Royal National Lifeboat Institution
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the largest charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as on some inland waterways. There are numerous other lifeboat services operating in the same area. Founded in 1824 as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, the RNLI was granted a Royal Charter in 1860, it is a charity in the Republic of Ireland. Queen Elizabeth II is Patron; the RNLI is principally funded by legacies and donations, most of the members of its lifeboat crews are unpaid volunteers. The RNLI operates 444 lifeboats. Crews rescued on average 22 people a day in 2015. RNLI Lifeguards operate on more than 200 beaches, they are paid by local authorities, while the RNLI provides training. The Institution operates Flood Rescue Teams nationally and internationally, the latter prepared to travel to emergencies overseas at short notice. Considerable effort is put into training and education by the Institution for young people.
The Institution has saved some 140,000 lives since its foundation, at a cost of more than 600 lives lost in service. Sir William Hillary moved to the Isle of Man in 1808. Being aware of the treacherous nature of the Irish Sea, with many ships being wrecked around the Manx coast, he drew up plans for a national lifeboat service manned by trained crews, he received little response from the Admiralty. However, on appealing to the more philanthropic members of London society, the plans were adopted and, with the help of Member of Parliament Thomas Wilson and former MP and merchant George Hibbert, the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck was founded in 1824. At the age of 60, Sir William took part in the 1830 rescue of the packet St George, which had foundered on Conister Rock at the entrance to Douglas Harbour, he commanded the lifeboat and was washed overboard with others of the lifeboat crew, yet everyone aboard the St George was rescued with no loss of life. It was this incident which prompted Sir William to set up a scheme to build The Tower of Refuge on Conister Rock – a project completed in 1832 which stands to this day at the entrance to Douglas Harbour.
In 1854 the institution's name changed to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the first of the new lifeboats to be built was stationed at Douglas in recognition of the work of Sir William. In its first year the RNLI raised £10,000, however by 1849, income had dropped to £354. Finding itself in financial difficulties, the RNLI accepted a government subsidy of £2,000, which rose in subsequent years; this lasted until 1869, when the RNLI ceased accepting subsidies – it had found that voluntary donations had fallen by more than the subsidies. It was the loss of 27 lifeboat crew of Southport and St Annes in 1886 that gave new impetus to fundraising and an 1889 appeal raised £10,000; the first Lifeboat Saturday was held in that year. During World War I, lifeboat crews launched 1,808 times. With many younger men on active service, the average age of a lifeboatman was over 50. Many launches were to ships, torpedoed or struck mines, including naval or merchant vessels on war duty. World War II placed considerable extra demands on the RNLI in south and east England where the threat of invasion and enemy activity was ever-present, rescuing downed aircrew a frequent occurrence, the constant danger of mines.
During the war 6,376 lives were saved. Nineteen RNLI lifeboats sailed to Dunkirk between 27 May and 4 June 1940 to assist with the Dunkirk evacuation. Lifeboats from Ramsgate and Margate went directly to France with their own crews; the crew of Ramsgate's Prudential collected 2,800 troops. Margate's Coxswain, Edward Parker, was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for his work taking the RNLB Lord Southborough to the beaches. Of the other lifeboats and crews summoned to Dover by the Admiralty, the first arrivals questioned – reasonably in their view – the details of the service, in particular the impracticality of running heavy lifeboats on to the beach, loading them with soldiers floating them off; the dispute resulted in the first three crews being sent home. Subsequent lifeboats arriving were commandeered without discussion, much to the disappointment of many lifeboatmen. A RNLI investigation resulted in the dismissal of two Hythe crew members, who were vindicated in one aspect of their criticism, as Hythe's Viscountess Wakefield was run on to the beach and unable to be refloated.
