Royal Life Saving history found in family belongings

13 November 2019
Perth grandfather Trevor McCahon recently contacted Royal Life Saving WA to offer us a little piece of our own history. When Trevor was given some of his older sister’s belongings after her passing, he was amazed to discover two Royal Life Saving Society certificates that had been awarded to his father nearly 100 years ago.

historical royal life saving certificateTrevor, 79, didn’t know the certificates existed until he found them amongst the family memorabilia that his sister had kept safe for so many years. Trevor’s father, Edward McCahon, was born in 1907 and was just 13 years old when he was awarded the certificates, which are dated the 17th March 1920.

A keen swimmer in his day, Edward was awarded a Royal Life Saving Society certificate “for knowledge of rescue, releasing one’s self from the clutch of the drowning, also ability to render aid in resuscitating the apparently drowned.” He was also awarded the Elementary Certificate “for passing the elementary tests of the Society in swimming, object diving, life saving and resuscitation of the apparently drowned.”

The certificates are acknowledged by the Royal Life Saving Society’s Patron at the time, “His Most Gracious Majesty the King”, the society’s President of the day “the Right Honourable Lord Desborough”, as well as being signed by both the Chairman and Secretary of the society.

historical royal life saving certificateEdward loved to swim at the Crawley Baths in Perth but did most of his swimming at the Kalgoorlie pool after moving to the goldfields to work at his father’s mine. He later moved to Exmouth (known as Potshot at the time), where he worked on the railways for many years.

Trevor says he didn’t inherit his father's passion for the water and isn’t much of a swimmer himself. However, he does remember spending many enjoyable hours down at the Trigg Surf Life Saving Club with one of his best mates who was a lifesaver there.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to Trevor for sharing his family’s story with us and presenting us with these century-old certificates for safekeeping as part of the society’s history. We had a great time chatting with this lovely family man, who is a doting husband and very proud grandfather to three grandchildren. We wish him all the best when he celebrates his 80th next year!