Commemoration of the 1899 RNLI Aldeburgh lifeboat disaster

Lifeboats News Release

120 years ago, on 7 December 1899, seven lifeboatmen lost their lives when the lifeboat Aldeburgh capsized, while launching to a report of a ship that had run aground.

RNLI/Caron Hill

RNLI Aldeburgh lifeboat the 'Aldeburgh' in 1899

The weather was appalling that morning, with extremely heavy seas, which battered the lifeboat as it was attempting to launch. It finally capsized, with 12 lifeboatmen surviving (although one lifeboatman who was pulled out alive, succumbed to his injuries three months later), with one Augustus Mann believing his lucky escape was due to the three acorns he carried in his pocket for good luck.

Unfortunately six were trapped under the boat and it proved too difficult to rescue them. The coxswain at that time, James Cable, said: 'That was a sad day for Aldeburgh and will never be forgotten.'

To commemorate this disaster, Aldeburgh lifeboat station’s current all-weather lifeboat, the Freddie Cooper, will be launched at 11.30am on Saturday 7 December, the approximate time of the launching of the Aldeburgh.

On Sunday 8 December, there will be a service at 10.30am at St Peter’s and St Paul’s church in Aldeburgh.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone :-

  • Caron Hill, Aldeburgh RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, 07837 263210 email [email protected]

  • Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer (North and East), 01642 790636 / 07824518641/ [email protected]

or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.