Sunday, 15 May 2011


When the Exmouth lifeboat, the Maria Noble, was called out on Christmas Day 1957 and Lifeboatman William Carder was washed overboard and drowned, the second coxwain, Jack Phillips, was also washed overboard into those raging seas. He lived to tell the tale to the coroner.

"There was nothing I could do. I caught hold of a rope of some sort but I could not hold on, and it would not have done me any good if I had. I was conscious all the time I was in the water and I was washed up on the beach. I felt the ground under my feet and tried to to get up but another wave took me back. I told myself, 'I'm not going to be had this time' so I crawled the rest of it."

The coroner said "You were both swept overboard. You were lucky and Mr Carder was unlucky; that is really what it comes to."

Jack Phillips had crawled onto the beach near Orcombe Point. He was then able to stagger homewards in the howling gale and through blinding rain. Coastguard Tutton and members of the lifesaving team from Budleigh Salterton were already on the beach and saw the staggering figure of Jack Phillips by the light of their torches. Mr Tutton told the coroner, "We were very surprised to see him I can assure you." They supported him for a while and then handed him over to other members of the search party and went on to find poor William Carder who had not been lucky.

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