Angle RNLI commemorates its 150th anniversary day
A special service was held by Angle RNLI on Wednesday (November 28), 150 years to the day that the station went operational with the arrival of its first lifeboat.
The lifeboat station was established thanks to a prominent North of England philanthropist, Titus Salt junior, of Bradford. He donated £420, which was allocated towards the cost of a stone lifeboathouse and wooden slipway at Angle Point, and a ten-oared self-righting lifeboat, built at Woolfe’s Shadwell yard in London.
The new lifeboat was sent by rail to Milford Haven in November 1868 and on the 28th of that month, at Watson and Wimhurst’s shipyard in Hakin, was formally named Katherine by the Countess of Cawdor.
Afterwards, the lifeboat made ‘a long and rapid run down to the water with the crew seated, oars tossed and colours flying’ before crossing to Angle with Coxswain William Watkins in command.
Coxswain Watkins, the first of a number of members of the same family to serve as coxswains and crew members of Angle lifeboats, had to wait over four years for the lifeboat’s first call-out. This was to the brig Ercole, of Naples, in distress off St Ann’s Head. The Katherine served at Angle for 20 years, launching on service seven times and saving 22 lives.
On Wednesday, guests joined crew members, past and present, for an anniversary service conducted from the Tamar class all weather lifeboat Mark Mason, inside the Boathouse, by the Rev Josh Maynard, Team Vicar in the Rectorial Benefice of Monkton. Among those present were representatives of Pembroke Ladies Lifeboat Guild, St Govan’s and Dale Coastguard units and the Police.
Those attending were welcomed by Angle RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, Julian Hammond, who pointed out that Angle was one of the busiest lifeboat stations in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, with 60 call-outs so far this year. He paid a special tribute to the present coxswain Lewis Creese and his team of crew members.
The address was given by the Rev Maynard, who also led the prayers and gave the reading. Particularly poignant was the singing of the seafarers’ hymn ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’, as the all weather lifeboat stood ready for her next call-out. Afterwards, refreshments were served in the crewroom.
Unable to attend, because of a long-standing engagement outside the county, was former Lifeboat Operations Manager, John Allen-Mirehouse. He was represented by Mrs Rosie Allen-Mirehouse, former Deputy Launching Authority.
Mr Hammond spoke of the station’s former all weather lifeboats, the longest-serving of which was the Watson class Richard Vernon and Mary Garforth of Leeds (1957-1987), now privately owned by Angle RNLI’s Community Safety Officer, Bevis Musk. The lifeboat is berthed in Milford Marina with another veteran Watson class lifeboat Pentland, owned by one of the station’s Deputy Launching Authorities, the Rev Mike Brotherton.
Other lifeboats were: Henry Martin Harvey (1888-1906); Charlotte (1906-1910); James Stevens No.3 (1908-1915); James Stevens No.11 (1915-1919); Henry Dundas (1919-1927); Thomas Fielden (1927-1929); Elizabeth Elson (1929-1957) and The Lady Rank (1987-2009).
The present £2.7m all weather lifeboat Mark Mason arrived at the station in 2009, after three years of fundraising, including a £1.6m donation from the London-based Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.
Mr Hammond said that since 1994 the station has also had four D-class inshore lifeboats, the latest of which is SuperG II (D-776). This £41,000 lifeboat was officially named and dedicated in 2015 and was funded by The Coward Endowment, a small family trust established by the late Charles Coward in 1965.
Mr Hammond also referred to the station’s coxswains, William Watkins 1868-1887; John Watkins 1887-1906; Thomas Rees 1906-1921; Cecil Hicks 1921-1922; James Watkins 1922-1946; Alfred Watkins 1946-1957; Jim Watkins 1957-1966; Rees Holmes 1966-1981; Gerald Edwards 1981-1993; Jeremy Rees 1993 -2010; Lee Firmin (Staff Coxswain) March-September 2010; Andy Elliott 2010-2013 and Lewis Creese 2013-to date.
The longest-serving coxswain was James Watkins, who was awarded no fewer than three RNLI medals for bravery. They were: Silver Medal (Thor, December 18, 1943, saved six); Bronze Medals (Molesey, November 26, 1929, saved 28 and Walter L.M. Russ, July 16, 1945, saved nine).
Silver Medals were awarded to Major R.W. Mirehouse (Hon.Sec), Crew Member Edward Ball and Crew Member Thomas Rees (Loch Shiel, January 30, 1894, saved 27). Coxswain Rees Holmes was awarded two Bronze Medals (Dona Marika, August 5, 1973 and Cainsmore, December 1, 1978, saved three). The most recent Bronze Medal recipient is former Coxswain Jeremy Rees (Dale Princess, 1997, saved four).
RNLI media contacts: For more information please telephone Ted Goddard, Angle RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 01437 763675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key facts about the RNLI
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, in a normal year, 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.