Station history

The station was established by the Institution in 1867 as the result of several wrecks occurring in the vicinity.

1829

Gold Medal awarded to William Broad for the rescue. Using an open boat, of 11 people from the brig Larch which ran onto rock in a heavy gale on 7 January 1828.

1831

Gold Medal awarded to Lt W James RN for the rescue of the crew of 10 of the French brig Le Bon Pere that ran onto a reef off Towan in a heavy gale on 6 December 1830.  Lt James swam through tremendous surf with a rope tied around his body and was successful in reaching the vessel on the second attempt and was able to bring a rope ashore enabling 10 people to be saved.

1838

Silver Medal awarded to Lt W G Field RN for the rescue by means of a boat, of the crew of two of a coal barge that was wrecked at Falmouth on 14 February 1838.

1868

A race was held between lifeboats from Cadgwith, Lizard, Mullion, Penzance, Sennen Cove, Looe, Fowey and Porthleven.  The race was won by the Looe lifeboat.

1880

Silver Medal awarded to Mr N G Hatch, Mate of the ship Berkshire for putting off in a boat and saving two of the crew of the brig Marys which was wrecked on Black Rock during a heavy east north-easterly gale and high sea on 22 October 1880.

1887

Gas service provided.

1902

Acetylene gas generator installed in lifeboat house.

1916

Silver Medals awarded to Lt E Badger RE and Lt R Stephens RNR for the rescue in a 12ft dinghy of one man on 3 November 1916 in a whole south south westerly gale and a very heavy sea from the HM Transport Ponus.  The lifeboat had launched to the vessel three times and rescued 19 men but the second mate was left aboard, before the lifeboat could reach the vessel again the he jumped overboard as the vessel was on fire.  It was impossible to get him into the dinghy so he was tied to the stern and rowed ashore.  Very great risk was run in effecting the rescue.

1918

Owing to developments the Council terminated the Institution's tenancy of the lifeboat house which had to be removed.  Lifeboat was placed afloat.

1940

Silver Medal to Coxswain J C Snell and Bronze Medal to Motor Mechanic C H Williams for the rescue of the crew of 35 from the steamer Kirkpool on 19 January 1940.  A gale was blowing from the south east and a heavy sea was running.  Two tugs were at anchor near the vessel but were unable to get near her and were riding heavily to the gale with seas breaking over them.  The Kirkpool herself was dragging rapidly towards the shore.  She struck the beach and lay there broadside on to the breaking seas.  Her boilers lifted as she struck and the engine room was filled with steam.  The lifeboat was handled by the Coxswain with great skill and daring.

1941

One of the Institution's travelling mechanics, Thomas Pratt while on duty at Falmouth was killed in an air raid on 13 May 1941.

1967

Centenary Vellum awarded.

Evaluation trials carried out with the fast rescue/boarding boat 18-01 (Hatch type).

Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution awarded to Coxswain W B West, Assistant Mechanic R F Twydle and Shore Signalman C J Barnicoat in recognition of their services on 4 September 1967, when they boarded the lifeboat boarding boat and rendered assistance to the French trawler Martine Jean Paul which had grounded at Trefusis Point in a westerly gale with a short choppy sea.  Each man was also granted an additional monetary award.

1972

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Walter Lewis Brown in recognition of his courage, determination and seamanship when the Swedish Schooner Mina, and her crew of 10 were saved off Dodman Point in a south-westerly gale on 8 August 1972.

1978

The Bronze Medal for gallantry awarded to Coxswain Arthur West in recognition of the courage, skill and determination he displayed when the lifeboat went alongside the jack-up barge Mer d'Iroise which was in tow of the tug Englishman and in danger of becoming unstable and took off the crew of six approximately eight miles east of The Lizard in a north easterly gale and heavy seas on 28 November 1977.

1979

Thames class lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by an Arun.

A special framed certificate awarded to the coxswain and crew for display at the station in recognition of their services in connection with numerous yachts in difficulties during the Fastnet Race on 14, 15 and 16 August.

