Blyth's station history


Eleven Medals have been awarded - eight Silver and three Bronze, the last being voted in 1983.

A second station was established in 1854 and renamed Cambois in 1899 and was closed in 1927.

The Blyth lifeboat station was established in 1826 when the Newcastle Branch Association applied to the Institution for a lifeboat.
The station was taken over by the Institution from the local Association in 1866.


Lifeboat wrecked on service all 34 on board were lost.  The names of the 15 crewmen were T Brown, J Dobie, J Hall, W Hunter, M Jefferson, G Lee, J Morgan, W Oliver, J Partis, J Robinson, H Short, D Stewart, W Todd, T Turnball and J Walker.


Silver Medal awarded to William Armstrong for the rescue by boat of W Cargill, Master of the Brig Perseverance, the mate, five seamen and two passengers when she was wrecked on 10 December 1829.


When going out on 28 October to convey instructions to a brig from Archangel, the lifeboat was driven stern under by a heavy sea, before the water was drained from the lifeboat, another sea struck her and she capsized.  Ten of the crew were drowned.  The Committee of Management voted £20 to local fund.  J Hodgson and Henry Kinch were saved.  Henry Kinch was awarded a Silver Medal in recognition of his perseverance and undaunting exertions whilst he attempted to save his comrades.  The names are R Burn, P Bushell, D Dawson, H Debord, W Dixon, JT Heppell, G Heron, J Hudson, J White and E Wood.


Silver Medal awarded to James Kearney White for the rescue of the crew of the Sloop William and Mary, which stranded at Blyth on 10 January1852 in a north-north-easterly Force 9 Strong Gale.  Mr Kearney White, with a crew of six fishermen, put out in a fishing coble and in heavy seas saved four men who were in the rigging and were so helpless with cold that they had been unable to make us of a line fired to them by Dennett’s rocket.

A Silver Second Service Clasp awarded to James Kearney White, coastguard, for the rescue of the crew of 14 from the barque Victoria of USSR that was wrecked near Blyth Haven during an easterly gale on 28 October 1852.  Mr Kearney White put off in the lifeboat and in difficult conditions saved the crew who were nearly washed off the deck on several occasions.


The Local Association decided to hand over the station to the Institution.


A coastguard boat, in going off to render assistance to two distressed vessels capsized and two of the crew were drowned.


A coastguard boat, in going off to render assistance to two distressed vessels capsized and two of the crew were drowned.


A six oared lifeboat was stationed on davits on the pier ready for lowering to go off to wrecks on the shoal called the Sow and Pig.  The Inspector found however, that waves broke over the proposed site making it unlikely the boat could be used in really bad weather, and the project was dropped.


Committee of Management voted a binocular glass to Mr James Darling who had been connected with the management of Blyth lifeboats for 36 years.


Two owners of tug decided to provide a tug for the lifeboat without charge.


New lifeboat house constructed at a cost of £520.

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain T W Tinning when on 16 October 1898 the No 2 lifeboat was proceeding to the assistance of the Norwegian sloop Fremad that had stranded in Cambois Bay when she was struck by three heavy seas that capsized her.  All the crew regained the boat with the exception of Second Coxswain Mark A Fairhurst who was drowned.  Coxswain T W Tinning, who jumped overboard from the lifeboat and swam to Mark Fairhurst and got him to the shore but he could not be revived. The Committee of Management voted £300 to a local fund and gave £10 to the widow.


Owner of the tug to be paid £1 for each time a tug exercised with the lifeboat.


King of Norway awarded lifesaving Medals to Coxswain John Bushell and Acting Bowman G Summerside for services in rescuing seven men from the Barque Haabet on 12 November 1901.


Lifeboat capsized whilst on service in heavy confused sea on the 22 December, fortunately without loss of life.


Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Anthony Nixon for the rescue of two of the crew of the ss Dunelm that was stranded at low water in a whole gale when a very heavy sea was running on 11 January 1913.  Using a rocket apparatuses the whole crew was rescued except for two men, with four rescuers, who could proceed no farther because of the increasing depth of water.  Using a small boat Coxswain Nixon brought off two of them, the three others were saved by other means.  One man was swept away.  Coxswain A Nixon was also awarded the King’s Bronze Medals for gallantry in saving life at sea.  Herbert Burton and Robert Smith both of Tynemouth lifeboat also received Silver Medals.


Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain John Bushell for a shore boat case to the trawler Naval Prince in a strong south east gale and very heavy sea on 10 December 1915.  Owing to the seas the Cambois lifeboat was washed ashore and made a second attempt some hours later but could not reach the vessel.  Coxswain Bushell and three other crewmen carried a shore boat over the rocks and at risk rescued three of the crew.

