They shot a life line to the vessel, probably using a Lyle gun, and one by one pulled the crew from the wreck. They rode the sailors to safety along the lifeline in a leg harness. (Winslow Homer shows how it’s done in his painting The Life Line.)
According to the 1892 Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service, the surfmen fed the British sailors and cared for them for four days before sending them home.
“No letter of acknowledgment,” the Life-Saving Service reported.
This story updated in 2022.