George Oatley AM

b. 29/10/1842 Southwark, London.  d. 03/1903 Grays, Essex.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 16/02/1880 Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

George Oatley AM

George was born in St Saviours, Southwark, London in 1842, and he joined the Royal Navy on 3rd June 1859 as a Boy. He was promoted to Petty Officer 1st Class on 12th December 1876 before he was invalided from the Royal Navy with phthisis. He decided to become a Coastguard and was based at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. Following retirement due to ill health, he moved back south and died in Grays, Essex in March 1903.



On Monday, the 16th February, during a very heavy gale, a vessel, which proved to be the Swedish schooner ” Augusta,” was observed by the Coast Guard at Peterhead showing signals of distress and labouring heavily in the trough of the sea. On reaching the opening of the Peterhead South Bay the vessel headed for the land. As it was clear that she would come ashore, the life saving apparatus was at once started, but by the time it reached the beach the vessel had struck on the rocks near Boddam, about four miles south of Peterhead, and drifted towards the shore, where she lay exposed to all the fury of the gale. Two rockets were fired, and the second carried the line over the stern of the vessel, but the crew were quite ignorant of the working of the apparatus, and were unable to avail themselves of the assistance. OATLEY thereupon took off his clothes, and swimming through the breakers and broken water, reached the smooth water between the ship and the rocks, and was pulled on board by a rope thrown to him. He then proceeded to haul in the line and fix it to the rigging, after which the crew, five in number, were one by one drawn ashore. OATLEY, who contrary to the captain’s wishes, was the last to leave the ship, was landed benumbed with cold and fatigue, and cut and bleeding from contact with the rocks. OATLEY is not of a strong constitution and was invalided five years ago for phthisis.