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GUEST,^&* Lyr Add: The 'Mexico' (6) Lyr Add: THE 'MEXICO' 11 Aug 10

An account of an early 20th C. lifeboat rescue in Wexford, Ireland.

(By John Codd, Blessington, Tagoat)

O the twentieth day of February in nineteen and fourteen
The Norwegian schooner Mexico off the Wexford coast was seen
From Lithuania to Liverpool with timber for the docks
Now the gallant vessel lies a wreck on the savage Keeragh rocks

The Captain was a Mexican, as you may understand
The crew was made of strangers from many a foreign land
Ten men in all their number and hard was their fate, I trow
To take refuge in the island and leave the Mexico

She was sighted first off Kilmore Quay and seemed in great distress
The rolling waves and swelling seas did sorely on her press.
The Captain lost his bearings; 'twas the cause of bitter grief,
While Boreas blew with vengeance and drove them on the reef.

The lofty schooner was attired in double-reefed foresail,
Likewise she flew her mizen, but 'twas of no avail;
He tried to bring the ship about and head her off to sea,
But with the onslaught of the storm he could not get her stay

The anxious crew worked hard then their precious lives to save,
Contending with the blinding sleet, and mountain-high each wave.
Two sailors in a small boat from her davits they let go;
They landed safe but failed to take us from the Mexico.

The Fethard men approached us then, in their life-boat strong and new,
To rescue us poor seamen who on the rocks were strewn.
Fourteen all told those hearts so bold, their courage was renowned;
But their boat was smashed upon the rocks and nine of them were drowned.

Thanks to our great Redeemer, the other five were saved,
And by their gallant efforts we were to the rocks conveyed.
We reached the Little Keeraghs by a halyard, as you know,
And bid adieu for ever to the ill-fated Mexico.

Our case was still appalling, as mountains rolled the seas;
Bereft of earthly succour for three long nights and days;
From the twentieth to the twenty-third, in sadness and in gloom,
We huddled on the island as in a living tomb.

The Wexford life-boat hove in sight and also the Dunmore,
But the Kilmore life-boat and her crew were driven back to shore.
Long life to Coxwain Wickham and his heroic life-boat crew;
He saved ten men from the jaws of death and the Dunmore life-boat two.

There was deed of special daring, of courage brave and bold,
Performed by two of the Wexford crew; their names I will unfold:
Bill Duggan and Jim Wickham, in a small boat they did go,
And rescued the crew while the wild waves flew around the Mexico.

Here's a health to Captain Busher and his crew o gallant men
To render their assistance with the Wexford Tug they came
Here's a health to every life-boat crew around green Erin's shore
May God them steer from all rocks clear, ow and for evermore.

Source: "Songs of the Wexford Coast" by J. Ranson.
Publ. 1948, 1975.

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