Station history

This station was established by the Institution in 1869 to give assistance to vessels in distress on the north and east sides of Weymouth Bay. Cost of establishment of station defrayed by the Earl Strafford.

1825

Silver Medal awarded to Owen Lloyd, a coastguard, for rescuing the mate of the Vigilant wrecked at Lulworth Cove, Dorset on 14 December 1825. The Master, four men and two boys of the Vigilant drowned.

1842

Silver Medal awarded to John Hansford for rushing into the breakers and rescuing two men from the wrecked brig Amyntas on 30 November 1841.

1857

Silver Medal awarded to Pierre Picard, Master of a fishing smack, in acknowledgement of his gallant conduct in rescuing the crew of three and two passengers from the smack Dart which, during squally weather, foundered in Portland Bay on 8 March 1857.

1861

Silver Medals awarded to William Flann and Joseph White in recognition of their gallant services when they put out in a boat and rescued the crew of five from the schooner Norval, which was wrecked on Chesil Beach, Portland, during gale force winds on 30 December 1860.

1869

Lifeboat house constructed at a cost of £189 and slipway £136. Agnes Harriet began service, costing £275.

1887

Bell provided for assembling the crew. Friern Watch (ON141) began service, at a cost of £347.

1890

Silver Medals, accompanied by a copy of the vote inscribed on Vellum, to Frank Perry and Frederick Carter for gallantry in saving one of two men whose boat had been capsized in Weymouth Bay in a strong east breeze and a heavy surf on 26 May 1890. The two lads, one of whom was 16 and the other 11 years of age, were in another boat in smooth water and on observing the casualty, immediately rowed out to the rescue, incurring imminent risk of their boat being either swamped or capsized in the broken water.

1895

Mortar supplied to replace bell.

1897

Arrangements made locally for a tug to tow the lifeboat out of the harbour on service. A minimum charge of £3 during day and double at night.

1903

Friern Watch (ON513) began service at a cost of £1,023.

1915

When the lifeboat was launched to the armed trawler Killdeer on 17 August, several soldiers went out in the boat to complete the crew.

One man washed overboard on service on 1 January but was fortunately recovered.

1921

Station adapted for a motor lifeboat at a cost of over £5,000.

1924

The station’s first motor lifeboat was placed on service, Samual Oakes (ON651), at a cost of £7156.

1926

Coxswain Tizard and Assistant Mechanic Duigman were accidentally drowned in their small boat. Committee of Management made a grant to the local fund.

1929

The Lady Kylsant, (ON721) gift of the Royal Mail and Union Castle SS Companies, was one of the three motor lifeboats to be presented to the Institution by leading shipping companies in response to the appeal made by the then Prince of Wales, subsequently Duke of Windsor.

1930

The Lady Kylsant was withdrawn as it was found that the stormy tides and heavy gales made necessary a more powerful type of boat.  She was replaced by a larger and more powerful type lifeboat (the 51ft Barnett), William and Clara Ryland (ON735).

1944

On 13 October 1944 the Weymouth lifeboat launched to assist an American tank landing craft manned by Royal Navy personnel in difficulty off Chesil Beach in a severe gale and rough seas. HMCG personnel on shore also deployed the life saving apparatus. Coastguard Robert Treadwell and the Coastguard Inspector, Commander J.R. Pennington Legh DSC, RN (Retd) were washed into the sea and drowned.

1948

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Frederick J Palmer for the rescue of three people from the yacht Mite on 6 June 1948. The lifeboat was out in very heavy weather for 11 hours on a long and arduous service.

1949

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Frederick J Palmer and Bronze Medal to Motor Mechanic J McDermott for the rescue of four people from an old dockyard steam tug HLS 161 on 2 April 1949. The sea was rough, there was heavy driving rain and dense banks of fog. When the tug was found, she was broadside on to the dangerous Chesil Beach and not more than 50 yards from it.

1957

Frank Spiller Locke (ON939) comes into service, costing £38,500.

1961

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain F J Palmer for saving the vessel Vectis Isle and her crew on 1 January. The vessel had been forced from her anchorage on to rocks by the strong south-south-westerly gale and was in danger of being broken up by the sea. The lifeboat Frank Spiller Locke towed her off the rocks and into safe anchorage in Weymouth harbour.

1965

Bronze Medal awarded to crew member Donald Laker, and The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum collectively to the Coxswain and crew and Letters of Appreciation to Mr E A Hall, Mr D S Southcombe and Dr E J Gordon Wallace in connection with the service on 29 May 1965, when the yacht Dehra and her crew of five were saved. Mr Laker swam to the yacht with a line and was severely bruised when the yacht was caught by heavy swell and he was thrown across the deck. Two other people on board the yacht were injured and a signal was sent that medical assistance was required. Dr Gordon Wallace, with Mr Hall and Mr Southcombe then went to their help in a Boston Whaler. Despite his injuries, Mr Laker insisted on carrying on with his lifeboat duties. There was a strong gusting to gale force north easterly breeze with a short choppy sea.

