Station history

The Institution placed a life-saving apparatus at Fraserburgh in 1824, the year in which it was founded, but not a lifeboat.  A lifeboat station was established in about 1831, as in the seventh Annual Report of the Institution there appears a record of a service by “…a lifeboat belonging to the town of Fraserburgh, kept up by a charge of 6d per man on all vessels entering the harbour.”  In 1848 it was reported that there was a lifeboat at Fraserburgh kept up by private funds presumably the tax referred to above.  Some time between 1848 and 1858 this lifeboat station must have been closed because in 1858 the Institution placed a lifeboat at Fraserburgh in answer to a request from the residents.

Following the capsizing of The Duchess of Kent lifeboat the station was non-operational from 1970 to 1978.

1827

Gold Medal awarded to Lieut C H Bowen RN, and monetary awards to four coastguards for the rescue, by means of the Manby rocket apparatus placed there by the Institution, of six exhausted survivors, three men, two women and a child from the ship Rose, which was wrecked at Fraserburgh on 2 January 1827.

1831

Gold Medal awarded to Lieut Charles Turner RN, who was in command of the lifeboat when he attempted to rescue the crew of three of the sloop Janet that was wrecked at Fraserburgh on 5 May 1831.

1835

Silver Medal awarded to Mr James Scott Master of the schooner Sarah.  On 4 August 1835 a coastguard boat got into difficulties.  Captain Scott who had witnessed the incident went off in his own boat together with his Mate, rowed a mile and a half and rescued the three men who by then had been in the water an hour.

1858

Silver Medal awarded to Chief Officer of the Coastguard, Mr G M Beatson, for rescuing with the mortar apparatus the crew of the Prussian schooner Fortuna of Griefswald that was wrecked during a strong north gale off Fraserburgh, on 8 October 1858.

1876

On 16 February, when attempting to land the rescued crew of the schooner Augusta of Sunderland, the lifeboat was driven onto the rocks and all on board had to be taken off by shore boats.

1881

Harbour Commissioners agreed to pay half cost of new lifeboat house.

1884

Lifeboat was launched during a hurricane to fishing boat Gratitude but when she got among the rocks she was struck on the port quarter by a very heavy sea and capsized.  All the crew were thrown out but fortunately regained the boat.  The crew of the smack was rescued by lifelines from the shore.

1890

Gas service provided to lifeboat house.

1909

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Andrew Noble in recognition of his skill and seamanship when rescuing six crew of the fishing boat Henry and Elizabeth of Nairn that was struck by a huge sea, almost submerged and was driven onto rocks on 30 June 1909.  One man was washed overboard and drowned.  The coxswain manoeuvred the lifeboat taking the men off the wreck and with great skill managed the steering after the rudder had been broken and the yoke carried away.

Second-Service Clasp to Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Noble for the rescue of seven men from the fishing boat Zodiac of Buckie wrecked off Fraserburgh in a northerly gale of great ferocity on 7 September 1909.

1912

Gift of a lifeboat by Mr T Dyer Edwardes to commemorate the saving of his daughter, the Countess of Rothes, from the wreck of the Titanic in May.  The new lifeboat Lady Rothes arrived on station in 1915.

1916

New lifeboat house construction at a cost of £3,200.

1918

In lowering the lifeboat down the slipway on 12 January, the chain holding her suddenly broke and with only the motor mechanic on board she shot down the slipway.  The mechanic managed to control the lifeboat which then proceeded on service to HM trawler William Ashton.  A grant was made to Mechanic Triggs for his prompt action.

1919

The lifeboat was launched on 28 April in a heavy northerly gale and tremendous sea to HM Drifter Eminent and when about one mile from land was caught broadside and over-turned most of the crew being thrown overboard.  The engines stopped and the boat drove ashore.  The coxswain Andrew Noble and the acting second coxswain Andrew Farquhar were drowned.  Committee of Management granted pensions to dependants.

1929

Silver Medal awarded to Second Coxswain James Sim for a service on the night of 14 January 1912 when the trawler Clio, in a very heavy sea, struck the Beacon Rock off Carinbulg Briggs.  The lifeboat made two attempts at rescue but the sea was washing over the top of the Clio and she could not get alongside.  The coxswain therefore anchored his boat.  At about 11pm Second Coxswain James Sim, fearing that the crew of the Clio would die of exposure before the morning, and with the coxswain veering down as close as possible, jumped overboard with a line and swam to the rock, followed by crew members Alexander Ritchie, Andrew Ritchie and James Mitchell.  With their help seven crew were rescued and landed at Fraserburgh.  Due to the Honorary Secretary’s serious illness at the time, this services was not fully reported but when the circumstances were known an award was voted after an interval of 17 years.

