Mackins Family History, Stories and Photos
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John Mackins ~ Walmer Coxswain
John Mackins, the coxswain of the Walmer lifeboat saved many lives on the The Goodwin Sands, he was seized by pneumonia after a splendid service across the Goodwins, when his lifeboat was buried thirty times in raging seas. The Goodwin Sands is a great sandbank, eight miles long and about four miles wide, rising out of deep water four miles off Deal at their nearest point to the mainland.
They run lengthwise from north to south, and their breadth is measured from east to west. Counting from the farthest points of shallow water around the Goodwins, their dimensions might be reckoned a little more, but the above is sufficiently accurate. Between them and Deal lies thus a stretch of four miles of deep water, in which there is a great anchorage for shipping.
This anchorage, of historic interest, is called the Downs— possibly from the French les Dunes, or 'the Sands,' a derivation which, so far as I know, was first suggested by myself— and is sheltered from the easterly gales to some extent by the Goodwins. The Downs are open to the north and south, and through this anchorage of the Downs runs the outward and homeward bound stream of shipping of all nations, to and from London and the northern ports of England, Holland, Germany, and the Baltic.
A very large proportion of the stream of shipping bound to London passes inside the Goodwins or through the Downs, especially when the wind is south-west, inasmuch as if they went in west winds outside the Goodwins, they would find themselves a long way to leeward of the Gull buoy.
The Wreck on the Goodwin Sands
Hurrah for the gallant conduct
of the North Deal Lifeboat Crew
who worked so well & bravely
to save their comrades true
how hard they fought to save them
in the boiling angry main
but poor Marsh, the bravest of them
ne'er will fight the waves again
With death lowering dark around him
a heroes front he bore
not a selfish thought within him
but a heart true to the core
he scorned to leave his station
while a man was left to save
& cooly faced the danger
of a cruel & watery grave
Oh who can paint the torture
to die in sight of shore
of home of wife of children
whose hearts fond love he bore
with a last sad glance to landward
a low murmered prayer of love
oh lord help my wife & dear ones
till we meet in heaven above