This grave was badly weathered and much of the writing difficult to read. In 2022 the monumental masons T E Cubbon Limited took the stone back to its bare surface and then duplicated the original writing and motifs onto the headstone. The result is magnificent and one can now see this very important Knox design in all its glory once again.

David Kewley "Dawsey" (died 25th March 1904)

A great Knox design for a great man of Douglas. David Kewley (often known as "Dawsey") was a boatman for the Steam Packet Company from 1877. He was born in 1850 and died on 25th March 1904. A member of the Douglas Rocket Brigade and volunteer in the Lifeboat service, renowned for his involvement in the saving of lives. He is recognised for being directly involved in the saving of 23 lives , and as a member of the Douglas Lifeboat Crew he assisted in saving many more. Some contemporary reports list that he saved as many as 38 lives. He received many awards from the Royal Humane Society for his life-saving exploits. He was undoubtedly a man of dauntless courage but he would never speak about his feats and disliked hearing other people talk about them.

If you look up his entries in Wikipedia there are many newspaper reports of his rescues - 1879, 1882, 1884, 1888 and 1893.

He caught a chill in March 1904 and ended up in Noble's Hospital where he died of pneumonia which may have been contributed to by his numerous immersions in icy-cold water.

His funeral was attended by local dignitaries and members of the Steam Packet Company board as well as a large crowd of mourners that stretched from the cemetery all the way to Quarterbridge.

The Mona's Herald for Wednesday March 30th March 1904 had the headline "A Brave Manxman"

The lettering on the gravestone was originally picked out in Indian Red- apparently Knox's preferred colour.

Following Dawsey's death a meeting was held, presided over by the Mayor of Douglas, at which it was decided that a monument was to be erected in his memory through public subscription.

The monument to the heroism of Dawsey Kewley, Douglas, Isle of Man can be seen in the first sunken garden on the promenade (nearest to the Ferry Terminal)., opposite the Sir William Hillary Lifeboat monument.

The monument was erected by W. Cathcart of Glasgow and is made of Aberdeen granite. It was originally a drinking fountain and water trough with the water issuing from the mouth of a stone lion. In the panel above the lion is a sculpture typifying one of Dawsey's rescues.

Originally situated at the apex of the Pier Buildings on the Victoria Pier the monument was unveiled by the Deputy Governor of the Isle of Man, Deemster Thomas Kneen, on Thursday 8 June 1905. Numerous civic dignitaries were in attendance and during the course of the ceremony two certificates from the Royal Humane Society were awarded to Samuel Webb, in recognition for his rescue of a young boy who'd fallen into the sea off Douglas Promenade, and to G. Cowin for rescuing an elderly lady from Douglas Harbour. At the moment of the unveiling salutes were fired from the Douglas Rocket Station and Douglas Head Lighthouse.

Following the construction of the new Douglas Sea Terminal in the late 1960s the monument was sited for many years at the southern end of Douglas Promenade adjacent to a car park. It was moved to its current site in one of the promenade's sunken gardens following renovation work.

A poem was also written in Dawsey's honour:

'Tis said that 38 were rescued by his hand,

Yet naught did he relate of all these exploits grand.

Oh, many have fame not half as brave as he,

A man who duty made his aim and waited silently."

The headstone and grave after cleaning, reinscribing and renovation


The original colour of the headstone but much weathering has occurred


The colour of the headstone before cleaning in 2022



David Kewley "Dawsey"