1936

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain James Sim.  Shortly before 2am on 18 January 1936, the Aberdeen trawler Evergreen with a crew of nine went ashore in a snowstorm four miles west of Fraserburgh.  A moderate north-north-west breeze was blowing with a heavy ground swell and the night was very dark and cold.  The motor lifeboat Lady Rothes was launched at 2.8am and found the trawler well up among the rocks.  With great skill and gallantry the coxswain took the lifeboat alongside and the whole crew were rescued.

1940

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain David Hay and Joint Honorary Secretary Harbour Master Capt Andrew Stephen for a service on 8 February when in heavy rain and very heavy seas the Danish m.v. Bara Drangur went ashore south of Fraserburgh.  The Watson class lifeboat John and Charles Kennedy went to the wreck and with heavy seas breaking over the decks saved the five man crew, that had taken to rigging, just before midnight.

Silver Medal awarded to Captain Stephen and Bronze Medals to Mechanic G F Duthie and Assistant Second Coxswain John D May for a service on 24 September 1940 to the trawler Northwood that was wrecked on a reef two miles east of Fraserburgh in a fresh gale, driving rain and with heavy seas breaking the whole length of her.  Only the day before the coxswain had been called to the Navy and Captain Andrew Stephen, Honorary Secretary, took command.  The lifeboat made three attempts to get alongside the wreck but the water was too shallow so it was decided to wait for daylight and the rising tide.  At daylight the coxswain anchored and, veering down to within 50ft of the wreck, she fired her line-throwing gun, rigged a breeches buoy and hauled the 10 men one by one through the surf.  One was rescued unconscious but quickly revived another fell out of the buoy but clung to the line and was hauled in.

1953

On 9 February the lifeboat was launched to escort fishing boats into the harbour.  Whilst off the North Pier two exceptionally heavy swells broke aboard her and capsized her, the coxswain was flung out and the other six were trapped under the canopy.  Somehow Second Coxswain Charles Tait Jnr, managed to force himself down sufficiently to be able to get clear of the canopy and made shore alive.  Six men lost their lives that day, Coxswain Andrew Ritchie, Mechanic George Duthie, Bowman Charles Tait Snr, Assistant Mechanic James Noble and crewmembers John Crawford and John Buchan.  Their dependants were pensioned by the Institution.

1959

Bronze Medals awarded to Acting Coxswain A Duthie, and Mechanic F A Kirkness, for a service on 27 October 1959.  The lifeboat with a scratch crew commanded by Mr A Duthie, a fisherman, in the absence of the coxswain and second coxswain who were both out fishing, went to the assistance of two fishing boats.  A whole gale was blowing from the north-north-east with frequent heavy rain squalls.  The lifeboat stood by the two boats for some hours and then began to escort them to harbour.  One of the boats Ocean Swell shipped a very heavy sea and rolled over to her beam ends.  The lifeboat which was following astern immediately closed her.  One man was quickly taken off but the other had to be helped aboard by two of the lifeboat crew.

1970

On 21 January, while on service to the Danish fishing vessel Opal, the lifeboat The Duchess of Kent capsized with the loss of five of her crew of six.  The five men who lost their lives were Coxswain John Stephen, Mechanic Frederick Kirkness and crew members William Hadden, James R S Buchan and James Buchan.  Assistant Mechanic John (Jackson) Buchan was flung clear when the lifeboat capsized and was saved by a Russian trawler.  The dependants of the deceased were pensioned by the Institution.  Following the capsizing of the lifeboat The Duchess of Kent the station became temporarily non-operational.

1978

At a meeting of the Committee of Management in February it was decided that the station should become operational again and a Solent class lifeboat was sent to Fraserburgh on 28 June.

1981

150th Anniversary Vellum presented to station.

1982

Boathouse extended in order to provide better crew facilities.

1985

Solent class lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by a Tyne class lifeboat.

Various work carried out on the slipway.

1989

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain Albert Sutherland,, for the rescue of the crew of eight from the fishing vessel Mystic, two and a half miles from Kinaird Head in wind Force 8/9, rough seas and eight foot swell on 13 January.

1995

Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution was awarded to Coxswain Albert Sutherland, in recognition of his excellent seamanship when the City of Edinburgh lifeboat rescued the crew of five from the fishing vessel Sovereign aground on rocks on Cairnbulg Briggs and taking a heavy pounding in darkness in the early hours of 11 September.

1997

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Albert Sutherland, in recognition of his outstanding seamanship and high standard of leadership when the lifeboat City of Edinburgh rescued six people and saved the fishing vessel Hopecrest some 50 miles north east of the lifeboat station in very rough seas and severe gale on 16 February.

New lifeboat berth adjacent to the boathouse completed in October.

2002

A new Trent class lifeboat ON1259 Willie and May Gall was placed on service on 8 May 2002.  This lifeboat was funded by the legacy of Mrs M C Gall.

2007

New D class boathouse/shore facility completed in April at a cost of £326,906.

MEDAL RECORD

Sixteen Medals have been awarded, two Gold, six Silver and seven Bronze, the last one being voted in 1997.