A bronze medal, presented to Eyemouth coxswain William Miller in 1917 for his bravery during a rescue, has been passed to the present day lifeboat station.


Volunteers at the Eyemouth Lifeboat Station say they are proud to be the new custodians of a bronze medal, presented to their former coxswain in 1917.

William Miller was presented with the accolade for his actions during the rescue of the crew of the Norwegian schooner, Livlig, on 6 March 1917.

The vessel was sailing from Norway for the east coast of England when it was caught in severe south-easterly gale off Berwickshire, Scotland.

Laden with pit props, the schooner was spotted from Eyemouth running under bare poles and was later seen to be in great distress off St Abbs Head, where the vessel was taking on water and on its beam end.

One man had already been washed overboard and drowned during the storm.

The remaining seven crew were hanging onto the rigging when the vessel’s main mast came down.

The then Eyemouth lifeboat, Anne Francis, a pulling and sailing lifeboat was launched, under the command of coxswain William Miller.

It took the crew over an hour to get alongside the Livlig, where they found that the schooner had righted, its crew still clinging to the rigging.

With great skill and courage, the lifeboat crew established a breeches buoy between both boats and with that, they saved all seven crew from the Livlig.

Coxswain Miller then faced a difficult decision.

Bronze medal from 1917 rescue presented to Eyemouth lifeboat station

William Miller’s bronze medal. Credit: RNLI

The prevailing conditions would have meant risking further peril trying to enter Eyemouth so Miller decided to head north and towards the Firth of Forth.

Heavy seas repeatedly swept clean over the lifeboat and everyone on board suffered greatly from exposure.

But, the crew, numbed by the cold, kept going, and by 9.30pm arrived in Granton.

Both the shipwrecked men and lifeboat crew were met and taken to the Sailors’ Home in Leith for rest and medical care.

The lifeboat crew returned to Eyemouth by train the following day, and when the weather moderated, returned to Granton and sailed the Anne Francis home.

The body of a seaman wearing oilskins and lifebelt bearing the name of the Livlig was found on the beach at Seacliffe, near Dunbar, the day after the rescue. The body was that of the crewman who had been swept overboard.

For his truly outstanding seamanship and leadership, the RNLI awarded William Miller a bronze medal.

His crew, George Lowrie, Alex Rae, Andrew Craig, William Johnstone, Robert Crombie, A Dougal, J Burgon, Robert Lough, James Dickson, John Gillie and D Young were all given monetary awards for the essential part they played in the rescue.

The medal has now been passed into the care of Eyemouth Lifeboat Station by Miller’s great great grandson, John Miller.