Arbroath RNLI - looking back, this month in 1932

Lifeboats News Release

As our current lifeboat station building celebrates its 90th birthday this year, we take a look back in time with RNLI volunteer William Swankie.

Arbroath RNLI

Extract from William Swankie's diary of March 1932

Photographed is an extraction from William’s diary, where he recorded his daily activities both on land and at sea.

On 7th March 1932, he wrote of attending the lifeboat for the first launch trials from the new station, in what would have undoubtedly been very exciting times for the town.

William Swankie went on to become a decorated Coxswain of Arbroath RNLI from 1935-1952. In this time a bronze Medal was awarded to William for going to the assistance of the barge ‘Foremost’ of Aberdeen, which was being attacked by a German aircraft on 9 February 1940. Despite machine gun fire and bombs the lifeboat rescued the seven survivors and landed them at Arbroath. Coxswain Swankie was also awarded the British Empire Medal.

Tragically William’s son, William Swankie Jr, was lost in the Arbroath lifeboat disaster it 1953, along with five other galant Arbroath men.

There are still strong ties between Arbroath lifeboats and the Swankie family to this day, as William’s grandson Ian and great-grandson Neil are staunch volunteers for the charity in their roles as Deputy Launch Authority and 2nd Coxswain respectively.

#RNLI #OneCrew #SavingLivesAtSea #ProudOfOurCrowd

Arbroath RNLI

Coxswain's board at Arbroath lifeboat station (William Swankie 1935 - 1952)

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.