THE BURNING OF THE 'VOLTURNO' - PAGE 51
'THE QUIVER' MAGAZINE

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On page 43, it is indicated that Captain Inch of the Volturno was granted a 'The Quiver' Heroes Gold Medal. And I was curious what 'The Quiver' in fact was & the terms of such a medal. This page is just a start in addressing the subject, because data about the magazine, on the WWW at least, seems to be minimal, & WWW data about the medal is non existent. But all is not lost!

The Toronto Reference Library on-line index reports that they have in their archives, most annual issues of 'Quiver' from 1876 through 1925, but with 6 or so years missing. Unfortunately 1913 is one of the missing years, & it is perhaps that year's annual which most likely would contain a reference to Captain Inch. They seem to state that for 1876 through 1879 the magazine was entitled 'The Quiver: An Illustrated Magazine for Sunday and General Reading'. In 1898, it would seem to have just become 'The Quiver'. But the index seems not to indicate the exact title in the intervening years & I have not visited the Library to establish what it was, in fact, entitled in those years. But I can tell you that the Volumes re 1881 & 1882, which I bought via e-Bay, do have the 'long' title, if I may call it that, as you can see below.

Thanks to Keith Mills, of Swansea, Wales, & his research at 'British Library Newspapers' in London, I learn that 'Quiver' was published in New York also. I cannot tell you if the editions published in New York & London were essentially identical.

We have a little more data as a result of a kind message received from Tracey Brown of Milton Keynes, U.K. Tracey has provided text from the 1888 edition of 'The Quiver'. It does not, of course, relate to Volturno in any way but may be indicative of the coverage which would be in the 1913 issue re Captain Inch. Tracey's volume speaks to the granting of silver Heroes medals to three worthy recipients: 1) Dr. J. Percy A. Gabb who risked his life to save a child from drowning, 2) Captain Brian Williams who plunged into rough seas to rescue a mother who had tried, unsuccessfully alas, to save her three daughters from drowning and 3) James Williamson who saved himself & two other Whalsay, Shetland, fishermen when they were caught in a sudden severe storm in Dec. 1887. Their fishing boat was thrown onto the rocks by the pounding surf & James saved two of his comrades from under the upturned boat in the most heroic of fashions. Hopefully, someday, we will locate similar 1913 descriptive text re Captain Inch. Maybe you could help?

Tracey advises that she has also discovered that 'The Quiver' had other awards, & particularly a Honourable Service award for servants whose service for the same family was more than 50 years! How very interesting! But how times have changed! Tracey, we thank you for your valued contributions!

But we have even more! Keith Mills wrote a book on the history of the Swansea Fire Brigade, & prominent in that volume is the bravery of Constable Thomas 'Tommy' Tucker in a fire on Sep. 20, 1893. He rescued a child from a smoke-filled house on Tontine Street in Swansea & was granted the bronze 'Quiver' medal for his rescue. Clearly a very brave man! Almost 10 years later, on Feb. 6, 1902, a drapers shop was on fire on High Street, Swansea, in the early hours of the morning. Thick volumes of smoke were billowing from the premises. Fireman Tucker, learning that 6 people were  asleep inside, entered the burning building & successfully lowered five of the six via a make-shift rope (made of bed sheets) to a lower roof from which they escaped. And the sixth person, a child, he carried out of the building on his back. For that act of bravery he was awarded the 'Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire' medal. There is a fine image of Police Fireman Tucker in Keith's volume which is entitled 'Flames Across the Tawe', of 167 pages & published in 2001 by Breedon Books Publishing Co. Ltd.

The image that follows - of Constable Thomas 'Tommy' Tucker & his bronze 'Quiver' medal - may not do justice, alas, to the material that Keith Mills kindly has kindly provided to the webmaster. But maybe, in some small way, the image & these words may acknowledge & remember Constable Tucker's acts of bravery now so long ago.

I think that 'The Quiver' was first published in Jan. 1866 (but see three paragraphs below since the Lifeboat Fund would seem to have been started in 1865) & may have published its very last edition in Oct. 1926. But I stand to be corrected on that data.

