The Board of Trade were responsible for the Coastguard and raised Life-Saving Apparatus companies at strategic sites around the coast.
The LSA, commonly called the Rocket Apparatus or Breeches Buoy, used a powerful rocket to fire a line over a vessel stranded near the shore. The wrecked crew would use this line to pull a heavier line out to the wreck by which means the block and breeches could be hauled out. The apparatus saved many a crew but was a cumbersome and time consuming process. Furthermore it required a hazardous trip either through the air, when the wrecked vessel was close in to a high cliff, or through the surf, where the apparatus was set up on a flat shore.
The Coastguard station officer and his men directed the operation with locally trained volunteers providing the manpower to carry the apparatus from the horse-drawn cart to the scene.
The LSA companies practiced regularly. The Mumbles LSA was still in use up to about 25 years ago and trained at a permanent post on High Pennard. The apparatus and men were carried to the scene in Batchelor's removal van.
Mumbles LSA at practice on West Cross Common in 1919.
Photographs by M.A. Clare.
Token issued to volunteers who assisted the LSA company at a wreck.
The token was issued to all who assisted at the wreck scene and could later be exchanged for payment.
The Board of Trade were forced to introduce these tokens as previously many who had not assisted would attempt to claim payment.