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Peterhead's station history

WAR RECORD 1939 - 1945

Launches 58
Lives rescued 414


The men of Peterhead have been awarded 21 Medals, one Gold, 11 Silver and nine Bronze, the last being voted in 1943.

Peterhead lifeboat station been operating since 1865. The current Peterhead Lifeboat Station, the third built, was opened in 1999 and is staffed by one full-time RNLI employee. The Lifeboat, a Tamar class RNLB Misses Robertson of Kintail, is berthed approximately 100 metres away.


Silver Medals awarded to Mr John Sutter, Mr A Mackintosh and Mr J Wallace for the rescue of two men from a fishing boat in August.


Silver Medal awarded to Lieut A Sims RN, Chief Officer of Coastguard for the rescue of four men by Manby Rocket Apparatus of the sloop Fraser that went aground near Peterhead on 28 September.


Silver Second Service Clasp awarded to Lieut A Sims RN for the rescue of seven people by Manby Rocket Apparatus from the schooner Helen that was wrecked near Peterhead on 13 October.


Silver Medal awarded to John Gray, Master of the ship Eclipse for rescuing the Master and 45 men from the Perseverance wrecked on the coast of Greenland on 3 May.  The Master and 45 men took to the ice from where Capt Gray took them off and distributed them among other ships to be brought home.


Silver Medals awarded to Mr Godfrey Beatson and to Mr Alexander Forbes for rescuing at considerable risk 11 out of 14 of the crew of the ship Genoa wrecked in a heavy gale on Rattray Brigg Rocks on 12 April.


Lifeboat house constructed at a cost of £120.


A Vellum awarded to Mr William Boyd on leaving Peterhead after having been Honorary Secretary for 30 years.

A decision was made that the crew of a tug should receive the same rewards as the crew of the lifeboat when a tug operates with the lifeboat. In severe weather the lifeboat is to be launched and kept ready in the harbour. It was agreed that the Harbour Commissioners should be paid £10 per annum for coal consumed when fires of a tug were banked up for purposes of the lifeboat in severe weather.


Lifeboat house reconstructed and enlarged.


Slipway into South Harbour removed and lifeboat kept afloat.


A decision was made to form a second station to the westward of the south harbour. Estimated for construction of lifeboat house and slipway £2,000. In order to obtain site for the second station five tenement houses, which fronted the site, were purchased at a cost of £445.


The first motorized lifeboat placed on service.


Number two lifeboat totally wrecked on the Horseback during a full south-south-easterly gale on 26 December when on service to the minelayer Tom Tit. Three of the crew of 12 were drowned, they were Second Coxswain James Geddes, Thomas Geddes and David Strachan. Committee of Management voted £600 to the local fund and Carnegie Fund made weekly contributions to dependants. (The crew of the vessel Tom Tit were rescued by rocket apparatus.)


Safety gas lamps fitted to lifeboat house.

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain J Cameron for the service to ss Kiev of Odessa wrecked at Rattray Briggs on 28 October in a strong southerly gale and very heavy sea. After a prolonged search in intense darkness the casualty was found and 60 people were taken into the lifeboat. On the return journey a small boat holding 14 more survivors was taken in tow.


The Russian Volunteer Fleet sent £550 to the Institution in recognition of service to ss Kiev.

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain J Cameron for rescuing 41 people from two vessels the ss Tregarth and the ss Boscastle showing distress signals in South Bay on 2/3 April in a strong east by south gale with very heavy seas and snow.


There was a fire in the lifeboat house; no great damage was done.

Member of crew Charles Cameron died as a result of illness aggravated by exposure and accident on service in 1914 to the minelayer Tom Tit. Committee of Management made a grant to the widow.


Crewman Charles Cameron died from the effects of a service to the Mine layer Tom Tit.


A member of crew was washed out of lifeboat whilst on service but was recovered.

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain John Strachan and the Bronze Medal to Motor Mechanic David Wiseman for the rescue of nine men from the trawler Struan grounded at Scotstown Head on a dark, cold night with thick haze on 18 January. Showing conspicuous courage, determination and magnificent seamanship, on the third attempt, made it alongside the casualty and succeeded in rescuing all nine men. During this service, the coxswain was washed overboard but was hauled aboard again.


Gold Medal awarded to Coxswain John B McLean, Silver Medal to Mechanic David Wiseman and Bronze Medals to Alexander Hepburn, William Strachan, Alexander Strachan, William Summers, Alexander Gowans and George Cordiner, when on 23-26 January the lifeboat rescued the crew of 44 of the ss Runswick, 26 crew of the ss Fidra and 36 crew of the ss Saltwick. During the whole of this period south-south-easterly gales were blowing, with blinding snow storms and tempestuous seas. In intense darkness the crew, in a series of arduous and exhausting services, and at great personal risk displayed high courage, splendid seamanship, great determination and endurance having in 75 hours less than 12 hours rest.


Bronze Medal awarded to Acting Coxswain Captain James Winter when on 15 December the lifeboat rescued the crew of 12 of the trawler Loch Wasdale that was wrecked on the Skerry Rocks in heavy seas and a strong south-south-easterly wind. The success of the service was due principally to the intrepid courage and skill of Captain Winters who had not been to sea for some years and at 69 years of age took the lifeboat alongside the casualty that now had her stern under water with seas breaking over, and took off 12 men just before she sank.


Former coxswain, John R Strachan, died at the age of 82; he was a Silver Medallist. He served in the Peterhead lifeboat for 48 years and helped in the rescue of 364 lives. He was coxswain from 1922-1937.

Motor Mechanic David Wiseman retired on reaching the age limit.  He was a Silver and Bronze Medallist. He was appointed in 1923 and previously had been motor mechanic from 1915-1919 and assistant mechanic 1920-1923.


Former coxswain, J B McLean, died at age 62. He was coxswain 1937-1954, during which period he was awarded the Gold Medal and 439 lives were rescued. He was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Vellum in 1951 for diving fully clothed into the sea to rescue an eight year old girl.


A Centenary Vellum awarded to station.


The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain/Mechanic John Buchan in recognition of his skill and seamanship when the lifeboat rescued the crew of seven of the oil rig supply vessel Smit Lloyd 47 which went aground on the west shore of Peterhead Harbour off Refuge in a strong easterly gale and very rough seas on 19 January.


Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain/Mechanic John B McLean in recognition of the seamanship and devotion to duty displayed by him when the lifeboat Royal British Legion Jubilee, on temporary duty at Peterhead, stood close by the fishing vessel Constant Star aground on the Skerry Rocks whilst the crew of eight were rescued by helicopter in a northerly gale and heavy seas in the early hours of 27 August.


New berth and shore facility completed in May. 


Probationary Crew Member Stephen Ritchie awarded the Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Vellum for saving the life of a man by jumping into the harbour to rescue him in the early hours of 5 January 2005. The inshore lifeboat subsequently recovered the body of a second man who had also fallen into the cold water.


The new station Tamar class lifeboat ON1282 The Misses Robertson of Kintail was placed on service on 28 April. Shonaig Macpherson CBE, Trustee of The Robertson Trust, officially named the lifeboat at a ceremony on 11 May. The Robertson Trust funded this lifeboat in memory of three sisters Agnes, Babs and Elspeth. This marks the start of a new era in the RNLI and follows many years of development and trials. ON1282 is the first Tamar to be placed on service in Scotland and the second, (along with Tenby who also had a Tamar class lifeboat placed on service on this date) in the UK. Tyne class lifeboat ON1127 Babs & Agnes Robertson has been withdrawn to the Relief Fleet.