'Francis Forbes Barton' returns to East Kent

Lifeboats News Release

The Francis Forbes Barton is a 1896 Lifeboat built by Rutherfords of Birkenhead and served at Broadstairs from 1897 to 1912 when the station was closed.

The Francis Forbes Barton arriving at Ramsgate

RNLI/Sarah Hewes

Arriving at Ramsgate Harbour 10 February 2017
She then saw service through the Great War at North Deal before being sold out of service in 1926. She is a rare survivor - possibly the second or third oldest surviving lifeboat and has returned 'home' for a full and sympathetic restoration after which it is planned that she will go on public display near her old station in Broadstairs.

The lifeboat was transported by road from Lincolnshire, where she has rested, uncared for over the past seven years, back to a temporary home in Ramsgate Harbour on 10 February thanks to the efforts of a newly formed group of local RNLI enthusiasts, 'The Friends of Francis Forbes Barton'. She is in poor condition but with tender loving care and hopefully the support of national and local funding, she will return to her former glory thus reflecting and remembering the brave crews who manned her all those years ago both at Broadstairs and Deal.

RNLI media contacts
  • John Ray, Volunteer RNLI Press Officer, Ramsgate on 07759 480825 [email protected]
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 [email protected]
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Being hoisted from trailer

RNLI/Sarah Hewes

Being hoisted from trailer to boat park
At rest in Ramsgate after her long journey

RNLI/Sarah Hewes

In position in new temporary home for work to start

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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 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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