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Harwich's station history


Twenty medals have been awarded, 16 Silver and four Bronze, the last being voted in 1983.


Silver Medals awarded to S Wordley and William Mudd for saving the Master and two seamen from the vessel Superb on 30 April 1829.


Silver Medal awarded to William Jennings, Master of the smack Spy for saving the Master and four seamen from the brig Faithful on 6/7 March 1832.


Silver Medal awarded to William Newson, Master of the smack Alfred for saving the crew of 11 from the brig Woodman which was wrecked on the Shipwash Sand, near Harwich, on 20 February 1855.


Silver Medal awarded to William Lewis, Master of the smack Tryall for his valuable services to the crew of the sloop Maria of Goole that was wrecked on the Long Sand on 14 September 1856.


Silver Medal awarded to Thomas King, Master of the smack Paragon in recognition of his long and intrepid exertions extending over two days in rescuing, during gale force winds, four out of six people from the schooner Thrifty which on 19/20 October 1862 foundered on the Long Sand.  This was one of the most daring and persevering cases of saving life on record.


Six Silver Medals awarded to Master Mariner Thomas Adams of the smack Volunteer and his crew of five Henry Bacon, Benjamin Lambeth, John Lambert, Robert Scarlett and George Wyatt in admiration of their daring and persevering services in rescuing the crew of six from the barque Darius of South Shields, which was totally wrecked on the Long Sand during gale force winds on 3 November 1861.


George Wyatt, awarded a Silver Medal in 1862, was the Master of the fishing smack Alfred and died whilst attempting to save the crew of the schooner Alvida which was wrecked on 13 February.  The RNLI voted £20 for the fund for his widow.


Silver Medal awarded to John Carrington, Master of the Steam Tug Liverpool for saving the crew of nine from the Norwegian barque Hunter of Krageroe, which was wrecked on the Shipwash Sands during an easterly gale on 7/8 January 1876.


A meeting was convened after the loss of the German steamer Deutschland with a view to establishing a lifeboat station.  Following a further wreck the Institution sent a lifeboat without waiting for the lifeboat house to be erected.  Lifeboat house erected at a cost of £250 (a tug towed lifeboat when required at a cost of £5).


Lifeboat launched in a strong gale on 18 January to a distressed vessel but capsized about half a mile from the shore.  All the crew regained the lifeboat except William Wink who was drowned.  Committee voted £100 to local funds.  New lifeboat moored afloat near the pier in what is known as the Inner Pond.


Silver Medals awarded to Second Coxswain William Britton and Captain St Vincent Nepean RN, the Institution's District Inspector.  The lifeboat was launched in freezing conditions and had to break through ice which surrounded the piers to go to the steamer Ingerid wrecked on the Sunk Sand about 14 miles from Harwich.  The Harwich lifeboat was rowed for over eight hours and then taken in tow by the smack Albatross for four miles before she reached the scene of the wreck, on 20/21 January 1881.  Seven survivors of the wreck were saved.


No 2 station established.


Silver Medal to Coxswain William Tyrrell in recognition of his long and gallant services in saving life from shipwreck.


Three members of the lifeboat crew washed out on service on 2 December to unknown vessel, fortunately they were recovered.


Member of the lifeboat crew washed overboard on service on 7 December.  He was recovered.


The Hospitaliers Sauveteurs Bretons bestowed a total of 11 medals on the coxswain and crew of the steam lifeboat for services to the schooner Notre Dame des Toutes Aides of Nantes wrecked on 7 April.


No 1 lifeboat station closed.


Steam tug requisitioned by Admiralty No 2 station closed as the area was covered by motor lifeboat station at Walton.


Lifeboat house surrendered to War Office.


Inshore lifeboat station established in May with the placing on service of a D class lifeboat.  A gift from the Graham Dunn Harbour Rescue Fund was used towards the cost of the boat.


Committee of Management decided to station a 44ft steel lifeboat at Harwich for a two year trial period.


Committee of Management confirmed the re-establishment of Harwich as a lifeboat station.


The D class lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by an Atlantic 21 lifeboat.


