When we visited the Margate lifeboat, Nick Smith, the archivist, had extracted the names of Emptages from the RNLI records, with their dates of service. He also provided a list of notable services and some historic photographs. This is an attempt to identify those Emptages.
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.
A maritime disaster off the coast of Jersey in December 1900. One of the crew aboard the steamship Rossgull was Elijah Jarman Emptage.
Six members of the Emptage family took part in the rescue attempt of the crew of the Northern Belle in January 1857. Two lost their lives and three received medals at an earlier event. Now it was Alfred Emptage’s turn to receive his medal at a ceremony where special mention was made of his bravery.
Born into a family of generations of mariners, Albert John Emptage earnt his living by the sea, having begun to work with boats at the age of eight. Whilst he had a turbulent domestic life, his skill at sea was undisputed. Albert was a member of the Margate lifeboat service for 40 years, many of them as coxswain. It was not just his height which made him a ‘giant of a man’.