Some RNLI crew members stayed in Dover for the emergency to provide repair and refuelling facilities, after the end of the evacuation most lifeboats returned to their stations with varying levels of damage and continued their lifesaving services. The RNLI's lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved more than 140,000 lives since 1824; the RNLI makes a distinction between people aided and lives saved. There were 8,462 lifeboat launches in 2014, rescuing 8,727 people, including saving 460 lives. Lifeguards rescued 19,353 people. Flood rescuers deployed seven times. In 2015 crews rescued on average 22 people a day; the bi
Wells-next-the-Sea Lifeboat Station
Wells-next-the-Sea Lifeboat Station is an RNLI operated lifeboat station located in the town of Wells-next-the-Sea in the English county of Norfolk. The station operates offshore lifeboats; the inshore boat is called Jane Ann III and is a D-class lifeboat, whilst the offshore boat is called Doris M, Mann of Ampthill, is a Mersey class lifeboat. The station boathouse is located at the beach on the western side of Wells Harbour mouth; the earliest attempts at rescue at sea in the Wells area were performed by the Beachmen or Longshoremen who formed their own Beachmen’s company at Wells, used a fast sailing yawl to rescue and salvage distressed vessels along this part of the coast. However this was done to the benefit of both parties. On reaching a distressed vessel, the beachmen could claim right of salvage and with this in mind there would be a negotiation were terms of employment were settled with the beachmen driving home a hard bargain; the beachmen’s work was arduous and fraught with danger, on many occasions they earned nothing at all.
The first organised rescue service at Wells was run by the Norfolk Shipwreck Association and began in 1830 when an existing lifeboat, at Cromer was sent to Wells. The boat was of the Greathead or North Country non self-righter type, it was powered with ten oars. By the 1860s the lifeboat operation run by the Norfolk Shipwreck Association had fallen into a rapid decline with no lifeboat stationed at Wells, whilst at this same time there was a marked increase in the number of maritime incidents of the shores of North Norfolk. In 1868 the newly formed RNLI was approached by the local townsfolk to see if they would re-organise the lifeboat service in the town; the RNLI sent an inspector to the town and he reported back to the institutes Committee of Management recommending the setting up of an organised lifeboat service in the town. The RNLI put plans into action. A new self-righting lifeboat of the latest design was ordered for the town. To accommodate the new lifeboat the construction of a substantial new boathouse was begun.
The new station was on the quay close to the town. The building was opened in 1869, along with the new lifeboat; the lifeboat was called RNLB Eliza Adams. This lifeboat house was used until 1895 when the service was re-located at the far end of Beach Road; the Grade II listed building still stands and is used jointly as the harbour Masters Office and a Maritime Museum. In the latter part of the 1800s it was becoming clear to the local lifeboatmen that their station was not in the most useful location and was more than a mile from the open sea; the problem was highlighted in 1893 when the lifeboat RNLB Baltic was launched to service on three occasions and failed to effect any rescues. The collier Duke of Cornwall was wrecked east of Wells without loss of life. In the same day the barge Lord Beresford was driven ashore at Holkham beach with her crew rescued from the rigging without any help from the lifeboat; the third failure occurred two days when the schooner Hickman went ashore at Wells Bar. Most of the crew were rescued but two of the crew died of exposure after taking to the rigging.
The struggling lifeboat was beached and two of her crew were washed overboard but were rescued. The problem was that at low water the lifeboat could not get out into the open sea and relied on the rise and fall of the tide too much. With a favourable tide if the wind was against the lifeboat it was trapped in the Harbour. To remedy the location problem the RNLI acquired some land 1.2 miles north of the existing station on the western point overlooking the harbour mouth. Work began on the new station in 1894 but due to delays the station was not ready until October 1895; the previous problems had highlighted the Baltic’s shortfalls and the station was supplied with a more efficient lifeboat. The new lifeboat was of a type which the Wells crew had a preference for, a Cromer Self-righting type built by Beeching Bros of Great Yarmouth; the new lifeboat arrived on station in July 1895 and she was called RNLB Baltic and was a pulling lifeboat with 14 oars. Whilst on the station she was launched to service a total of 13 times and she is credited with saving 19 lives.
Although the RNLI had been considering the idea of providing Wells with a motor lifeboat since 1911, it was not until July 1936 that the station was provided with one. This was because of the launching situation at Wells and the need for carriage launched motor lifeboat to be designed; the Surf-class lifeboat was designed by James Barnett and was light enough for the beach launch required at Wells. RNLB Royal Silver Jubilee was the first Surf-class to be propelled by Hotchkiss Cone propulsion system, a basic water jet system; this system of propulsion was ideal for conditions at Wells, where the water is shallow at times and combined with her comparative lightness and shallow draught made her ideal for when the tide is out, the lifeboat required to be taken out several miles to be launched. By the mid 1960s this area of the North Norfolk coast had seen an increase of pleasure craft and beach leisure activities; the RNLI saw a change in the pattern of casualties with an increasing number of services required to rescue bathers washed out to sea, people on lilos and various small water craft.
