Oxford DNB errors

Published in Issue 4 (Jul/Aug 2005), Letters, Letters, Volume 13

Sir,

—Kevin Whelan’s list of errors in the Irish material in the new Oxford DNB (HI 13.3, May/June 2005) misses two in the entry on Edmund Dwyer Gray (1845–88), MP and proprietor of Dublin’s Freeman’s Journal.
Both errors—which had originally appeared in the old Dictionary of National Biography—relate to the loss of a schooner, the Blue Vein, during a storm in Killiney Bay in September 1868. The young Edmund Dwyer Gray swam out with a rope to the doomed craft, saving five lives. He was awarded the Tayleur Fund gold medal and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s silver medal for his bravery. In both editions of the DNB the wrong year is given for this exploit—1866 instead of 1868—and it is stated incorrectly that the Tayleur medal was ‘the highest honour of the Royal Humane Society’. In fact, the highest honour of the Royal Humane Society is the Stanhope medal, which was not instituted until 1873. Tayleur medals were awarded for gallantry in the Irish Sea by the committee that administered a fund set up to assist survivors of a vessel of the White Star Line, called the Tayleur, lost in 1854 at Lambay Island, off the north County Dublin coast. It was an emigrant ship bound for Australia from Liverpool.

—Yours etc.,
FELIX M. LARKIN
Dublin 18

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