At a time of severe gales, in January 1871, the Brigatine Sarah, carrying coal, was aground on Margate Sands. The crew of the lifeboat Quiver and a local lugger Ocean went to the rescue.
In 1897 Margate was once again to witness the tragic loss of life of nine of its lifeboat crew.
One of the crew was John Benjamin Dike, descended from Henry Emptage and Ann Peal.
Albert John Emptage was coxswain of the lifebaot Quiver and was a witness at the inquest and the Board of Trade Inquiry.
Thomas was called upon to do his duty and hire out his cutter to the Navy Board, to help service the English fleet at war with France.
If you hire something out, you expect to be paid for your time and expenses especially when, during the period of the hire, you’ve not had any other form of income and have incurred debts on behalf of your country.
Thomas, like many other people at the time, found himself having to argue with the Navy Board in order to be paid.
The story of an encounter with a veteran boat man named Hemptage and of his meeting with Napoleon Bonaparte. Why was it so important?
The brigantine ‘Druide of Cardiff’ was driven ashore on rocks opposite Fore Point, Margate. Subsequent events led to the shaming of Edwin Robert Emptage, second coxswain of the lifeboat Quiver and the awarding of Sea Gallantry medals to Albert John Emptage and six others. Did Edwin deserve to be pilloried or were political forces at work, using him as scapegoat?
Thomas Hepburn married Elizabeth Emptage and they had two young children. He was 30, a ploughman and a wheel wright and yet, he risked everything, including jail, execution or transportation to a penal colony on the other side of the world if he were caught carrying out the action which he and others were planning on the night of 21st November 1830.