It was realised locally that a faster first response was needed to attend such situations and to relieve the Wells all-weather lifeboat RNLB Cecil Paine from the inshore workload. In 1963 the inshore service was established and a small boathouse was erected adjacent to the west of the main boat h
SS Mount Ida
The SS Mount Ida was a cargo ship built in 1938 by William Hamilton & Co. Ltd of Glasgow. Launched in 1938 as Arcscott, she was renamed Mount Ida after being bought by the Atlanticos Steam Ship Company Ltd, of Athens, Greece, she was wrecked in 1939 after being in service for only about 18 months. Mount Ida had eight corrugated furnaces with a combined grate area of 143 square feet that heated two 220 lbf/in2 single-ended boilers with a combined heating surface of 5,742 square feet, she had an auxiliary boiler. The boilers fed a three-cylinder triple expansion steam engine rated at 380 NHP, built by David Rowan & Co Ltd, Glasgow. Mount Ida's service speed was about 10.5 knots. In the autumn of 1939 Mount Ida, carrying a cargo of grain and timber, with a crew of 29, left Vancouver, British Columbia, bound for the port of Leith, Scotland. On 9 October she was in the North Sea and close to the north-east coast of Norfolk; this is a hazardous area, with many sand banks. Despite being equipped with direction finding equipment and an echo sounding device Mount Ida ran aground on a sandbank.
At 0625 hrs the coastguard told the coxswain of the Cromer lifeboat, Henry Blogg, that the Mount Ida was aground and asked that the lifeboat be sent to assist her. Since the outbreak of the Second World War a month earlier, RNLI lifeboats had been under the control of the naval authorities, this was only the second rescue effort by the Cromer lifeboat under this arrangement; the Cromer lifeboat H. F. Bailey was launched and set off towards Haisborough Sands, where Coxswain Blogg had been told the Mount Ida was aground; the lifeboat had been at sea for an hour when the coastguard informed Blogg by radio that Mount Ida was not on Haisborough Sands but was grounded 19 miles further north-east, on Ower Bank. The H. F. Bailey reached the Mount Ida around 1230 hrs. By this time the ship's starboard lifeboat had been carried away, she was listing to starboard and lying head on to the seas, her position offered no lee for the lifeboat to come alongside; the H. F. Bailey made an attempt to throw a line to the stricken vessel but was twice struck by the heavy seas and flung back.
Coxswain Blogg made another attempt to come alongside, before deciding that it was too dangerous and that he would have to wait for the sea to slacken. By 1415 hrs conditions had improved and Blogg, using the lifeboat's powerful engines with great skill, was able to maintain a steady position alongside the ship for over an hour. During this time all 29 crewmen were brought off though one suffered crushed legs when he hesitated to descend the rope ladder and was trapped between the lifeboat and the Mount Ida. During the rescue, the lifeboat was continually flung against the hull of the Mount Ida; because the H F Bailey was badly damaged, Cromer’s no 2 lifeboat, Harriot Dixon, was called out to bring the rescued men ashore. The Harriot Dixon, was damaged as it was launched into heavy seas, but the rescue effort was successful; the Mount Ida was never salvaged and sank into the sands of Ower Bank. Her position was 53°10′44″N 1°55′46″E. Jolly, Cyril; the Loss of the English Trader. Cambridge: Acorn Editions.
ISBN 0-906554-06-3. Jolly, Cyril. Henry Blogg, the Greatest of the Lifeboatmen. Cromer: Poppyland Publishing. ISBN 0-946148-59-7. Leach, Nicholas. Cromer Lifeboats 1804–2004. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-3197-8. Tikus, Ayer; the Ship-wrecks off North East Norfolk. Ayer Tikus Publications; the Cromer Lifeboat Cromer Lifeboat Station The Old Cromer Lifeboat Shed H F Bailey Lifeboat Lifeboat Museum Gallery
RNLB Forester’s Centenary (ON 786)
RNLB Foresters Centenary is a retired Liverpool-class lifeboat of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. That was stationed in the English coastal town of Sheringham in the county of Norfolk in the United Kingdom; the lifeboat was on station for 25 years between 1961 when she was sold. She is exhibited in Sheringham Museum. Foresters Centenary was the first motor lifeboat to be stationed at Sheringham, she was built with the money provided as a gift of The Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society. She cost £3568 10s 5d and was laid down in the boat yard of Groves & Guttridge, East Cowes, Isle of Wight and was given the yard designation of No:G&G210, she was a single screw Liverpool type and although she was not a self-righting construction she was a stable design and was popular with lifeboat crews of this time. She had a beam of 10 ft 3in. Foresters Centenary was fitted with a single 35 horsepower Weyburn AE6 six cylinder petrol engine, housed in its own watertight compartment; the design enabled the engine to continue to run if the engine room became flooded.
