U.S. Coast Guard Awards
Frank B. Raynor
Awarded 15 January 1905
The Gold Lifesaving Medal was conferred upon Surfmen Frank B. Raynor and Albert Latham of the Blue Point (NY) Life-Saving Station for their heroic conduct in the wreck of the schooner Benjamin C. Cromwell, on 22 February 1904.
The Cromwell stranded during foggy weather. When sighted by the lifesavers, the seas were breaking completely over her. This compelled the crew to take to the rigging. The life-saving crews of the three stations in the near vicinity soon appeared upon the scene. Several attempts were made to get a line to the stranded vessel, but she was surrounded with so much wreckage that it was impossible to haul the hawser on board. Failing this, the crews attempted to launch a surfboat, but the sea was so high that every attempt to launch was thrown back upon the beach.
Meanwhile, the masts of the vessel went over the side and the hull quickly began to break up. The lifesavers scattered along the beach ready to assist any of the shipwrecked crew who should come through the surf. They soon observed a man drifting upon the top of the cabin. Raynor and Latham immediately rushed into the surf and after extraordinary efforts battling floating timbers, spars, and lumber, they reached the shipwrecked man and bore him, unconscious, to the beach.
The vessel had now completely broken up and the rest of the crew were observed clinging to a piece of wreckage. Unsuccessful efforts were again made with both the Lyle gun and the surfboat to reach the imperiled men. Soon all save two were washed off and lost. Raynor and Latham again rushed into the surf and pushed out. Often borne beneath the waves, they advanced undaunted until a tremendous breaker dashed the shipwrecked men from the wreckage. One of them disappeared beneath the floating timbers and drowned, while both rescuers grasped the other. In an unconscious condition, he was hurried to the beach.
In transmitting these medals the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury closed with this statement:
I regard your gallant conduct on this occasion as of the highest order, and deem you well worthy the bestowal of the accompanying medals designed to bear testimony of the most heroic deeds in saving life from the perils of the sea.