1980

On 27 March the McLachlan lifeboat A508 which was being used as a boarding boat was designated as a lifeboat for service during the summer and winter.

1985

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Vivian Pentecost in recognition of his skill and leadership when the lifeboat Elizabeth Ann escorted the French trawler St Simeon which was sinking 13 miles south of Lizard Point and proceeding towards Plymouth until relieved by the Penlee lifeboat in an easterly violent storm and reduced visibility because of rain and snow squalls and a very rough sea on 15 February.

1987

A Chairman's Letter of Thanks was sent to Mr John Pentecost for assistance given to the Falmouth McLachlan class lifeboat on 27 March.  The lifeboat launched to a capsized dinghy.  Mr Pentecost was close by in his work boat and rescued four people from the sea and transferred them to the lifeboat which ferried them ashore to awaiting ambulances.

McLachlan lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by an Atlantic 21 lifeboat.

1993-94

New boathouse constructed at Port Pendennis to accommodate the station's Atlantic 21 class lifeboat.  It also includes a workshop, store, fuel store, souvenir sales outlet and improved crew facilities.  The building is jointly occupied by the RNLI and HM Coastguard but the two halves of the building are totally independent.

1994

New Atlantic 21 class lifeboat B595 placed on service on 9 March.

1995

Work commenced in March on the dredging of an area adjacent to the lifeboat slipway and the construction of a new pontoon berth/refuelling facility for the Arun class lifeboat.

1996

The sheet piling to the edge of the slipway had moved away from the slipway itself.  Work was carried out to rectify this problem.  At the same time work was carried out on the construction of a seven metre extension to the slipway.  This was completed in March.

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain Alan Barnes in recognition of his high standard of seamanship and leadership when the Elizabeth Ann lifeboat rescued the crew of two and saved the catamaran Cloud Nine which had a broken mast and fouled propeller south of Dodman Point in gale force winds and high breaking seas on 26 November 1995.  Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was also accorded to crew member Peter Wood in recognition of his courageous actions when he boarded the catamaran in the adverse conditions and prepared the casualty for towing by cutting clear the rigging, constructing a bridle and streaming a drogue.

1997

Severn class lifeboat The Will accepted as Temporary Station Lifeboat in place of the Arun class Elizabeth Ann.

1998

New pontoon berth.  Completed in March.

1999

Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, Mr David Acland, presented to Coxswain Alan Barnes for saving the tug Dido ashore at Manacle Point on 22 August.  This was a difficult rescue performed close inshore amidst rocky outcrops in confused seas and gusting winds.

2001

The new station Severn class lifeboat ON1256 Richard Cox Scott was placed on service on 18 December 2001.  This lifeboat was funded from the generous bequests of Mrs Ruth Marygold Dix Scott together with other gifts.

2002

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution Mr Peter Nicholson presented to crew members Mark Pollard and Marc Thomas for climbing a cliff from the Atlantic class lifeboat beached below on 3 April 2002 to assist two girls who were stranded on the cliff face until they and the lifeboat men could be recovered to safety above by a coastguard rescue team.

2005

For services to the Institution, Coxswain Alan Barnes has been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen in the recent Birthday Honours; Member, Order of the British Empire (MBE)

2006

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Mark Pollard in recognition of his fortitude, leadership and outstanding seamanship when the Falmouth all weather lifeboat assisted to save the m/v Galina and her crew of eight on the 2 November 2005.  The service was carried out at night in extreme weather with force 10 winds gusting to force 11.  Despite the severe conditions a tow was established and the Galina was slowly towed to meet a coastguard vessel, which took over.  The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mairiners Royal Benevolent Society awarded their prestigious Lady Swathling Trophy for outstanding seamanship to Coxswain Pollard for this service.

2007

The new station Atlantic 75 class lifeboat B756 Eve Pank was placed on service on Thursday 28 June.  B595 has been withdrawn to ILC Cowes.

WAR RECORD - 1939-1945

Launches  25
Lives  11

MEDAL RECORD

Eleven medals have been awarded, two gold, five silver and four bronze the last being voted in 2006.