Station history

On the application of the local residents the Committee decided to open a lifeboat establishment on Arranmore Island.  The site for the boathouse and slipway was kindly granted by the landed proprietor Lieutenant F Charley, and the expense of the boat and equipment was defrayed from a legacy bequeathed to the Institution by Richard Vandeleur of Dublin.

1883

Lifeboat house slipway and protecting wall erected at a cost of £420.

1887

Silver Medal voted to Sargeant Patrick McPhillips for putting off in a boat and rescuing a man drifting onto a ledge of rocks off Arranmore during a strong north-westerly wind on 12 July.

1893

Slipway extended and repaired at a cost of £225.

1901

Lifeboat placed on the beach at Rannagh Point for service during winter.

1903

New lifeboat house constructed on a site at Rannagh Point.  Old lifeboat house sold for £100.

1916

Lifeboat house struck by lightning.

1930

Motor Mechanic, Hugh McGill, the son of the Honorary Secretary, blown over the end of the pier and killed during a gale at the end of December when he had gone to see if the boarding point was secure.  A memorial tablet was erected.

1941

Gold Medal awarded to Coxswain John Boyle, Silver Medal to Motor Mechanic Teague Ward and Bronze Medals to crew members Philip Boyle, Philip Byrne, Neil Byrne, Bryan Gallagher, Patrick O’Donnell, Joseph Rogers for the rescue of 18 people in mountainous seas, a north-north-westerly hurricane force wind accompanied by snow and sleet, from the Dutch steamer Stolwijk that was forced onto rocks at Inishbeg on 7 December 1940.  This was a rescue of great daring, gallantry and endurance carried out in weather of exceptional severity.

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands awarded the Dutch Gold Medal for gallantry in saving life to Coxswain Boyle, Silver Medal to Motor Mechanic Teague Ward, and the Bronze Medal to each of the six other members of the crew.  Each medal was accompanied by a copy of the decree making the award, in which the Queen said the medal had been awarded for ‘exceptionally outstanding courage, unselfishness and devotion to duty’.

The owners of the Stolwijk, the Netherlands Shipping and Trading Co gave £20 to be divided among the crew.

1949

One of the most distinguished of the Irish coxswains, John Boyle of Arranmore, died on 5 September at the age of 57.  He served as an officer of the lifeboat for 23 years, as bowman from 1926 to 1928, and then as coxswain until his death 21 years later.  He was one of the seven coxswains who won the Gold Medal for gallantry during the war of 1939 to 1945 when, on 7 December 1940, he rescued 18 of the crew of the Dutch steamer Stolwijk of Rotterdam, one of a convoy of ships from America which had come through three days of a rising north-westerly gale and was making for the passage between Scotland and Ulster (at that stage of the war the only remaining entrance to British Ports) in a hurricane of wind and snow.

1964

A collective Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum awarded to the coxswain and crew in connection with the service on 18 August to the yacht Espanola of Ramsgate when her crew of five were rescued and the boat saved.

1967

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Philip Byrne in recognition of his courage and determination when in a strong north-westerly gale with a very rough sea the lifeboat conveyed a seriously ill boy from Tory Island to Burtonport on 29 November 1966, thereby saving his life.  The lifeboat also gave help to a curragh that had put off to transfer the boy to the lifeboat.  Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to the other members of the crew and each man was also granted an additional monetary award.

1983

A Centenary Vellum awarded to station.

1991

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution was presented to Second Coxswain/Mechanic J O’Donnell in recognition of his skill and determination, when the lifeboat under his command went to the assistance of the fishing vessel Locative, which was unsure of her position and had suffered engine failure on 9 March 1990.  In a Force 9 Strong Gale and rough seas both the lifeboat and a SAR helicopter attempted unsuccessfully to take off the crew of four from the fishing vessel.  A tow was passed and the Locative was manoeuvred bow first into the wind, enabling the crew to be winched up into the helicopter.  For their part in this service a Letter of Appreciation signed by the Director of the Institution was sent to the helicopter crew.

1994

The boat-store, which houses the boarding boat, was very substandard and provided very little in the way of adequate crew facilities hence proposals for the construction of the boarding boat housing, launching ramp and an access road were subsequently drawn-up and approved.  Work commenced in May 1993 and was successfully completed June 1994.

1995

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution was presented to Coxswain Francis Bonner for the 13 hour service on 19 December 1994 when the lifeboat William Luckin rescued five people and saved the fishing vessel Claudia Marie.  The vessel had lost her rudder 24 miles north east of Arranmore in winds gusting to Force 9, very rough seas and a large six metre swell.

1996

In 1995, a further extension to the slipway was carried out in order to provide improved launching and recovery of the boarding boat.  Due to launching problems a further slipway extension was carried out.

7

Works have recently been completed on the fitting out of the boarding boat facility and the construction of rock armouring adjacent to the slipway.

2000

New road/walkway completed.

2006

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Anthony Kavanagh and a collective Framed Letter of Thanks presented to his crew in recognition of the long and arduous service on 2 July 2005 when the yacht Nephele and her sole occupant were saved.  The service took over 20 hours to complete.  The weather for over half of the period was atrocious – south westerly force 10/11 winds and rough seas in excess of 10 metres in height.

2010

Extend rock armouring completed at £8769.

MEDAL RECORD

Ten medals have been awarded, one gold, three silver and six bronze, the last medal being voted in 1967.

FOREIGN AWARDS

Eight Dutch medals for gallantry in saving life were awarded in 1940 – one gold, one silver and six bronze.