Mary Stanford Lifeboat Memorial Service takes place in Rye Harbour

Lifeboats News Release

The Mary Stanford Lifeboat Memorial Service took place on Sunday 20 November at The Church of the Holy Spirit at Rye Harbour.

RNLI/Stephen Griffin

The Mayor of Rye, Cllr Jonathan Breeds, lays a wreath at the Mary Stanford Memorial

On the morning of 15 November 1928 the Rye Harbour lifeboat, the Mary Stanford, was launched in heavy seas to aid the stricken cargo ship SS Alice but capsized with the loss of all 17 crew members. The effect on this close-knit community will never be forgotten.

The disaster is still the largest loss of life from one lifeboat in the RNLI's history and the average age of the crew was only 29 years old.

The service was conducted by Canon David Frost, Rector of Rye, to a congregation which included lifeboat crew volunteers from Rye Harbour and Hastings, and had standing room only, as it was so well attended.

A wreath laying ceremony and act of remembrance took place in the graveyard afterwards and the Mayor of Rye, Councillor Jonathan Breeds, placed one of the wreaths which was followed by a rendition of 'The Last Post’.

The service served to remind everyone all of the bravery and dedication of all lifeboat crews who often risk their lives to save others.

RNLI media contacts

  • Steve Griffin, RNLI Rye Harbour Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
    07710 297606/

  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/South East/East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 /

  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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