In the church of St. Peter and St. Paul at Cromer is a
stained glass window commemorating the rescuing of the
crew of the Sepoy a sixty-five ton sailing barge that
run aground some two hundred yards offshore at Cromer on
the 13th December 1933.
At 4am a call came into Cromer Life Boat station saying
that the sailing-barge Glenway had gone aground on Happisburgh
beach. The number one lifeboat (Bailey) was launched
with Coxswain Henry Blogg at her helm. There was a real
gale blowing and the sea was unbelievably rough.
Unfortunately the ‘Glenway’ was in such shallow water
that the lifeboat was unable to get close enough to
offer her any assistance. As the weather continued to
deteriorate Henry Blogg decided to hole up at Great
Yarmouth rather than attempting to return to
Cromer. Back at Cromer the lifeboat station received a
second distress message this time about the Sepoy.
The remaining crew launched the second lifeboat the
Alexandra an old rowing vessel. Despite valiant attempts
on their part they were unable to reach the Sepoy with
its two-man crew. The crew consisting of Captain
Hemstead and his First Mate had been forced to take
refuge in the rigging of the barge and were in a bad
state as they were battered by the elements. Blogg
hearing about the Sepoy’s plight and despite the awful
weather returned immediately to Cromer as he neared the
coast he appraised the situation.
Blogg attempted to get a line out to the Sepoy but it
didn’t succeed and as a result the Bailey lifeboat
became holed. In a desperate maneuver Blogg drove the
lifeboat straight over the wreck managing to snatch the
young Mate to safety before the lifeboat was swept away
again. He repeated the tactic and this time got the
Dangerously low on fuel Blogg realised that he would not
be able to return to the safer harbour of Great Yarmouth
but instead would have to attempt a landing at Cromer.
This he managed and he and his crew and the two
survivors eventually reached dry land. Henry Blogg (on the left
of the picture) received the RNLI’s Silver Medal first
Service Clasp for this daring rescue.