40 Alfred Street, Stromness, 23 January 1908
Home to Robert Greig - Coxwain of the Life Boat Good Shepard
Robert Greig was a fisherman by trade and lived at what is now known as 40 Alfred Street in the late 1800's. He was appointed
to the position of Coxswain on the lifeboat The Good Shepard, which in 1891 replaced Orkney's first Lifeboat - the Saltire.
Robert Grieg was a fisherman by trade and was appointed to the position of Coxswain of the lifeboat
“The Good Shepard” on the 22nd April 1907, Coxswain Greig displayed
tremendous courage and skillful seamanship in appalling winter conditions, to rescue the surviving crew of
the wrecked fishing boat “The Shakespeare”. Coxswain Greig managed to manoeuver the ‘The Good
Shepard’ into the lee of the wreck until he was only twelve yards away and was able to throw the
grapnel on board, which took hold in the fore rigging. The two men were soon conveyed on board the
lifeboat. Next Coxswain Greig and his crew turned their attention to the man on the funnel which proved
a more difficult task. After several failed attempts, a line was eventually thrown to the man and he was
hauled aboard ‘The Good Shepard’.
For his expertise and bravery in “The Shakespeare” rescue, Coxswain Robert Greig was awarded on
23 January 1908 The Silver Medal of the institute, a decoration reserved for extreme gallantry.
Each member of the crew of the lifeboat “The Good Shepard” also received the sum of 1 pound.
Robert Greig was invited in 1929 to Usher Hall in Edinburgh for the Scottish National Lifeboat Assembly for a
meeting with the Prince of Wales where he was to be presented with a medal. Due to ill health he was not
able to attend, but the Prince however autographed a programme and had it sent to him. Robert always
treasured this memento.
He died in 1938 and he is buried in the Stromness kirkyard. The funeral service
was conducted with full Masonic and Lifeboat Honours
Lifeboat Good Shepherd and crew (SM collection)
The Good Shepard was a 42 ft; self-righting open vessel powered by sail and oar and required a crew of
15 men to operate it.