The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society

 

 

 

This Society was formed in 1839 just fifteen years after the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. It was begun as the direct result of a storm in October 1838 which caught the Clovelly fishing fleet wrecking a dozen or so boats and drowning twenty two men.

The main purpose of the Society was to reimburse seamen for the loss of their belongings in a wreck and support the families of those lost. Seamen were encouraged to pay a small monthly fee to join the Society.

In 1851 the Society also formed a Lifeboat branch and provided boats at eight stations. Four of these were in Wales - at Rhyl, Portmadoc, Tenby and Llanelly. A few years later these stations were handed to the RNLI and the Society has since concentrated on its welfare work.

You may well have seen the Society's red collecting mines at harbours and seaside promenades.

 

 

   Bust of Nelson with his signal "England expects every man will do his duty"

The medallion issued to a seaman on joining the Society. The man's membership number was engraved in front of Nelson's head and on a number of occasions was used to identify a victim of a wreck.  A ribbon was threaded through and the medallion worn round the neck.

 

 

Member's Ticket issued to Horace Jefferson of Raincliffe near Scarborough when he joined the Society at the Robin Hood's Bay branch in February 1909.

 

 

Instructions and Conditions includes the Scale of Grants paid to members for loss of clothes in a wreck, or to dependents of members who died as a result of shipwreck or accidents at sea.