Station history

A lifeboat was placed at Sizewell by the Suffolk Association in 1826.  The boat was manned from Aldeburgh, and it was moved there in 1851 when the RNLI took control of the Suffolk Association boats.

Many generations of the Cable family have served in the lifeboats.  In 1954 Patrick Cable, aged 16, went out on service.  James Cable was a famous coxswain of the 19th century.  He was coxswain for 30 years, 1888 to 1917 and was awarded the Silver Medal three times.

During the 1939-1945 war the Aldeburgh lifeboats were launched on service 58 times and rescued 107 lives.

1824

Silver Medal awarded to Joseph Foster for the rescue by a coastguard boat of six people from the ship Diligence on 12 October 1824.

1825

Silver Medal awarded to Henry Hutchinson, Chief Officer of coastguard for the rescue of four of the crew of the brig Traveller on 8 November 1825.

1828

Silver Medal awarded to Mr William Smith who dashed into the surf and rescued one of the crew of the brig Reaper on 16 January 1828.

1840

Silver Medal awarded to Mr Simon Fisher, Master of the Smack Alert, for the rescue of the crew of 11 of the brig Peace on 4 March 1840.

1855

On 3 November 1855, during severe weather, 7 vessels were wrecked or driven ashore.  During an attempt to wade out with a line to the Swedish brig Vesta, Thomas Cable was killed.  Despite this severe set back the other rescuers continued with their attempts and eventually saved 7 of the Vesta’s crew of 9.  The RNLI made a contribution to the local funds for Thomas Cable’s widow and five children.

1859

Lifeboat capsized on service on 21 December in very high surf, with the loss of three of her crew of 15, they were T Cable, P F Green and J Pearce.  Committee of Management granted £25 to each of the widows.

1864

Site of lifeboat house was required for building purposes.  New lifeboat house erected at a cost of £226.

1884

Lifeboat house moved owing to the encroachment of the sea.

1886

Voted a binocular glass to W J Osborne who had been Honorary Secretary for 25 years.

1891

Silver Medals awarded to Coxswain J Cable and Second Coxswain W Mann in recognition of the rescue of 17 people from the Norwegian barque Winnifred on 11 November 1891 in a south-south-west gale and very heavy seas.

1892

Gas service provided to lifeboat house.

Norwegian Government awarded medals to the crew for their services to the barque Winnifred when the crew of 17 were rescued on 11 November 1891.

1893

After assisting to haul up the lifeboat after a service on 11 November, Ernest Butcher died from bursting a blood vessel.  Committee of Management voted £100 to his widow.

Silver Medal (Second Service Clasp) awarded to Coxswain James Cable following three service calls on 20 November in violent gales, including the Russian barque Venscapen and the Hull pilot cutter Fox.

1894

Silver Medal awarded to Bowman Charles Edward Ward, on his resignation (due to absence - his fishing took him away from station) in consideration of his gallant services for many years.  Mr Ward served as Assistant Coxswain, and Coxswain (1881-1888) and saved more than 100 lives.

1895

Imperial Government of Russia awarded Silver cup to Coxswain James Cable and a sum of money to the crew in recognition of their services in rescuing the crew of the Venscapen on 20 November 1893.

1899

During a full east south-easterly gale and extremely violent seas the lifeboat went to the assistance of a vessel aground on Shipwash Sands on 7 December 1899.  Due to illness Bowman Ward was acting coxswain and when crossing the Inner Shoal the lifeboat was struck broadside on by two huge waves and capsized trapping six of her crew underneath.  As soon as the lifeboat came ashore efforts were made to get out the trapped men, a hole was chopped in the upturned hull but to no avail.  Bowman Ward was one of the first men washed ashore and repeatedly went back into the heavy sea to help his comrades.  A seventh man died three months later (24 March 1900) from his injuries.  Those lost were John Butcher, Thomas Morris, Herbert Downing, Charles Crisp, Walter Ward, James Miller Ward and Alan Easter.

1900

Silver Second-Service Clasp awarded to Bowman Charles Edward Ward for the rescue of two his comrades on 7 December 1899.

Silver Third-Service Clasp awarded to Coxswain James Cable in recognition of his gallant services to the vessels Hylton and Antares on 15 February and 4 October 1900 respectively.

1903

German Emperor awarded silver watches to the coxswain, second coxswain and bowman and a gift of money to the crew for rescuing the crew of the barque Antares on 4 October 1900.

1905

Number two station opened.

1910

Acetylene beach light supplied.

1928

Centenary Vellum Awarded.

1938

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain George Chatten for the rescue of four people from the barges Grecian and Astrild on 23 November 1938 in a south-east gale and very heavy seas.  It was a fine service very skilfully carried out.

1939

The Abdy Beauclerk carried out the first war service of the war on 10 September to the steamer Magdapur.

1940

The Abdy Beauclerk and Lucy Lavers were among the 19 lifeboats which took part in the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk in 1940.

1955

On 2 November the No 1 lifeboat was being prepared for service after an exercise when a link of the securing chain parted and the lifeboat launched herself.  John Sharman, the 16 year old son of the motor mechanic, succeeded in hanging on to the lifeboat and swung himself aboard and steered her seawards.  For the courage, enterprise and determination he showed, the Committee of Management sent a letter of appreciation and a monetary reward.

1957

Miss Basham presented an Institution flag to the Aldeburgh Church to hang over the memorial to the crew who were lost in the disaster in 1899.

1959

Number two station closed.

1972

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Reuben Wood for rescuing the crew of three from the fishing boat Ocean Pride which capsized on the inner shoal 100 yards from the beach in gale force south-south-westerly winds and a rough sea on 10 April 1972.  Motor Mechanic Nigel Saint was accorded the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum for giving first aid and artificial respiration to one of the fishing boat’s crew.

1974

A 150th Anniversary Vellum awarded to station.

1977

A D class lifeboat sent to station in July.

Bronze Medal awarded to Helmsman John Marjoram in recognition of the courage, seamanship and determination displayed by him when the inshore lifeboat rescued a young boy from the yacht Spreety on 17 August 1977.  Coxswain Reuban Wood was awarded a Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution.

1987

Tractor house and workshop completed.

1993

The new station lifeboat ON1193 Freddie Cooper was placed on service December 1993. The lifeboat was funded by the legacy of Mrs Winifred May Cooper.

1994

New boathouse constructed on the site of the previous house.  It includes separate buildings for housing the station’s new Mersey class lifeboat and launching Tractor. Linked by a single-storey section providing crew facilities.

HRH The Duke of Kent KG attended Aldeburgh on 31 May to name the station’s new Mersey class lifeboat Freddie Cooper.

1996

Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Ian Firman when three people were rescued from the yacht Red House Lugger which was in difficulties 30 miles east of Aldeburgh in rough seas, an estimated 20 foot swell and storm force winds on 29 August 1996.

1997

New D class lifeboat D520 placed on service on 30 June.

2000

Bronze Medal Second Service Clasp awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Ian Firman for the rescue of the crew of four from the yacht Rosebank in appalling weather conditions on 28 May 2000.

2002

An extension to the boathouse was completed in September at a cost of £240,739.

2004

Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, Admiral Sir Jock Slater, awarded to Coxswain Lee Firman and crewman David Cook for their actions in saving two crew and the yacht SVEA on the night of 17 April 2004.  The service was carried out in very poor weather conditions and it took several attempts to get a crewman aboard and establish a tow.

2007

The new station D class lifeboat D673 Christine was placed on service 24 April 2007.

MEDAL RECORD

Fifteen medals have been awarded. Ten Silver and five bronze, the last being voted in 2000.