One of the few survivors of the men who used to man the big sweeps when Scarborough had an oar-propelled lifeboat is Harry 'Whisper' Cammish, aged eighty-one, Longwestgate. He got his nickname because he had a voice truly 'like a foghorn' in his younger days when he served aboard steam trawlers, becoming skipper of one of them, the Condor.
He was born into a fishing family at Scarborough and went to sea in yawls in his summer holidays. He left school and sailed in trawlers from Grimsby eventually returning to his home port where he married Florrie Hargroves, a member of another fishing family. He recalls,
"She asked how much I had and I said £9 - but she was not getting any! She said, 'indeed?' and I replied 'In debt!' and that was the last time she asked me about money."
A big man, five foot ten inches tall with a forty eight inch chest and weighing eighteen stone, he could pull so strongly in the lifeboat that he broke more than one heavy oar. He was something of a practical joker, too, and once when he saw a fishing boat advertising for a fireman he provided one.
"I went to the waxworks near the seafront and carried one of the exhibits, dressed in fireman's gear, down to the harbour and put it aboard the trawler. Of course, they wanted a ship's fireman."
Once he won over £5,000 with a horse lottery ticket. It was a big win in those days, but he recalls,
"I just squandered it away."
He retired from the sea a quarter of a century ago and now lives with one of his married daughters, but he still goes down to the harbour every day."