Captain William Hutchison (1793-1881), from County Kildare was the first harbour master of Kingstown. He also acted as coxswain of the Dublin port lifeboat based at Sandycove.
Broccas view of the wrecked Sandycove lifeboat

Broccas view of the wrecked Sandycove lifeboat

  • Born 1793 died 1881
  • Ex Lieutenant in RN
  • Inspector of Bulloch Quarries
  • Pilot Master Port of Dublin
  • First Harbourmaster Kingstown 1817-1874
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Described as captain in 1873
Hutchison survived the wreck of the Sandycove lifeboat at Sandycove on 28 December 1821. Four of the crew were drowned when it was upset. They were going to the assistance of the Ellen of Liverpool which eventually drove ashore and her crew saved. On 14 August 1829 the brig Iron Duke was driven ashore in an easterly gale at Sandycove. The Sandycove lifeboat with Hutchison three coastguards and nine others saved all eleven men, women and children from the wreck. The Iron Duke was smashed to pieces immediately after they had completed the rescue.  
Artist’s impression of the Ellen in distress at Sandycove

Artist’s impression of the Ellen in distress at Sandycove

His son (probably Lt W Hutchison junior) won an RNLI silver medal and a Tayleur medal for his part in the rescue work on 9 February 1861 when two coal boats were wrecked at Kingstown pier. This was the rescue during which Captain Boyd and five of his crew were lost. An obelisk commemorates them on the East pier at Dun Laoghaire near the spot where they were lost. Some accounts describe this man as the harbourmaster and some attribute both gold and silver medals to one man but RNLI sources make a distinction.
Plaque in memory

Plaque in memory of Capt Hutchison in Mariners' Church (Maritime Museum)

It is unclear what became of the Captain’s medals. In the 1970s some work commenced on placing a secure glass fronted display safe to display gold RNLI medal in the Dún Laoghaire Maritime Museum. The work remained incomplete. The RNLI gold medal has not been displayed since and it remains in secure storage. It was the third of fourteen gold medals awarded in Ireland by the RNLI.  


  • H.A Gilligan Dublin Historical Record, 33, 2, March 1980 (Talk given to Old Dublin Society 31-1-1979)
  • John De Courcey Ireland, History of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, De Burca Books 2001.
  • Barry Cox, Lifeboat gallantry. Spink 1998