John Batist AM

b. ? 1830 Plymouth, Devon. d. ? 1902 Portsmouth, Hampshire. 

DATE OF AM ACTION: 06/01/1867 Dymchurch, Kent.

John Batist AM

John was born in Plymouth, Devon in c. 1830, though little else is known about his early life. He married Jemima and there is no information on any children. Jemima died in c. 1882/1883, and John re-married in 1885 to Emily Ann Cunningham in Portsea Island. John Batist was employed as a Boatman at Dymchurch Coast Guard Station at the time of his gallant act, for which he was awarded both the Albert Medal Second Class and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution silver Medal. The Reverend Charles Cobb, the vicar of Dymchurch, who was awarded the Albert Medal First Class, and was also presented with a Medal by the Emperor of France, was on his way to perform Divine Service at the local Church when he stopped to perform his mission of mercy. The road leading down to the beach nearest to where this act of gallantry was performed was subsequently renamed Charles Cobb Way.



The French lugger Courier de Dieppe, of 59 tons, with a crew of four persons in all, drove ashore at Dymchurch, Kent, on the morning of Sunday, January 6, 1867. On the evening of January 5, a strong gale of wind arose, the weather became tempestuous, and the vessel was found to be on the English coast. The next morning the master failed to get assistance, and ran the vessel ashore. Attempts made to reach her by means of the Mortar Apparatus were unsuccessful; and the master, a cabin boy, and a seaman were washed overboard and drowned. Soon the vessel parted, and the portion upon which the mate, the only survivor of the crew, had taken refuge, was driven within 50 or 60 feet of the shore. John Batist, a Boatman at the Coast Guard Station at Dymchurch, clad in a cork jacket, and having a line attached to him, attempted to reach the vessel, but failed and was dragged ashore. The Rev. Charles Cobb, Rector of Dymchurch, then rushed into the water, made for the bulwarks of the vessel, and, after one or two ineffectual attempts, reached the survivor, who was in the rigging; Batist followed, and with a line, which he carried with him, the French sailor was dragged ashore, supported by Mr. Cobb and Batist. Mr. Cobb made this attempt in spite of the remonstrances of the people on the spot, and declined their assistance by refusing to take a line with him. It was blowing a strong gale from the south by east, and a heavy sea was running at the time.