
PREVENTIVE BOAT SERVICE' and if you're really lucky enough to find
your man there you get to find his birthplace.

I wrote to the archivist later to establish why men were on this
return. From what he said and other research I have done I believe
that the following is what occurred.

Most of these men served in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars
(ended 1815). After the war finished there were a lot of
sailors/mariners who were no longer needed for the wars so as they
were no longer needed by the Navy and some were transferred from the
Navy to serve in the coastguard or whatever it was called at the time.
Your ancestor SIM had been at sea for 18 years, so he probably was a
mariner in the Royal Navy during the war with Napoleon. I was told
only mariners from the Royal Navy became Coastguards/Preventive men at
this time. Unfortunately there are no records about these ordinary
seamen of the Navy.

A boatman in the Preventive Service would have been stationed at a
preventive/coastguard station under a Chief Officer. Around 1817 he
would have been employed full time earning 5 pounds a year and
receiving 3 shillings a day when on duty. These men were posted away
from where they lived so they could not conspire with friends and
family who may have been smugglers! As far as I have been able to
ascertain my ancestor was only able to go back to Harwich when his
father died as he appeared as one of the executors to his father's
will. His widow survived him by 41 years and although she originally
came from Littlehampton in Sussex she remained in Hartlepool till her

It must have been a very hard life. Some of the children, when they
reached maturity stayed where they were living at the time, although
the rest of the family moved on with my ancestor to other places. So
the family split up.

The service records of the coastguard are at TNA ref ADM175. They are
not obtainable on-line. You either have to go and plough through them
yourself or get a researcher to do it for you. They are indexed by
Coastguard Station so you need to know at least one of the Stations
your ancestor served at.

Hope this makes some sense and helps with your research.


This thread: