Couple rescued by Dungeness RNLI in 1959 visit the station over 60 years later

Lifeboats News Release

Allen and Doreen Saunders visited Dungeness lifeboat station on Friday 26 August on their wedding anniversary to commemorate the RNLI rescuing them 63 years ago.

Allen and Doreen Saunders

A photo taken in 1959 of the 4 in the dinghy awaiting rescue

The lifeboat at the time was the Mabel E Holland and was coxswained by George Tart, a member of a local fishing family. Allen and Doreen, who were yet to be married at the time of the rescue, were swept out to sea in a dinghy along with two friends.

The four were very concerned for their fate whilst they were swept out to sea and the couple advised that one of them waved a red shirt at passing planes. Later, once they were rescued, Coxswain George Tart advised that that is how the RNLI were notified that they were in need of rescue.

Allen and Doreen reflected on their memories of being taken back to the Coxswain’s house to await medical attention and stayed overnight until they travelled back home the next day.

Whilst at station, being guided by volunteer crew Natalie Adams, the couple were able to find their rescue information on the boards showing a ‘rubber dinghy’ rescue on 12th July 1959 – people rescued – 4.

The station were also lucky enough to be sent a photo that was taken by a Dungeness RNLI crew member in 1959 of the 4 people on the dinghy just before they boarded the lifeboat.


Natalie Adams, volunteer crew at Dungeness RNLI says: ‘It was fantastic to have Allen and Doreen pop by the station today and share their story. Our station has an incredible history and to be able to speak to a couple whose lives were saved by our predecessors 60 + years ago has been very awe inspiring. Allen and Doreen would be welcome back any time.’

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For more information please telephone Sarah Beck, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07956615429 or [email protected] or Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785296252 or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.


Allen and Doreen Saunders

A clipping taken from The Express newspaper in 1959

Allen and Doreen Saunders

Allen and Doreen take a look at today's lifeboat, a Shannon class

Allen and Doreen Saunders

Allen spotting his rescue on the wall boards

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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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