This is the current patch, there have been a lot since I’ve been there, of Coast Guard Station Point Allerton. I had the privilege of serving there for about 24 years and it was quite an adventure. P.A. is one of the most historic stations in the Coast Guard. One of the most decorated and long- serving life savers in Coast Guard history was the, essentially, commanding officer, Joshua James, who is said to have died at about 70 years of age during a life boat drill, he collapsed and his dying words are supposed to be “The tide is ebbing”. Not sure about the historical reliability, but it sounds great. For my own benefit I will be writing, at times and probably not too soon, about the history of the station and some of my own adventures there. Not sure it will generate a lot of interest, but it’s more for me. Feel free to jump in.
I ripped the following off the station website:
Station Point Allerton
Captain Joshua James, USLSS (1826-1902)
Captain Joshua James served for nearly sixty years patrolling the shores of Hull. He participated in his first rescue at age 15, receiving his first medal of many at the age of 23. In 1876 he was made keeper of four lifesaving stations in Hull, including Point Allerton. He was 62 at the time and rules requiring his retirement had to be waived by an act of congress.
During his career, Joshua James has been credited with saving over 600 people and has been touted as the world’s most celebrated lifesaver.
On March 17th, 1902 the Monomoy Lifesaving Station tragically lost seven of its crew during a rescue attempt. Joshua James deeply affected by this tragedy, took his crew into the surf to ensure the capabilities of the boat and proficiency of the crew met his high standards. After more than an hour of maneuver’s Captain James said to have been “very satisfied” with the drill, and ordered the boat ashore. After returning to the beach and disembarking the boat Joshua James glanced at the sea and remarked “The tide is ebbing,” and dropped dead on the beach at the age of 75. He left a widow and several children with no money. This situation so intensely appealed to the public that a contribution of $3,733 was collected and given to his wife.
Joshua James is honored every year at his gravesite on May 23rd (Joshua James Day) by the Hull Lifesaving Museum and Station Point Allerton.
Joshua James’s medals include:
- 1850, Humane Society Bronze for rescue of crew of French brig L’Essai
- 1885, Humane Society Silver Medal for “brave and faithful service of more than 40 years in the lifeboats of the Humane Society,” and $50
- Humane Society Gold Medal for Great Storm of 1888
- Congressional Gold Lifesaving Medal for the Great Storm of 1888