FROM THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE RNLI FOR 1835
William FEILD. Former master mariner.
20 February 1833
voted 12 June 1833
In passage from the Clyde to Leghorn, Italy the Sicilian brig Felicita was
wrecked in Sandy Haven Bay, west of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire during the
night of the 19/20th her master and six seamen being washed off and
drowned. About Mr. Field saw the wreck on the sands near his house, the hull
broken in two, all her masts gone, surf breaking over her and the survivors
in the lower rigging. Obtaining the services of two volunteers he
went over the reef and swam to the wreck and, with one of the men, brought
two seamen safely ashore in two journeys. With the other volunteer
assisting them they brought the remaining survivors (including two
passengers) ashore but one seaman and a boy died later. All the
survivors were so exhausted as to be helpless and the passengers all became
badly cut by being thrown against the rocks.
The RNLI lists the names of persons saved as:
Ludovico lavico, passenger
Pietro Savarell, passenger
Giovanni Liberto, carpenter
and nine seamen.
The Quarter Sessions roll for Easter 1833 lists whose who died as follows:
and boy Gaspari
For his bravery William was awarded a Silver Medal & £5 from the RNLI,
along with the other two volunteers William Evans and Rees Jones each
receiving £3 or £2 respectfully.
Another contemporary account of the wreck states "Feild ran down to
the waters' edge with two of his friends and together they performed a remarkable
rescue. Wading into the estuary, Feild scrambled over the reef and
swam out to the men on the wreck. One survivor at a time was brought
back through the waves and helped over the reef. Of the three
rescuers, who were themselves badly cut by being thrown against the rocks
by the surf, Feild was awarded the Silver Medal of the R.N.L.I. and all
three received monetary testimonials both from the R.N.L.I. and from a fund
The account of this rescue features in many books on wrecks in the South Wales area.
It is also understood the Capt. William Andrew Feild was the inventor of
"Captain Field's improved Parallel Rule". There is an example of one in
the NationalMaritimeMuseum, Greenwich,
London. It is inscribed "Regd. No 5449 JAN v
1854 Captn Field's improved". Another example is held by the local
Museum at Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire.
William died in 1870 and is buried in HerbrandstonChurch.