U.S. Coast Guard Awards
E. H. Peel
Awarded 6 December 1911
On 6 December 1911 E. H. Peel, keeper of Creeds Hill (N. C.) Life-Saving Station and B.B. Miller, Surfman No. 1 and acting keeper of the Cape Hatteras (N. C.) Life-Saving Station, each received the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their assistance in rescuing the crew of the German steamer Brewster. The vessel wrecked on Inner Diamond Shoals (NC) on the evening of 28 November 1909. She struck on the southeast point of the shoals 7 miles south-southeast of the Cape Hatteras Life-Saving Station. The vessel, along with its cargo, became a total loss, but the entire crew of 33 persons were saved. Members of the Life-Saving Service took off twenty-eight of the crew. The other five left the steamer in a ship’s boat and were picked up by the crew of a lightship.
A surfman from the Cape Hatteras Station discovered Brewster on the shoals at daybreak of 29 November. Three life-saving crews the Cape Hatteras crew under oars in a lifeboat, the Hatteras Inlet crew in a power lifeboat, and the Creeds Hill crew under oars in a surfboat, put off to her assistance. On the way out the heavy seas seriously damaged the surfboat and her crew was compelled to take to the two other boats. Keeper Peel went aboard the lifeboat. From here he and B. B. Miller, acting keeper of the Cape Hatteras crew, jointly directed the ensuing rescue work.
When the lifesavers arrived at the wreck, the seas were breaking clear over her, at times hiding her from view. As it was impossible to board her, the lifeboat crew ventured in as close as possible under her lee. There, they dropped their anchors, while the powerboat stood by ready to lend any needed assistance. The steamer’s crew tied a line to a buoy and let it drift down to the lifeboat. The seamen were individually hauled into the rescuers’ boat by this line. After a dozen persons had been transferred, they were placed aboard the powerboat. A second boatload of 16 persons, all who remained on the wreck, was likewise taken off. Several of them were also passed to the powerboat.
Before the rescue was completed, however, the gale became so violent that it jeopardized those in the lifeboat. The two boats with their load of 53 persons reached shore, however, without accident. In addition to these Gold Lifesaving Medals, the gallant work of Peel and Miller, along with their respective crews, was rewarded by the German Government.