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Her Majesty's Coastguard (HMCG) is a section of the United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency responsible for the initiation and co-ordination of all civilian maritime search and rescue (SAR) within the UK Maritime Search and Rescue Region. This includes the mobilisation, organisation and tasking of adequate resources to respond to persons either in distress at sea, or to persons at risk of injury or death on the cliffs or shoreline of the United Kingdom. The chief executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is Sir Alan Massey. Operational control of the service is the responsibility of the Chief Coastguard. Her Majesty's Coastguard is not a military force, and coastal defence is the responsibility of the Royal Navy. However, the organisation is a uniformed service.

In 1809 the Preventative Water Guard was established, which may be regarded as the immediate ancestor of HM Coastguard. Its primary objective was to prevent smuggling, but it was also responsible for giving assistance to shipwrecks. For this reason, each Water Guard station was issued with Manby's Mortar (the mortar fired a shot with a line attached from the shore to the wrecked ship and was used for many years). In 1821 a committee of enquiry recommended that responsibility for the Preventative Water Guard should be transferred from HM Treasury to the Board of Customs. The Board of Custom and the Board of Excise each had their own long-established preventative forces: shore-based Riding Officers and sea-going Revenue Cruisers. The committee recommended the consolidation of these various related services. The Treasury agreed, and in a Minute dated 15 January 1822 directed that they be placed under the authority of the Board of Customs and named the Coast Guard.

The new Coast Guard inherited a number of shore stations and watch houses from its predecessor bodies as well as several coastal vessels, and these provided bases for its operations over the following years. In 1829 the first Coast Guard instructions were published, dealing mainly with discipline and the prevention of smuggling; they also stipulated that when a wreck took place the Coast Guard was responsible for taking all possible action to save lives, taking charge of the vessel and protecting property. In 1831, the Coast Guard took over duties from the Coast Blockade for the Suppression of Smuggling (which had been run by the Admiralty from a string of Martello Towers on the Kent and Sussex coast); this finally gave it authority over the whole of the UK coastline.

In the 1850s, with smuggling on the wane, oversight of the Coast Guard was transferred from the Board of Customs to the Admiralty. In the decades that followed, the Coast Guard (or Coastguard, as it came to be called) began to function more like an auxiliary Naval service, a recruitment ground for future naval personnel (see below). Responsibilities for revenue protection were retained, but hands-on rescue services began to be undertaken more and more by Volunteer Life Brigades and by the lifeboats of the RNLI, with the Coast Guard acting in a support role.

Douglas(s), George KEN 1798 Faversham 1841 Broomhill SSX
1851 Pevensey SSX
1861 On pension in Bexhill SSX (RG9/0563/53)
1871 deceased
1841 - Wife: C(K)atherine, 1796 Saffron Waldron ESS.
1871 - Catherine Douglas, widow in Bexhill SSX (RG10/1034/20)
1881 - Catherine Douglas, widow in Bexhill SSX (RG11/1031/25)
Douglas, James A. SCT 1837 Arbroath 1871 Langstone HAM
1881 Not found
Wife: Mary I, 1850, Portland, DOR. Child: Alexandra, 1870, Langstone.
Douglas, John BRK 1801 Bunham 1851 Mundesley NFK
1854 Mundesley NFK [Whites Directory]
1856 Mundesley NFK [Cravens Directory]
1881 On pension at Weston Super Mare, SOM [RG11/2421/65]
Unmarried in 1851, widowed by 1881. Children: Catherine, 1857, Bacton, NFK; Mary CB, 1864, Bridport, DOR; Charles H, 1872, Weston Super Mare, SOM. Sister Catherine Douglas, 1799, Bunham.
This man appears in the Return to the House of Commons, 1857
Douglas, Robert SCT 1856 1891 Titchfield (Hill Head) HAM Wife: Ellen, 1856, Titchfield. Child: Gertrude, 1881, Southampton, HAM.
Douglas, William Bloomfield ENG 1823 1851 Fraserburgh ABD Wife: Ellen, 1830, ENG. Child: Harriet Willas, 1850, Fraserburgh, ABD.
Douglas(s), Edward R. DEV 1829 Stonehouse (Plymouth) 1861 Bishopstone SSX Douglas(s) was widowed by 1861. Child: James E, 1858, Hardway (Gosport), HAM. Sister: Mary M Douglass, 1838, Sheerness, KEN.
2 August 1853
Lieutenant William Grant Douglas (1846), from the Coast Guard service to the Odin, 16, paddle-wheel steam frigate at Portsmouth. Served at Crimea.
29 December 1853
Lieutenant Stephen Francis Douglas (1845), from the Coast Guard, to the Euryalus, 50, screw steam-frigate at Chatham.

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