James & John Tapley, George Jarman, Solomon Walker,
James Tomlin, James Agar, John Lambert and Matson Terry

In 1835 the Merchant Shipping Act was introduced which provided the first central register of seamen and father and son James and John appear on this record registered with the Deal boat ‘Po’. 

The below reports are from the time that James and John were registered with the Galley ‘Po’. Although there were several vessels with this name working at the same time it is very likely that they took part in at least one of these reported rescues. 


The Annual Register of World Events: A Review of the Year, Volume 58(1816)

Yesterday morning the wind blew uncommonly hard from the westward, with a very heavy sea running in the offing, in which a boat called the Po, belonging to the south-end of Deal, was lying to, waiting for ships coming up Channel, when, about 10 o’clock, a heavy sea took her on her broadside, and the ballast rolling forward, she went down stern-foremost, with six men on board. The moment the accident was observed from hence, several intrepid boatmen lost no time in putting off to their assistance, and happily succeeded, although the accident took place at the distance of more than two miles from the shore, in rescuing four persons from a watery grave, whose names are Geo. Jarman, Solomon Walker, James Tomlin, and James Agar, who had clung to the oars and spars: the two other persons who composed the crew, viz. John Lambert and Matson Terry, being so exhausted with wet and cold, could not keep their hold till the boat reached them, were unfortunately drowned, one leaving a wife and child. Too much praise cannot be given to our boatmen for the alacrity with which they went off to rescue their fellow-creatures from death. A liberal subscription has been opened for the unfortunate sufferers, which we hope will be extended to the boatmen who were so zealous in risking their own lives. 


Tuesday 01 October 1833,  Kentish Gazette, Kent. 

The Shipwreck Institution in London has awarded £5 to the crew of the Deal boat Po, for saving the lives of six persons belonging to the schooner Charlotte, wrecked on the Goodwin Sands during the late gales.


Tuesday 28 November 1843,  Kentish Gazette, Kent. 

The Deal boat Po landed on Monday morning, at about eleven o’clock, nineteen French fishermen they had happily succeeded in rescuing, about two o’clock the same morning, from the rigging of the  lugger Louis Phillipe, of Caen, which had sunk off Dungeness with 300 barrels of herrings on board. Two boys were drowned. The night was dark and the wind very high. The attention of the boatmen was directed towards the wreck by the cries of the sufferers, and great exertion was required in saving them. The fishermen were clothed and provided for by the French Vice Consul and left for Dover on Wednesday, full of gratitude to their preservers, who for their humanity should be handsomely rewarded. The poor men were relieved by the French Vice Consul at Dover during their stay there and were on Friday morning put on board her Majesty’s packet Swallow, Captain Sherlock, for Calais.  


And sometimes there was Smuggling too-

Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal – Friday 30 March 1827

Sources and further reading:
Britain, Merchant Seamen, 1835-1857 – The National Archives BT 112/68
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved.
With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)