WILLIAM CALLAWAY – Seaman RNLI Silver Medal Recipient


William and son Reginald Callaway RNLI SILVER MEDAL
William and Reginald Callaway RNLI Silver Medal

William was born in 1831 in Bath but he was part of a Lyme Regis family who later returned there. He was a seaman and in 1856 was awarded the Silver Gallantry Medal from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for saving a life at sea. The following is from a passage from the Lifeboat “Gallantry”:

William Callaway, Seaman
22nd August 1856: During squally weather near Lyme Regis, Dorset, the “SECRET”, a small boat taking part in a regatta, capsized and filled, throwing three men into the sea. The incident was seen by Mr. Callaway who was alone in another boat. He turned back to the casualty and was able to save one of the men. He then took off his clothes, plunged in and tried vainly to save another man. Mr. Callaway had been thrown a rope by a trawler from the port side, but such was the speed of the boat, he was dragged under the water and forced to let go of the man he was trying to save, who by this time was senseless and had drowned.

By 1861, he was a master mariner and on the Census of 1861 is aboard the ship called “Ajax” which he co-owned (with Greenfield) along with a Thomas Mills, mate from Bridgport and Frederick Bryant, boy from Lyme. This ship was a cutter. In the 1861 census in England his children; Emily, Ellen and Reginald are all boarders at a school in Colyton Devon run by the misses Seaward. Emily was 8 yrs. Ellen 7 yrs. and Reginald 5 yrs. His first wife Sarah had died in 1851.

William married for a second time to a lady called Lavinia Crago a widow of James Lusby of Alderney. In the next census of 1871, 1881, 1891 she is down as the landlady and shop owner of the Army and Navy Inn on Alderney. Along with other family members, William also had shares in another boat, this time a ketch called the “THOMAS and ELIZABETH”. 46 tons. William seems to have spent his life carrying cargo between the Channel Islands and South Coast and French Ports and when he died in 1905 left £2000 a large sum for those days.

William′s son Reginald John lost his life in 1885 while serving on a ship called “Zoe”. Reginald drowned at sea off the coast of Gibraltar and so he never saw his second daughter as she was born in Bradford a few months after his death. In his Will Reginald left £250 which was again a good sum for that time.

I would like to thank James Callaway for all the photographs and details of William's life.


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©Lesley Haigh 2012

William Callaway
Last updated December 2012
Web Page by Les Haigh. Email: (les.haigh at btinternet.com)

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