My two volumes are of 764 pages each, each page being 6 3/4 inches wide & 9 1/4 inches high. Quite thick volumes, as you can imagine! Moral & religious in its content.

The puzzle to me is that one cannot tell where one monthly issue ends & another starts. One certainly can do that re say issues of Boys Own Annual where each issue that is reproduced in an 'Annual' is complete with every cover page & masthead. Not so with my 'Quiver' volumes. So I am pleased to find what an actual issue of 'Quiver' looked like at left - this one from Jun. 1876. Via an item listed on e-Bay.

There is no reference to a 'Heroes Medal' in the 1881 & 1882 volumes, but there is detail about a fund which may well have spawned the medal. In 1865, I read, 'THE QUIVER Lifeboat Fund' was started. Three lifeboats were funded & placed at the disposal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution & stationed - "one at Southwold in Suffolk: one at Margate, in close proximity to the Goodwin Sands; & one at Queenstown at the mouth of Cork Harbour, to act in connection with a steam tug for the rescue of crews in distress on the dangerous south coast of Ireland." Surely this would be the origin of the later medals. The Margate boat alone, I read, saved upwards of sixty lives in the interval (it would seem that it saved 70 lives as you can read below). And the issue had a fine image related to lifeboats, entitled "THE QUIVER" LIFEBOAT TO THE RESCUE", which I reproduce here.

And now we can provide more data about the 'Quiver' lifeboats, thanks to the good folks at the RNLI Heritage Trust ('RNLI') & the research diligence of Keith Mills.

There were five 'Quiver' lifeboats in total, in operation from 1866 through 1899 at the locations set out next. And a total of 169 lives were saved during that lengthy period of service.

Quiver No. 1 - a 34ft self-righter located at Margate, Kent, from 1866 - 1883. Launched 38 times, saved 70 lives.
Quiver No. 2  - a 33ft self-righter located at Southwold, Suffolk, from 1866 - 1882. Launched 2 times, saved 8 lives.
Quiver No. 3 - a 34ft self-righter located at Queenstown (Cork), Ireland, from 1866 - 1899. Launched 15 times, saved 13 lives.
Quiver No. 1 (the 2nd Quiver No. 1) - a 37ft self-righter located at Margate, Kent, from 1883 - 1898. launched 68 times, saved 61 lives. This lifeboat then went into the reserve fleet from 1898 - 1912, during which time she served at Palling (Norfolk, I believe) from 1900 - 1901, at The Mumbles (nr. Swansea, Wales) during 1903 - 1905, and also at Newhaven (nr. Brighton, Sussex) & Southsea (Portsmouth in Hampshire). Whilst at The Mumbles, the second Quiver No. 1 only went out on service twice, each time to stand by vessels.
Quiver No. 2 (the 2nd Quiver No. 2) (formerly named 'Dorinda' & 'Barbara') - a 30ft lifeboat located in the counties of Norfolk & Suffolk from 1882 - 1897.  Was launched 5 times and saved 17 lives.

RNLI also provided Keith with a copy of an announcement published in Margate on Aug. 3, 1866, as the lifeboat was about to first arrive. The 'Quiver' lifeboat & crew were carried in a grand procession through the city on Aug. 7, 1866, on a wagon drawn by six horses. Lots of local dignitaries took part in the procession along with the band of the Rifle Corps, the proprietors of 'The Quiver' and 'Sailors with Flags'. A grand occasion I am sure.

Maybe you can provide additional data? Maybe YOU have a 'Quiver' annual which does explain what the Heroes Gold Medal award was all about?

The article concerning the Lifeboat Fund is quite extensive - 2 1/2 pages or 3 1/2 pages if you include the above image. And it contains a second small image of the lifeboat station at Margate. The emotional appeal for Quiver readers to fund the 3 lifeboats is very well written indeed. And can be read here. What I provide is however just a part of the whole article.

