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144 Years ago - RNLI Clacton had its first ‘shout’

Lifeboats News Release

On this day, 23 May 1878, RNLI Clacton’s first volunteer lifeboat crew launched for the first time – some 144 years ago.

Illustration of Clacton's first lifeboat 'Albert Edward' launching in 1878

RNLI/Mark Walsham

Illustration of Clacton's first lifeboat 'Albert Edward' launching in 1878

The brig Garland' laden with 500 tons of coal, bound from South Shields to London, went ashore on the Gunfleet Sands, about SSW of Clacton's Pier, in the early part of the morning.

With the wind blowing hard, and although no signals of distress were hoisted by the brig (owing to her having none on board), the representatives of the local committee considered it necessary for the lifeboat to launch to her, feeling almost sure that she would not come off the sands again, and that the crew must leave her.

The Albert Edward was launched at about 10am, and reached the brig about 1pm, and found her fast filling with water, and breaking up. About 3pm, the crew, six men and three boys abandoned her, and were safely landed at Clacton, at 5pm.

A large crowd of people were on the pier ready to welcome the return of the lifeboat.

Today, some 144 years later, the station remembers their first volunteer crew, lifeboat Albert Edward and their first shout for Clacton-on-Sea. These first crews were to set the scene for scores of volunteer crew members to follow in their footsteps and continue to save lives at sea.

Volunteer Press officer, Mark Walsham commented: 'We honour the bravery of the first ever volunteer crew in Clacton and their first shout 144 years ago. The Albert Edward had yet to have its naming ceremony when called upon but was later conducted on the 10 July 1878.

'It is that spirit that persists in our volunteer crews today as it did back then, that we are ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week to launch to aid anyone who may be in trouble on our seas.'

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact:
Mark Walsham, RNLI Clacton volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07468511158, or,
[email protected]

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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