Alex belongs to: Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade
Alex joined the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade in 1950. He is now the Brigade's chairman. Alex worked as a fish merchant on North Shields Fish Quay and is chairman of the Fishermen's Mission.
Alex was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 15 February 2006. The interview took place at the interviewees's living room and lasted 29 minutes and 48 seconds.
Changes in the call out system
"In the very early days the call-out was very primitive"
In the very early days the call-out was very primitive. You relied on a maroon being fired which caused no end of trouble because at Tynemouth you had Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade, across the river you’ve got South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, you also had Cullercoats life boat and Tynemouth lifeboat.
And the system was that one maroon was fired for Tynemouth Lifeboat, two maroons for Cullercoats lifeboat, three maroons were fired for South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade and four maroons for Tynemouth Life Brigade. Well, these were fired from coastguard lookout at the Priory Point and of course if you heard two maroons, you didn’t know whether you had missed two, missed one, or whether this was in fact a call for the lifeboat, you know. That was the early days- when telephones came along people started to get telephones, you then went on to telephone calls.
Nowadays, we have immediate call with the pager for the immediate response team, and we have about six to eight people with these and they take them with them wherever they are, take them to bed with them in fact. And if they’re paged, they then ring the coastguard, ask what the problem is, and then we’re instructed on where to go. A full call-out still takes telephone calls to the rest of the members.
And, needless to say, the retired members, like myself and Arthur Wallace and one or two others, they’re at the end of the list. A full search, we can be half an hour, three quarters of an hour after everyone else. And often the job’s done when you arrive there, which is the right way to do it.
Alex has 11 memories in the memorynet:
Alex's memories with a The North East theme:
- Joining the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade
- Changes at Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade
- Call out routine
- Changes at North Shields Fish Quay
- Working on North Shields Fish Quay
- The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade watch house
Alex's other memories: