A lifeboat was provided at Hartlepool from local subscriptions in 1803. Early history of the station is not clear, but there have been five stations at different times. Two were at West Hartlepool and were taken over by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in 1869, and three were at Hartlepool which were taken over by the Institution in 1875. There is now only the one station at Hartlepool.
Silver Medal awarded to George Grey for a shore boat case on 11 October 1824. Mr Grey plunged into the sea and saved four seamen and the Master from the vessel Economy that had been driven ashore at Heselden, he made five journeys to the wreck, boarding her and saving one man on each occasion.
The RNLI made a contribution of £10 to be divided amongst the parents and widow of George Cowell, a seaman from the steam tug Swan who had perished when the small boat he was rowing capsized as he attempted to save the lives of crew of the wrecker which was in difficulty at the mouth of the Tees on 8 December 1867.
Silver Medal awarded to Henry Houghton a joiner of West Hartlepool in acknowledgement of his services in wading at the risk of his life, into the surf to rescue seven out of eight of the crew of the brig Era of Rochester, which was wrecked during a strong north-easterly gale off Hartlepool on 14 January 1857.
West Hartlepool boats transferred to Institution by North Eastern Railway Co.
Silver Medal awarded to Mr Thomas Dawson of Hartlepool and a monetary award to the crews of his three steam tugs for putting out and assisting safely to harbour 51 fishing boats and their crews 104 men in all, that had been caught in a heavy gale from the north-east which suddenly sprang up, and were in danger of being wrecked on 16 June 1869.
Hartlepool Port and Harbour Commissioners requested Institution to take over the three lifeboats belonging to the Port. Two lifeboats were kept in a house and the third on the shore at North Sands. Two lifeboat houses constructed at a cost of £340 each.
Silver Medal awarded to Mr Thomas Pounder, Pilot and his assistant James Metcalf for rescuing at great risk, two people from a boat that capsized near the Longscar Rocks off Hartlepool in a strong north-north-east breeze with a rough sea on 26 May 1890.
West Hartlepool number one lifeboat withdrawn.
Arrangements for a tug to be supplied free of charge day or night by North Eastern Railway.
British Electric Co altered the lifeboat house and slipway at their own cost to enable them to extend their light railway.
A monetary award was made by the German Emperor to the crew for services to galliot Catherine on 14 November 1901.
Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain J W Rowntree for saving four lives when the ketch Young John of Montrose lost her mainsail in a northerly gale, was unmanageable and drifting onto the Longscar Rocks and was seen in the bay at 2030 on 6 July 1903. The lifeboat rowed across the bay and after a great deal of difficulty manoeuvred alongside. A child, the Masters son, was at once thrown from the ketch and was caught by one of the crew, after which three crew jumped into the lifeboat. As the lifeboats returned she was frequently lost to sight in the heavy waves. The rescue was witnessed by thousands of people from Hartlepool cliffs.
West Hartlepool Station closed because of encroachment of the sea and the fact that there were three other efficient lifeboats in the Bay. Lifeboat house handed over to the London & North Eastern Railway Co.
Silver Medal to Coxswain Shepherd Sotheran and John Franklin Coxswain Superintendent Seaton Carew lifeboat, for the joint rescue of 39 people in total from the ss Clavering that stranded near the North Gare breakwater in a fierce northerly gale at 0600 on 31 January 1907. The Seaton Carew lifeboat launched and managed to rescue 15 crew but further attempts to reach the wreck were unsuccessful. The Hartlepoool lifeboat was brought by road arriving at Seaton Carew at 1730 and, after waiting for the tide to ebb, both lifeboats made another attempt to reach the casualty but had to abandon the attempt at 0200. At daylight with the weather moderating slightly, their joint efforts in bitter wind and frost, was successful and they rescued a further 24 survivors, completing the service at 1300 1 February.
Lifeboat house severely damaged on 16 December when the German ships Blucher, Seydlitz and Moltke bombarded the two towns.
Number one lifeboat station closed.
Lifeboat launched to submarine G.12 that grounded; her crew had already been taken off by a tug. In endeavouring to save the vessel three members of the lifeboat crew were put aboard, one of whom was washed overboard but was fortunately recovered.
Number two station closed on arrival of motor lifeboat at number three station, which then became the only station at Hartlepool.
The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Mr H W Jefferson, the station mechanic for saving the lifeboat from fire that started in the engine room whilst the lifeboat was in the boathouse on 21 October. The winchman released the lifeboat and Mr Jefferson took the boat down the slip and into the harbour.
A Centenary Vellum presented.
Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Robert Hood in appreciation of the skill and courage shown in the rescue of the crew of nine of the Danish schooner Doris that was being driven toward Longscar Rocks dragging her anchors in a strong north-north-easterly gale and very heavy sea on 26 September 1930. After five very difficult runs the schooner’s nine man crew jumped into the lifeboat shortly before the Doris became a total wreck.
Mr Alfred Belk, who had been Honorary Secretary for 51 years, retired on account of ill health.
