Appledore’s oldest male inhabitant, Capt Philip Hutchings, died in the Torridge Hospital, Bideford, on Sunday. He was 91.
Capt Hutchings, who was closely associated with the sea almost throughout his life, lived at 13 Hill Cliff Terrace. He first went to sea at the age of 12 with his father in the Amity. For the next 12 years he was in the coasting trade, but then he decided ‘to go deep water to see some of the world’.
His career might have ended soon after for in a gale in the Bay of Biscay he went aloft to reef the tops’l and when the ship lurched was thrown into the sea. Although dressed in oilskins and heavy sea boots he swam for four and a half hours until he was seen from one of the rescue boats that had been launched and was dragged aboard.
Subsequently, he was master of several vessels including the Emma Louise, the Jane and Sarah, and the UIelia.
During World War 1 he served in the Royal Navy and was in action at Heligoland, Dogger Bank and Jutland. After he retired in 1935 he became a salmon fisherman until rheumatism prevented it.
Capt and the late Mrs Hutchings celebrated their golden wedding in 1949.