During the lifeboat's sea trials the engine was found to give the lifeboat a top speed of 7.3 Knots and fuel consumption gave the boat a radius of fifty nautical miles with a fuel consumption of 3.5 gallons used each hour of operation. Her comfortable cruising speed was found to be 6.5 knots, which at this speed and fuel consumption extended her range to sixty nautical miles. The lifeboat's hull was constructed to form six water-tight divisions; these compartments are fitted with 115 mahogany air cases, all individually made to fit into their allocated positions in the hull. Her equipment included the latest innovations of the time: a line-throwing gun and an electrically-powered searchlight; the boat was designed to be operated by a crew of seven and could carry up to thirty people in foul weather, although there was little protection for the crew or passengers. Foresters Centenary arrived on station in Sheringham on 27 June 1936, she had been sailed around the south east coast from Cowes by the Sheringham crew of Coxswain James Dumble, second Coxswain J. Hardingham, "Old" Bennett Middleton and mechanic Kitchener Pegg.
To house this new lifeboat and the carriage required to launch her, the RNLI had to invest in a new boathouse for Sheringham. This new station was built at the cost of £7,616 and stood at a right angle to the sea due to the tightness of the new site, it had a specially-constructed slipway over the shingle beach. The new boathouse had not been completed by the time Foresters Centenary arrived in the town, for a time she was kept at Old Hythe House; the Foresters Centenary was christened on 18 July 1936 by Sir Roger Keyes, admiral of the fleet until 1931. The ceremony was attended by a large crowd of people including 2000 members of the Order of Foresters. Foresters Centenary was on station at Sheringham for twenty five years from 1936 until she was sold to R. C. Baker of Wells-next-the-Sea on 18 September 1961. During that time she was launched a total of 129 times and she is accredited with saving the lives of 82 people; the lifeboat was first called into action on 7 August 1936 when she was launched and stood by two local fishing boats called Liberty II and Edna.
Her first accredited lifesaving launch took place on 19 August when an exhausted local fisherman was towed to safety after he had struggled to control his boat in rough seas. The lifeboat was called out a total of six times before the outbreak of the Second World War. Given the location of the Sheringham station on the North Norfolk coast the lifeboat and her crew found themselves in considerable demand during the Second World War; the station lay on the flight path of several RAF stations in that part of the country. Many of the lifeboat's launches during the period were to search for crashed aircraft and their pilots and crews. During the War the lifeboat was launched fifty six times, of which thirty four involved aircraft and their crews, of which sixteen have been accredited as life saves; because of this service, Foresters Centenary became known as the "Airmen's lifeboat". One of the lifeboat's wartime activities was used in a short film produced by the Crown Film Unit for the British Ministry of Information in 1940.
The incident occurred on 29 January 1940 when Foresters Centenary was launched at 9:15 am into rough seas in an easterly gale. She was sent to assist the East Dudgeon Lightship, bombed by German planes; when the lifeboat arrived alongside the lightship the crew found no one aboard. The crew found the ship's light had been destroyed, as had the wheelhouse windows, shot out. One of the lightship's lifeboats was missing and following a long search for the lifeboat the Sheringham crew assumed that the lifeboat and its possible survivors had been picked up by a passing vessel; the lifeboat returned to Sheringham to find. The lifeboat was launched the following day to search westward for signs of the missing boat; the Sheringham boat was recalled by the coastguard who now had conformation that the lifeboat had been swept across to the Lincolnshire coast where it had been driven ashore, drowning all but one of the crew. On 19 February 1940 the coaster Boston Trader of Great Yarmouth was attacked and set on fire by German aircraft.
