Early in the morning of Thursday 24th September 1970, the maroon (explosive mortar fired to assemble the Lifeboat crew) was fired for a boat that was aground four miles South of Scarborough. The Crews of both the offshore Lifeboat, Robert and Dorothy Hardcastle and the inshore Lifeboat (ILB) assembled, only to be stood down, as they were not wanted. In the distance, a light was showing on the end of Filey Brigg and this was taken to be coming from an all night angler as the Brigg is a popular angling destination. As the crews dispersed, the light at the end of the Brigg suddenly started firing distress rockets and the Honorary Secretary of the Lifeboat, Phil Hodgson, immediately authorised the launch of the ILB with what crew there were available.
The ILB is a "D" class fast inflatable boat designed for inshore work in daylight, but due to the expediency of the situation, it was launched at 04:56 in the dark and with a slight mist to what was now the vessel in distress. The tide had been ebbing for three hours and there was a slight Southwest breeze present. Malcolm who is now the current Coxswain of the present offshore Lifeboat at Filey took the helm of the ILB.
The Wreck was the herring drifter By Dand and she was located at the back of the Brigg on a rocky scar with a list to starboard, all the wheelhouse and deck lights were switched on and with no one on board, it was an eerie sight to behold. The Flamborough Coastguard informed the ILB that the crew had taken to the liferaft and, guided by a small light on the canopy, they were located.
"What ship and how many?" shouted the ILB crew, to which brought the reply "By Dand and there are nine of us". Some of the fishermen were taken out of the raft into the ILB and then all, with the raft were towed back to Filey, arriving at 05:50. The skipper, an enormous Scotsman advised the Coastguard that he intended to go back to refloat his boat and both lifeboats launched at 07:44 to assist him.
One ILB crewman and a Lifeboat crewman, Frank "Rammy" Boynton were first aboard, followed by a fisherman and the cook from the vessel. The cook, regardless of the vessel's predicament, immediately went under the furled mizzen sail for a shovel of coal to stoke the galley stove below! The By Dand was perched on the edge of the scar and her gunwale looked out of line as though her back was broken, as the swell rocked the boat, her keel was slowly grinding away. The Deck hatches were "frozen" shut due to the vessel being out of alignment and an iron bar had to be used to free them for access below.
Once the skipper was satisfied with the integrity of the compartments of the vessel, the herring net warp was paid out with her anchor attached and dropped in deep water by the ILB, the Lifeboat also secured a warp to her so that it could help to pull the vessel off the rocks.
As the tide rose, the herring net warp started banging and cracking with the stress imposed upon it and eventually the By Dand was pulled clear and, under her own power she set off for Scarborough at full speed, the ILB crewman had to take a running jump into the ILB to get off but Frank Boynton stayed aboard, which was a good thing he did as the skipper unintentionally nearly ran her on to a submerged reef called "Old Horse Rocks". Timely warning by Frank just prevented this.
The By Dand was a visitor to Scarborough the following year but as to her eventual fate, decommissioning or loss, this is not known. If anyone knows of her whereabouts this site would be pleased to hear from them as she is one of the few that got away.
Story © A Green 1970
Photos © Scarborough & District Newspapers Limited