In memory of Martyn Smith

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of a dear RNLI friend and colleague, Martyn Smith.
Martyn Smith

Photo: Nigel Millard

Martyn Smith 

In his time with the RNLI, Martyn worked as Divisional Inspector in the East, Ireland and the Isle of Man, before coming to work in Operational Policy. Martyn was a well-known and popular member of staff with his jovial manner and a deep love and respect for the volunteers and full-time staff on the coast.  

His great sense of humour meant that he was on the receiving end of much friendly ribbing. His strong Essex accent left nobody in doubt of where he came from and he was a proud Englishman. Martyn had a love of rugby and he spent his last weekend at home watching his beloved England play Wales, surrounded by friends and family.  

On moving to Ireland and declaring himself a ‘fish out of water’ he endeared himself to his new colleagues and the RNLI volunteers and staff on the Irish coast, by becoming what the locals referred to as ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’, settling in Tallanstown County Louth and embracing the best of Irish culture and hospitality. However, he never forgot his time in the east, often sharing many stories and anecdotes, some sad and many happy ones of his time there.

Wherever Martyn went or settled he had the great gift of making people feel appreciated and important. He was immensely proud of working for the RNLI and of his time spent in the Navy. He met the Queen and two Irish Presidents while working for the RNLI and he took great delight in regaling everyone with his stories. Martyn’s stories were legendary, and he relished telling them, his enthusiasm infectious.

He fought his illness with great courage and determination and when he received the news that his time was short, he filled his remaining days with calls and visits from friends, staff and lifeboat crew in his regions. He is survived by his beloved wife Rachel, his brother Duncan and his many friends and family.

Personally, I worked closely with Martyn since he joined the RNLI in 1994. We were both young lifeboat inspectors at the time, determined to make a difference and support our operations on the coast. With Rachel’s support, he immersed himself in the RNLI, totally committed to his work, forming enduring, loyal relationships with so many people, volunteers and staff alike. We became firm friends over the years, I always admired his entertaining quick wit and his profound maritime professionalism. He was a trusted colleague and dear friend, we were all lucky to know him.

He has left an incredible legacy in the RNLI. The affection with which he is held by all who knew him is a great testament to the man. He has left us too soon, but he has left us with wonderful memories.

George Rawlinson

Operations and Safety Director