Following a difficult launch of the lifeboat she managed to rescue seven men from the coaster. The Boston Trader drifted ashore along the coast at Cley next the Sea; the rough seas had extinguished the fire aboard and she was salvaged. The lifeboat was launched on 21 October to assist a ditched British bomber close to Blakeney Point; the lifeboat came upon a rubber dinghy
Wells-next-the-Sea is a port on the North Norfolk coast of England. The civil parish has an area of 16.31 km2 and in 2001 had a population of 2,451, reducing to 2,165 at the 2011 Census. Wells is 15 miles to the east of the resort of Hunstanton, 20 miles to the west of Cromer, 10 miles north of Fakenham; the city of Norwich lies 32 miles to the south-east. Nearby villages include Blakeney, Burnham Market, Burnham Thorpe and Walsingham; the name is Guella in the Domesday Book. This derives from spring wells of which Wells used to have many, rising through the chalk of the area; the town started to be known as Wells-next-the-Sea in the early 19th century to distinguish it from other places of the same name. When the Wells and Fakenham Railway was opened on 1 December 1857, the terminus was given the name of "Wells-on-Sea". In 1956 the Wells Urban District Council voted to adopt the name Wells-next-the-Sea, this has been the official name since then; the North Sea is now a mile from the town, as a result of the silting of the harbour.
The Holkham Estate reclaimed some 800 hectares of saltmarsh north-west of Wells, completed by the construction of a mile-long sea-wall in 1859. This reclamation is itself a further cause of silting; the town has long thrived as a seaport and is now a seaside resort with a popular beach that can be reached on foot or by a narrow gauge railway that runs partway alongside the mile-long sea wall north of the harbour. The beach is known for its long flat terrain, abstract sand dunes, varied unique beach huts and a naturist area situated to the west at Holkham. A land-locked brackish pool called Abraham's Bosom is used for pleasure canoeing; the beach is backed by dense pine woods. The woods comprise Maritime pine and Corsican Pine growing on sand. More pinewoods exist to the east of the beach over the shipping channel at an area called the East Hills; this can be accessed on foot at low tide though all of the tidal sands in the area are dangerous due to the speed and currents of the rising tide. It is not advisable to cross the channel without detailed local knowledge.
The town stretches nearly a mile inland. The majority of shops and other such businesses are now found on Staithe Street but up to the 1960s commercial premises were to be found along High Street which continues south towards St Nicholas's Church; the church burned after a lightning strike in 1879: the exterior shows the original stonework, but the interior is sparse and lacks interest. John Fryer, Captain Bligh's sailing master on HMS Bounty was born at Wells, is buried in the churchyard; the distinctive landmark of the seafront is the granary with its overhanging gantry on the quay, started in 1902 and finished in 1904. This has now been converted into flats, having ceased operating as a granary in 1990; the maritime tradition of the town meant it used to have a remarkable number of public houses for a town of its size although many of these have since closed. The northern end of the town used to be notable for parallel "yards", narrow rows of cottages similar to the northern "ginnels", which could be relics of Danish occupation.
These were lost in the terrible 1953 flood damage, subsequent "slum clearance". The 1953 flood affected the northern edge of the town as well as destroying the pine forest which had fringed Abraham's Bosom. Today there is a large moving flood gate next to the harbour car park and many of the houses have their own flood defences. A feature of the town is the area known as The Buttlands, a large green ringed by lime trees. Large elegant Georgian houses overlook The Buttlands, as do the Crown Hotel, Globe Inn and the Wells Catholic Church. If you exit The Buttlands down the hill at its south-west corner you can see Ware Hall, rebuilt over a period of years from the 1970s by Miss May Savidge, who brought it in parts when she moved from Ware in Hertfordshire, it was a significant port in the sixteenth century with 19 ships over 16 tons burden operating out of Wells in 1580, making it the major port in the area: the main trade was corn. The town was served by Wells-on-Sea railway station and was connected to the British Rail network by two lines.
The line westwards towards King's Lynn was never reinstated after damage in the 1953 East Coast Floods, while the line to Norwich via Fakenham and Wymondham was a victim of the "Beeching Axe" of the 1960s. The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, a 10¼ inch-gauge railway, now uses part of the track-bed and has its own separate Wells railway station; the Wells Harbour Railway is a separate 10¼ inch-gauge railway that takes passengers from the harbour behind the sea wall towards the beach and caravan site. Near the centre of the town is the former Wells County Primary School; the junior school was relocated to the former Secondary Modern school when a new secondary school, Alderman Peel High School, was built in the late 1960s, part of, upon the former railway line to the west towards King's Lynn. For several years, these buildings housed a field studies centre. More though, the former school has been converted to social housing units. Wells-next-the-Sea is located on the high-profile Coasthopper bus service between King's Lynn and Cromer, operated by Stagecoach in Norfolk.
Additional services are provided by Sanders Coaches. In April 2018, Stagecoach will be ceasing operations in Norfolk; the Coasthopper service will be split into two sections at Wells-next-the-Sea: the section from King's Lynn to Wells will be rebranded as the Coastlin