Gold Medal awarded to Coxswain Lieutenant W H Bennison, the Silver Medal to Motor Mechanic H W Jefferson and the Bronze Medal to crew members Thomas Gilchrist, Robert Horsley, Edward Wallace, Richard Coulson, William Horsley, and Herbert Pearson for the rescue of five people from the ss Hawkwood that went ashore in an easterly gale with fierce snow squalls half a mile north of the Tees North Gare Jetty on 26 January 1942. The lifeboat launched at 0735 and on arrival found the wreck in two parts and in water too shallow for approach, so returned to the station. After waiting for the tide the lifeboat launched again and with heavy seas breaking over her took off five men from the fore of the wreck and landed them safely ashore. The Master of the Hawkswood said in a letter of thanks, ‘We would like you to know that we will always remember the fearless and persistent determination displayed by the crew of the lifeboat under the command of Coxswain Bennison who showed such indomitable courage, initiative and superb seamanship’.
Mr J S Wood retired after acting as Honorary Secretary for 20 years.
The Head Launcher Mr Thomas Kennedy died on 11 January following an operation as a result of an accident whilst re-housing the lifeboat after an exercise on 5 December 1958. Pensions were granted to his dependants.
A D class lifeboat sent to station in May, all weather lifeboat withdrawn 20 June.
The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Helmsman Douglas Gibbin for his prolonged and strenuous efforts to save the D class lifeboat damaged during a service to the fishing coble Our Tracey in a fresh west-south-westerly wind and a choppy sea, on 4 October.
An Atlantic 21 lifeboat sent to station in October for evaluation trials.
A D class lifeboat withdrawn in April and replaced permanently by an Atlantic 21 lifeboat.
Bronze Medal awarded to inshore lifeboat crew member D Gibbin and the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Helmsman Michael O’Connor and crew member Ian Holdsworth for the rescue of a 16 year old boy whose sailing dinghy had capsized in a choppy sea and a heavy south easterly swell on 1 October 1972. The lifeboat was unable to approach the casualty because of the confused sea so Mr Gibbin jumped into the water and supported the boy until he could be rescued.
An Anniversary Vellum awarded to station for 150 years.
A new all weather Waveney class lifeboat ON1044 The Scout was sent to station and named by HM The Queen on 14 July. The lifeboat was provided by scouts from all over the country who raised £101,000 towards her cost.
The Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Robert Maiden in recognition of the courage, determination and seamanship displayed by him when he took the lifeboat in four times in a severe northerly Force 9 Gale, gusting 11, rain squalls and heavy sea to rescue four crew members from the Dutch cargo ship Anne aground on the Longscar Rocks on 10 November 1985.
New boathouse to accommodate the Atlantic 21 lifeboat and provide improved crew facilities was completed in June.
A collective Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution was presented to Coxswain Eric Reeve, Mechanic Ian Gilbraith, Assistant Mechanic Thomas Price and crew members Ian Maiden, Robert Maiden, Gary Jamieson, Richard Dougherty and Peter Lamb in recognition of their fine display of seamanship, when the lifeboat The Scout capsized twice whilst on service to the tanker Freja Svea that was dragging her anchor in storm force conditions in Tees Bay on 28 February. Whilst standing by the tanker in heavy seas the Teesmouth lifeboat was knocked down, losing one of her engines. The Hartlepool lifeboat The Scout was launched to escort the Teemouth lifeboat back to station and then to take over stand by duties on scene. Whilst close to the tanker in about 8 fathoms of water the Hartlepool lifeboat was capsized twice and crew member R Maiden was washed overboard. Teesmouth lifeboat re-launched to escort the Hartlepool lifeboat back to Tees, and R Maiden was picked up by an RAF Seaking helicopter and taken to hospital, from where he was subsequently discharged.
Waveney class lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by a Tyne class lifeboat which was placed on service on 24 July.
The new station B class Atlantic 75 lifeboat B766 was launched on 4 March and placed on service on 28 July 2000. This lifeboat was funded by the generosity of listeners to BBC Radio Cleveland as a result of their Lifeboat 2000 Appeal. Lifeboat B568 has been withdrawn to ILC Cowes.
A new sart slipway completed in June at a cost of £174,209.
The Trustee Meeting held on 27 November decided that Hartlepool Lifeboat Station be awarded a Vellum to commemorate the completion of 200 years service in 2003.
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 Arun class lifeboat be replaced by a Trent class lifeboat reallocated from the Relief fleet.
New station Trent class lifeboat ON1274 Betty Huntbatch went on service on 27 September 2004, ON1160 Duke of Atholl withdrawn to the relief fleet.
WAR RECORD (1939-1945)
Launches - 36. Lives - 57
Eighteen medals have been awarded, one Gold, eight Silver and nine Bronze, the last being voted in 1985.
In 1902 the Emperor of Germany made monetary awards to the crew of the No 3 lifeboat for the rescue of the crew of four of the galliot Catherine of Barssel.