1967

Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution awarded to the coxswain and crew in recognition of the services on 23/24 January 1967, when the catamaran Ranger of Essex with her crew of two was saved in a strong west-south-west breeze.

A Certificate on Vellum awarded to Dr E J Gordon Wallace in recognition of his services on 19 June 1967 when he was winched from the lifeboat into a Gemini craft so that he could be taken to the yacht Bilberry in the shortest possible time where two men had been overcome by carbon monoxide fumes. During the winching operation the winch stuck and Dr Gordon Wallace and the helicopter crewman were stranded in mid-aid for a short time.

1968

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, awarded to Bowman B A C Legge in recognition of his courage and initiative when he jumped from the lifeboat to the yacht Frances Helen, which was rolling and pitching heavily in a very rough sea and breaking swell near the Lulworth Bank to secure a tow-line.

1969

A Centenary Vellum awarded.

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Dr E J Gordon Wallace, Chairman and Honorary Medical Adviser in recognition of his courage when he went afloat in the lifeboat and boarded the mv Burga one mile west-north-west of Portland Bill Light under the most hazardous conditions to attend a woman who was dangerously ill on 23 November. Framed letters of thanks signed by the Chairman were sent to Coxswain Alfred T Pavey and the other seven members of the lifeboat crew.

1972

Bronze Medal for Gallantry awarded to Coxswain Alfred T Pavey in recognition of his courage, determination and seamanship when the yacht Nomis and her injured crew of one was saved in a south-south-easterly wind and a very rough sea nine miles south-west-by-west of Portland Bill Light on 4/5 February 1972. Bowmen Bertie Legge was accorded the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum in recognition of his courage when he jumped from the lifeboat onto the yacht to connect a towline, and to Dr Jeremy Parkinson, the Honorary Medical Adviser. The doctor also boarded the yacht under the most hazardous conditions to attend the injured man.

1976

Medal service. Second Coxwain Pitman awarded silver medal with six individual vellums awarded to the crew. Two of the six crew were not RNLI, but local fishermen taken along to make up the crew numbers. 

TonyVandervell (ON1049) comes into service.

1977

Silver Medal for Gallantry awarded to Second Coxswain Victor James Pitman in recognition of his courage, determination and seamanship when the lifeboat under his command saved the yacht Latifa and her crew of eight which was in difficulties one and a half miles south of the East Shambles buoy in a west-south-westerly hurricane and phenomenal seas on 14 October 1976. The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to the other members of the lifeboat crew.

1978

The Thanks of the Institution accorded to Second Coxswain Victor James Pitman in recognition of his skill and determination during the rescue of two of the crew of the yacht Sartorious which went aground in Warbarrow Bay when he proceeded ashore in the lifeboat's inflatable dinghy to render first aid to a seriously injured man who was lying on the lower part of the cliff at Warbarrow Tout and assisted in his transfer to the lifeboat in the darkness of the early hours of 24 September.

1985

The Thanks of the Institution accorded to Coxswain Victor James Pitman in recognition of his seamanship and determination when the Tony Vandervell lifeboat rescued the crew of five and saved the yacht Vagrant Gypsy in a strong west-south-westerly gale and a rough confused sea on 11 August.

1986

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Second Coxswain Christopher William Tett in recognition of his courage and tenacity when he rescued a severely injured man from Weymouth Harbour who was in great danger of drowning in very cold seas on 31 March.

1988

Bronze Medal for Gallantry awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Derek John Sargent in recognition of his courage, skill and leadership when the lifeboat Tony Vandervell rescued five of the crew of the catamaran Sunbeam Chaser, which was in difficulties with engine and steering problems 12 miles south of Portland Bill, and escorted her safely into Weymouth in a westerly storm and heavy breaking seas in the darkness of the early hours of 16 October 1987.

1991

A first-floor extension to the boathouse was recently completed providing toilet and washing facilities.

1995

Atlantic 21 class lifeboat sent to station on 29 June.

1996

Work was carried out on the demolition of the old Ferrymans Hut and Mast Store and the construction of a new B class boathouse and slipway, plus a new mast store. Internal alteration works are currently being carried out on the main boathouse in order to provide improved crew facilities.

1998

Atlantic 75 class lifeboat sent to station on 18 May. Slipway extension was completed in July.

2002

A new Severn Class Lifeboat Ernest and Mabel (ON1261) was placed on service.

2003

Her Majesty The Queen, in the recent New Years Honours, has honoured Derek John Sargent, lately Station Honorary Secretary, for services to the Institution.

A new pontoon berth completed in April at a cost of £130,000.

MEDAL RECORD

Fourteen Medals have been awarded, nine silver and five bronze the last being voted in 1988.

WAR RECORD 1939-1945

Launches on service 23
Lives rescued 22