Coxswain John Bushell awarded Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum in recognition of his strenuous efforts in connection with the wreck of the Barque Auder on 28 February.  On the first trip five of the 10 men were rescued.  Two unsuccessful attempts to reach the vessel were then made by the lifeboat manned by officers and men from Naval vessels in the harbour.  Finally the coxswain and crew manned the lifeboat a further time and rescued three men.  The other two swam ashore.  The coxswain was in charge of three out of the four attempts.


The King of Norway presented a Silver cup to the coxswain and Silver Medals to each of the crew for their services in rescuing some of the crew of the Norwegian Barque Auder on 28 February 1916 (see above).


Report that the Senior Naval Officer had arranged that in the case of a wreck 12 men from HMS Titanic would be detailed to assist in manning the lifeboat.


Decided that road exercises be discontinued as the Tynemouth lifeboat could get to a vessel at Sexton Sluice quicker that the Blyth lifeboat could be transported there.


Station adapted for a motor lifeboat at a cost of £10,000.


Centenary Vellum awarded to station.


Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain J Wheatley in recognition of his courageous and determined efforts in rescuing three men from the steamer Skarv that was drifting with her boilers out of action, towards Cambois Bay in a strong north-easterly wind on 23 December 1938.  The Blyth lifeboat closed with the steamer and managed to take off three men before the lifeboat sustained severe damage to her rudder. Despite this three more attempts to rescue the remaining crew were undertaken but to no avail.  Finally the Skarv was driven ashore and the remaining three survivors taken off by rocket apparatus.


Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Thomas Fawcus for the rescue of four of the crew of the ss Holderness of Hull that went ashore on Seaton Rocks east of the Blyth East Pier Lighthouse in a fresh easterly wind and a rough sea on 11 March.


Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Thomas Fawcus and a Bronze Medal to Bowman John Kerr and The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to the other members of the crew for the rescue of two of the crew of the vessel Paulgate which broached to off the Blyth Fairway Buoy in a strong northerly gale and a rough sea on 18 November 1962.  The Captain remained on board intending to enter the Tyne and asked the lifeboat to stand by, but the vessel ran out of fuel at the river entrance and drifted through the piers at flood tide.  Bowman Kerr scrambled on board and secured a line from the lifeboat and kept the casualty clear of the shore.

The Maud Smith award for the bravest act of lifesaving in 1962 was made to Bowman John Kerr for the part he played during the rescue of the crew of two of the motor vessel Paulgate on 18 November 1962.


D class lifeboat sent to station in May.


150th Anniversary Vellum awarded to station.


Sir Alec Rose, lone round-the-world yachtsman and founder member of the Shoreline membership scheme, named the new Blyth lifeboat Shoreline at the Dun Cow Quay on 29 October.


Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Charles Hatcher in recognition of the courage, determination and seamanship displayed by him on the night of 7 December 1982 when the lifeboat went to the assistance of the fishing vessel Castle Cove that was taking in water five miles north north-east of the River Tyne.  As the vessels engines failed shortly after the lifeboat arrived a tow was rigged, but the casualty began to sink, so the tow was slipped and Coxswain Hatcher went alongside and rescue the rescued the crew of three.  The Castle Cove sank five minutes later approximately 500 yards north of the Tyne North Pier in a south easterly gale and rough seas.


Adaptation work to the main slipway was carried out in order to improve the launching and recovery of the D class lifeboat that was to be housed and launched from the main boathouse.  This work included the installation of a two channel track directly onto the existing slipway ribs, alterations to the launching trolley and the reconstruction of the slipway toe.


Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Keith Barnard in recognition of his seamanship, skill and determination when the lifeboat The William and Jane rescued the crew of eight and saved the yacht Eau de Vie on 26 September 1993.  The yacht had broken her mast after capsizing in gale force winds and heavy seas between the Outer Bell Rock and the Inner Bell Rock, and was being driven onto the rocks.

New D class lifeboat D-464 was placed on service on 19 July.


Work was carried out on a conversion to part of the ground floor of the main boathouse to provide improved crew facilities.  Conversion was also carried out on the old D class boathouse to provided a drying/changing room and mechanic’s workshop.

Waveney class lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by a Trent.


The new station D class lifeboat D-606 Jennie B was placed on service on 25 November.  This lifeboat was funded by a generous gift from Mrs N Wilson.  Lifeboat D-464 Wren has been withdrawn to the Relief Fleet.


At the Trustee Committee Meeting held on 7 July the recommendations from the recent Coast Review visits were discussed and it was resolved that the Trent class all weather lifeboat be withdrawn to the Relief fleet and the station continue to operate their D class inshore lifeboat.


New boathouse adaptation completed and new davit installed in July at a cost of £65,000.


The new station D Class lifeboat D746 Alan and Amy was placed on service 30 January 2012. This lifeboat was funded by the generous gift of Dr Patricia Kind.  Lifeboat D-606 Jennie B has been withdrawn.


The new D-Class boathouse has been completed. The boat house was part funded by the generous bequest of Mrs Daphne Sharpe.