William FEILD.  Former master mariner.                                                  SILVER           132

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 7 a.m. 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:

Guiseppa D'Anno
Stafano Pegano
Francisco Griscaolo
Vicenzo Digenaro
Cosimo Viole
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 raised locally".

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 National Maritime Museum, 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 Herbrandston Church.





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