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.
Henry Thomas Emptage lied about his age when he enlisted at only 16. He had already lost both his parents and no doubt saw a life in the Army as a way out of poverty and an opportunity for travel and excitement and it may have helped him deal with an very tragic personal life. His career in the army saw him serve in two wars before being called up to serve again at the outbreak of WW1.
Descended from a long line of mariners, George William Emptage joined the Royal Navy on his 18th birthday. In civilian life he became a postman but when war was declared in 1814, he transferred from the Naval Reserves to active service.
Throughout his short life George William Emptage suffered from what we would now describe as learning difficulties, however this didn’t prevent him from enlisting for what turned out to be a very brief military career.
William Alfred Emptage was 18 when he enlisted in the 3rd Battalion of The East Kent Regiment “The Buffs” in 1900, following his brother Henry Emptage who had joined in 1897. They both saw action in South Africa in the second Boer War. William transferred to the Royal Horse Artillery in 1902. In 1914, by then a reservist, William was one of the first to be called up at the outbreak of war.