Donate now

Campbeltown's station history


Eleven medals been awarded, two Silver and nine Bronze, the last being voted in 2001. In addition one silver was awarded in 1909 to a member of the public.

Station established in 1861 by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, following a report from Lloyds Agent as to its necessity, Lady Murray of Edinburgh bearing the original cost of establishment.  In 1911 a second lifeboat was sent here for use as a boarding boat for the larger lifeboat and also the service on the loch only, but it was never launched on service.  It was withdrawn in 1931.


Lifeboat house constructed at a cost of £158. Peake class lifeboat Lord Murray, built at a cost of £157, was placed on service.


A new SR lifeboat Princess Louise, built at a cost of £282,  was placed on service and the Lord Murray withdrawn.


A new SR lifeboat Mary Adelaide Harrison (ON148), built at a cost of £396, was placed on service and the Princess Louise withdrawn.


Gas and water services provided.


Sound signals abolished and a mortar provided.


New lifeboat house constructed on the site at a cost of £885.  Payment for horses at this station at uniform rate of 1/ - per head for each horse with a minimum charge of 5/ - per horse.

A new lifeboat James Stevens No 2 (ON413), built at a cost of £538, was placed on service and the Mary Adelaide Harrison withdrawn.


Old lifeboat house dismantled and handed over to owner of site.


Lifeboat was being lowered into the water by crane when hook of crane was carried away and lifeboat fell 14ft.


Lifeboat crew of sixteen each awarded a Medal and Diploma by the Norwegian Government for the rescue of the crew of nine from the barque Arco of Fredrikstadt during a whole west north westerly gale and very heavy seas on 27 February.


Megaphone supplied to lighthouse keepers at Devaar for hailing the lifeboat.


Acetylene beach light supplied.

Granted double pay to the crew of the lifeboat for a very arduous service during unusually severe weather with snow on 28 December.  The lifeboat was seriously damaged when she was dashed onto the deck of the wreck and compelled to return to her station without saving life.  A member of the crew was washed out of the lifeboat but was recovered.  Crew and wreck were rescued by shore boat which reached the wreck next day just before the lifeboat.


Silver Medal awarded to Captain D Martin, a skipper of a yacht who put off in a small boat and rescued two men from the schooner Janes in a whole gale, snow showers and very heavy sea on 29 December 1908.


A Whale Boat lifeboat Richard Cresswell (ON481), formerly on service at Poolbeg, was placed on service as the second lifeboat on station.


Campbeltown’s first Watson class motor lifeboat William MacPherson (ON620), built at a cost of £3,423, was sent to station and the James Stevens No 2 withdrawn.


The sum of £10 paid to the owner of a bullock which was strangled through getting its head into a bight of one of the flagstaff halyards.


A new Barnett class lifeboat City of Glasgow (ON720), built at a cost of £10,179, was placed on service and the William McPherson withdrawn.


The No 2 lifeboat Richard Cresswell was taken out of service and sold, having never been launched.


Dinghy belonging to yacht Myrtle, which was hunting sharks, was towed away by a harpooned shark.  Lifeboat saved dinghy and its crew of two.


Silver Medal and British Empire Medal awarded to Coxswain James Thomson and Bronze Medals to crew members Duncan Newlands, Duncan Black, John Lister, James Lang, Joseph McGeachy, Duncan McLean and Neil Speed for the rescue of 44 from the vessel Mobeka on 19 January 1942, carried out with a Watson class relief lifeboat Duke of Connaught (ON649) which was on temporary service at Campbeltown.  The rescue had been carried out in the face of the greatest difficulties and dangers and the coxswain and crew had shown great courage and initiative and splendid seamanship.


Bronze Medal Second Service Clasp awarded to Coxswain Duncan Newlands for the rescue of 54 men and women from the American steamer Byron Darnton that went ashore on 16 March 1946 on Sanda Island off the Mull of Kintyre.  The service lasted 17 hours and the coxswain had shown fine judgement and initiative.


A new Barnett class lifeboat City of Glasgow 11 (ON899), built at a cost of £31,629, was placed on service and the City of Glasgow withdrawn.


The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to coxswain Duncan Newlands for the rescue of the crew of ten of the SS Gracehill of Belfast on 8 March.


Centenary Vellum awarded.


Barnett class lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by an Arun class lifeboat Walter & Margaret Couper (ON1059).


Silver Medal for gallantry awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Alexander Gilchrist in recognition of his courage, skill and determination when the crew of 14 of the trawler  Erlo Hills, was rescued on 2 October 1981.  The Erlo Hills, which was drifting with engine failure and damaged steering gear off Altacarry Head, was subsequently driven ashore at Farganlock Point and wrecked in a storm force northerly wind and a very rough and confused sea.  The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to the remainder of the lifeboat’s crew and Captain S Hamilton Nixon, owner/master of the British coaster Ceol Mor.  Captain Hamilton Nixon displayed seamanship and determination when the coaster re-floated the trawler after the Erlo Hills, went aground two miles south of Altacarry Head prior to the lifeboat rescuing her crew.  Captain Hamilton Nixon was also awarded the Royal Society of Arts Silver Medal in recognition of his outstanding seamanship for this service.


The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain/Mechanic Alexander Gilchrist for the rescue of the crew of three from the fishing vessel John Hannah VC which anchored close to Keill Point with her stern overhanging a reef in breaking surf and an onshore southerly Force 6 Strong Breeze on 30 September.  Three runs had to be made to take the crew off the casualty.

On the final run the last survivor jumped too late, missed his footing but clung on to the bow as the lifeboat reversed.  The lifeboat crew hauled him on board to safety.



Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, Michael Vernon, was awarded to Acting Coxswain John D Stewart in recognition of his leadership and care he personally exercised when the lifeboat Walter and Margaret Couper, proceeded without the aid of radar in dense fog to the assistance of the yacht Ra, which was reported to be unsure of her position and running low on fuel somewhere off Arran on 6 July.


D class lifeboat sent to station for one season’s operational evaluation as of 29 May.


Inshore lifeboat station officially established on 31 January.

New D class lifeboat D-455 was placed on service on 26 March.


The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain Jim McPhee in recognition of his leadership, perseverance and professionalism when the Walter and Margaret Couper lifeboat rescued the sole occupant of the fast work boat Gille Brighde on 29 March.  All the crew received Vellum certificates.  The Gille Brighde capsized in very cold waters five miles south of Davaar Island and with barely two feet of her bow showing above water the skipper was trapped in the wheelhouse.


New two-storey D class boathouse constructed.  As well as housing the D class lifeboat and land rover.  This also includes improved crew facilities.


A new Severn class lifeboat named Ernest & Mary Shaw (ON1241), was placed on service on Sunday 30 May.  This lifeboat was a gift from the estate of Ernest Shaw and his widow Mary Shaw.  Arun class lifeboat (ON1059) was withdrawn to the Relief Fleet.


Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain John Stewart for the rescue of two men from the grounded fishing vessel Sincerity on 29 November 2000.  The service was conducted close inshore in shallow waters in gale force conditions.  The weather was so bad that a helicopter had been unable to stay on scene.  The Maud Smith Award for the most outstanding act of lifesaving during the year 2000, and the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Royal Benevolent Society’s Lady Swaythling Trophy for outstanding seamanship, was awarded to Coxswain Stewart for this service.


The new IB1 D class lifeboat D-737 Alastair Greenless was placed on service on 6th August.

The Trustees of the RNLI at their meeting on 3 November confirmed an anniversary Vellum to acknowledge the completion of 150 years service as a lifeboat station for 2011.