I thought I should show you the title page of the 1882 volume. And do so below. Now you would think from the image which follows that the volume is badly foxed. And excessively yellowed. Actually it is not. The foxing seems to be on very few of the 764 pages. And the yellowing with age is less than would appear (my suspect scanning ability). The pages survive in substantially good condition to this very day, perhaps a reflection of the quality of paper on which it was printed.

Above is an image of a 'Quiver' medal, thanks to Tony Jones of North Wales.


A PLEA FOR "THE QUIVER" LIFEBOATS

TO OUR READERS

A ship lies wrecked upon the Goodwin Sands. It is night, and night without moon or stars. So black is the darkness that the rockets sent up from the unfortunate vessel are scarcely seen at the coast-guard stations on the neighbouring shore. But the loud boom of the signal guns, telling of a ship in distress, pierces the air; and, without loss of time, without hesitating an instant to think of the danger, without pausing to consider the probability of ever finding the vessel on such a night, lifeboat crews at various stations are on the alert, and proceed to get ready their boats to set forth to the rescue.

Meanwhile the brig lies on the sand-bank, at the mercy of the raging sea. Heeling over on her beam-ends she meets the full fury of the gale! Her sails have been torn to ribbons, and the wind whistles through the rigging as though clamouring for its prey. And what of those on board? They can do nothing, save fire the signal guns, and wait! No ordinary boat could live in such a sea: they have tried to launch one, and at once it and its occupants have disappeared from sight. And now a new danger threatens: the tide is rising, and soon the hull of the vessel will be covered! Nothing remains save to seek safety in the rigging and on the masts, and here the half-frozen crew betake themselves. Signals can be fired no more: all that can be done is to cling on despairingly for very life, till the numbed limbs refuse to exert themselves longer, and the poor seamen drop off one by one into the sea beneath. The fierce wind still rages, and dashes the salt foam into their eyes, and freezes their hands, but still some cling on with the courage which is born of despair. Then, as the tempest shrieks more wildly, and seems to gather up its strength for a final effort, one of the masts gives way, loaded as it is with human beings, and is suddenly carried off in the trough of the sea. The survivors still hang on, all through the weary night, and, thank God! not in vain, for with the morning light, they are sighted by one of the lifeboats which has been beating around the sands for hours, lost in the darkness, but hoping almost against hope to be of use at last.

But the danger even now is not over. It is only after repeated attempts that the boat can get near enough to rescue the poor fellows whose power to assist in saving themselves is well-nigh gone. As one by one they are taken into the boat, many a dead body is seen lashed to the rigging, frozen and lifeless!

Soon the lifeboat is full, crowded almost beyond chance of safety, and still some remain. Oh, that another lifeboat were at hand! "We'll come again for you," shout the gallant rescuers; but, alas! the revulsion of hope is too much for the over-wrought men left behind, and long ere the boat returns to take them away, they have dropped into the sea, or, frozen to death, lie bound to the masts.

And yet this might not have been! There was another lifeboat station close to the scene of the disaster, but when brought down to the beach the boat was declared unseaworthy. She had seen good service, and had saved many lives, but the time had come when patchwork and repairs could do nothing more for her! To send her to sea in such a storm as this meant certain death to her gallant crew. And so a dozen or more lives - the lives of brave men who had fought hard against death all through the night - were lost for ever.

Readers of THE QUIVER, this is no fanciful picture, but the plain truth - a story unadorned! And just as the owners of that unseaworthy boat must have felt, so will you feel, unless you come at once to the rescue and renew THE QUIVER lifeboats ere it is too late. You generously contributed the cost of the boats, and placed them under the management of the National Lifeboat Institution. Since then they have jointly saved the lives of scores of shipwrecked sailors on our coast. But the average age of a lifeboat is only sixteen years, and the period is inevitably approaching when THE QUIVER boats must be replaced, or they will be as useless lumber in the houses constructed for their reception.

This page will, hopefully, track data about the 'Quiver' as it comes to hand. And hopefully data as it specifically relates to the the Heroes Gold Medal & Captain Inch.

If any visitor can clarify (or correct) or provide more information about any of these matters, I would truly welcome their help.

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