A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, The Duke of Atholl, awarded to Helmsman R Ramplin, crew members P Dawson and P Brand in recognition of the skill and determination they displayed when help was given to the crew of the yacht Dunkit aground on Pye Sands on 17 April 1981.


Bronze Medals awarded to Petty Officer Coxswain Kenneth Verdun Lee (in command) and Seaman Barry James Warner of the Trinity House pilot vessel Valour and to Second Officer Michael Anthony Wright and Seaman Thomas Edward Wakelin of the Trinity House pilot vessel Patrol, in recognition of their courage and seamanship when on 19/20 December 1982 just before 2300 two ferries, the European Gateway and the Speedlink Vanguard, were in collisions near Cork Spit Buoy in a south westerly gale and heavy seas, the former developing a heavy, increasing list.

The Valour managed to take off 28 people by driving her stern against one of the European Gateway’s lifeboats, which acted as a bridge.  Meanwhile the Patrol had recovered two men amidst floating debris and continued to rescue 15 more survivors from the European Gateway.  Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution were awarded to Captain J Lukes, A Taylor and D Webb of the tugs Sauria, Alfred and Ganges for ably assisting in the rescue, and to Mr George Lawn, a lorry driver who, after being rescued, volunteered to remain on the Patrol to assist in the search for survivors, and to the coxswain and crew of the Harwich lifeboat for their dedicated and efficient searching for over seven hours, and their tireless efforts to resuscitate three survivors.  A Letter of Thanks signed by the Deputy Director was sent to the Masters of the tugs Gray Delta and Gary Gray, and to Captain H H McGibney of the European Gateway for his voluntary efforts in remaining on the Valour and assisting in the search after being rescued.  Walton and Frinton coxswain and crew also received Letters of Thanks for the part they played in this service.


A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, The Duke of Atholl, awarded to the coxswain and crew (Coxswain Mechanic P Burwood, Second Coxswain L Smith, crew members K Brand, D Gilders and E Clifton) in recognition of the determination they displayed during many hours of extreme discomfort at sea in severe weather conditions when escorting the Sealink ferry Speedlink Vanguard to sheltered waters when one of her engines broke down.


A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, The Duke of Atholl, addressed to Second Coxswain Assistant Mechanic D Gilders, Emergency Mechanic K Brand, crew members P Dawson, P Smith, R Barton and Station Honorary Secretary, Captain R Shaw and Branch Chairman, Mr H Bell, all of whom were on board the relief lifeboat Khami returning from a publicity visit, when a fire broke out on a 70ft ex-trawler Mary La in the River Orwell.  All hands used fire hose, extinguishers and buckets to quell the fire, which took 45 minutes to bring under control.  The vessel was checked and no one found on board.  Gas cylinders and an acetylene cylinder were dragged on deck as fires were still breaking out at hot spots.  The fire fighting team was led by the Honorary Secretary, and the Branch Chairman and crew carried out their tasks with considerable bravery until relieved by the Fire Service.


A small extension was constructed at one end of the boathouse in order to provide a souvenir sales outlet.


An extension was constructed to provide a larger crew room.


The new Severn class lifeboat ON1202 Albert Brown was placed on service 2 October 1996. The lifeboat was funded by the generous bequest of Mrs Victoria Maisie Brown. The Waveney class lifeboat has been withdrawn.


Harwich Haven Authority agreed in February to the Institution's request to lengthen the piles and the lifeboat berth by two meters.


Work continued on construction of new B class boathouse.


A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the RNLI, Mr Peter Nicholson, was presented to Second Coxswain Paul Smith for the rescue of two people from the yacht I Like It on 6 September 2000.  The yacht was also saved.  This was a long and arduous service conducted in difficult conditions and took the lifeboat and yacht to Zeebrugge.  The lifeboat was diverted to this service from an exercise and eventually returned to Harwich 20 hours after launching.


A new B class boathouse completed in April at a cost of £1.450,000.

The new Atlantic 75 B-789 Sure and Steadfast was placed on service 15 October 2002. This lifeboat was funded by the Boys Brigade.


A new pontoon berth completed in November at a cost of £75,000.