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Dungeness RNLI presented with artefact in commemoration of 90-year anniversary

Lifeboats News Release

Saturday 9 September 2023 is the 90-year anniversary of the naming ceremony of ex-RNLI lifeboat the Charles Cooper Henderson; one of 19 RNLI lifeboats that were used during WW2 to evacuate the allied troops from Dunkirk.

RNLI/Sarah Beck

Bob and Susan Jones with RNLI Dungeness volunteers and their gift alongside the station's model of the boat

The Charles Cooper Henderson had her naming ceremony and first launch 90 years ago at 3.00pm on the 9 September 1933. During her 43 years of active service, she took part in 171 rescues and saved 63 lives.

As part of the Dunkirk Little Ships fleet assisting with the war efforts, the Charles Cooper Henderson was manned by naval ratings and was used to evacuate allied troops from Dunkirk. No further details are known as to what happened to her in Dunkirk, but when she returned, she was damaged and required repairs.

After coming out of RNLI service in 1976, the Charles Cooper Henderson was renamed and sold where she has had a number of names and owners, using her for various purposes such as a coastguard vessel, motor yacht and even a floating classroom for a language school in France.

In 2011, the vessel was acquired by the Dunkirk Little Ship Restoration Trust where, over the next 5 years, she was lovingly restored by a dedicated team of volunteers.

One such volunteer was Bob Jones, who visited the station today at 3.00pm with his wife Susan to present the current crew of Dungeness with a gift. The date and time of their visit marking the same date and time 90 years ago. Their visit was organised by Station Historian John Poole who has worked tirelessly on station documents and archives in recent months and whose efforts should be commended.

The gift was an original scupper from the Charles Cooper Henderson, aptly presented in a wooden stand made to replicate the structure of the hull of the original boat using old methods and materials.

Bob and Susan have been good friends of the station for many years and have kept in touch with us with regard to the history of the station and the boat. We thank them both wholeheartedly for such a kind gesture and to all three of them for their tremendous efforts.

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Vicky Morgan, says:

‘It was such a pleasure to have Bob and Susan with us today on this important anniversary and to present us with such an important representative piece for the station was very special. This artefact will be positioned alongside our model of the Charles Cooper Henderson and will be a great talking point for our visitors. It commemorates our station’s rich history perfectly.’

In recent years, the Charles Cooper Henderson has now been sold on under new ownership and is believed to be undergoing structural repairs.

If you are interested in volunteering for Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat Station, we have a number or roles available both afloat and shore based. Please contact the station on 01797 320317 or [email protected] if you would like to take on a new challenge and become part of the charity that saves lives at sea.

Notes to Editors

· Dungeness lifeboat station has been running since 1826.

· The station received the first Shannon-class lifeboat in the RNLI fleet – The Morrell

· The station is famous for its Lady Launchers, local women and wives of the crew who helped launch the lifeboat in the 1950s.


RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Sarah Beck, Dungeness Lifeboat Press Officer on [email protected] or 07956 615429, Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296252 or [email protected] or alternatively, Regional Media Manager Julie Rainey on 07827 358256 or [email protected]. RNLI Press Office is available 24/7 365 days a year on 01202 336789.

RNLI/Sarah Beck

Coxswain Jason Adams and Station Historian John Poole unveiling the gift

RNLI/Sarah Beck

Bob and Susan Jones with Coxswain, Jason Adams, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Vicky Morgan and Station Historian, John Poole

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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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.