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Looe's station history

A station was established at Looe after several lives were lost when local boatmen went to the assistance of a fishing craft but the boat capsized in the breakers on returning to shore. After this, and because a large number of vessels frequently used the harbour, the local inhabitants wanted to have a lifeboat. As there were plenty of fishermen available to form a crew, a 32ft lifeboat, with 10 oars and a transporting carriage was sent to Looe. In accordance to the late Sir John Pollard Willoughby BA request, this lifeboat was named the Oxfordshire, which was inaugurated on 28 December 1866. The opening of this station is described in the Lifeboat Journal for July 1867.


Silver Medal awarded to William Jennings, Coastguard, for a service on 27 November 1838 when the large London brig Belissima was blown onto rocks and soon showed signs of breaking up. After attempts to reach her by rocket failed Mr Jennings volunteered to swim to her and after persevering for some time, got a rope on board enabling the Master and 12 crew to be saved.


On 28 December 1866 Looe’s first lifeboat The Oxfordshire placed on service at the Old Lifeboat Station on the seafront


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.


17 July 1882 Boys Own No 1 was placed on station. The Oxfordshire was withdrawn from service (12 launches/14 lives saved)


On 7 December the lifeboat assisted the vessel Gipsy of Nantes. Fourteen crew were taken on board the lifeboat and the remaining five got into the ship’s boat and was taken in tow. With the help of a tug all landed safely at Looe. Three kittens were also saved.


The French Government awarded a Gold Medal, 2nd class to Coxswain Edward Toms and Silver Medal, 2nd class, to each of the crew for the service to the Gipsy.

Boys Own No 1 withdrawn from service (5 launches/23 lives saved). 25 May 1902 Ryder placed on service.


Station closed in July. Ryder withdrawn from service and sold (12 launches/37 lives saved)


William Alford 1866-1888
Albert Fisk 1888-1898
Edward Toms 1898-1919
William T Toms 1919-1930


R Thomas 1866-1894
S Brock, Chief Officer CG 1894-1898
T Parson 1898-1900
Capt J W Hughes 1900-1905
R Harbord 1905-1908
J F Chields 1908-1911
Capt J R Barber 1911-1922
Col W V Moul 1922-1925
W F Phillips 1925-1930



It was decided by the Committee of Management on 27 November to establish a summer only D class lifeboat station at Looe in 1992 for one season operational evaluation.


An inshore lifeboat station was established with a D Class lifeboat D-355 from the reserve fleet place on service 15 June


Relief D Class D-396 Starting Point on service until new station D Class lifeboat D-461 Spirit of the ROAC placed on service on 12 August 


A new ILB boathouse was opened at Middleton’s Corner. It was converted from one of Looe’s oldest store buildings

The Ryder returns to Looe and has been restored to her former glory. She can be seen moored alongside the Polperro Museum in the summer months


New station D class lifeboat D-574 Regina Mary was placed on service on 5 March.

D-461 has been withdrawn.


New B & D class boathouse and slipway completed at a cost of £763,297.

New station B class lifeboat B-793 Alan & Margaret was placed on service on October. 


New station D class lifeboat D-741 Ollie Naismith was placed on service on November.

D-574 has been withdrawn.


New station B Class Atlantic 85 lifeboat B-894 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II placed on service 8 September.

Atlantic 75 B-793 Alan and Margaret withdrawn into reserve fleet.


New station D Class lifeboat D-872 Ollie Naismith II placed on service 19 November.

D Class D-741 Ollie Naismith withdrawn into reserve fleet.