Jan 28
Byline: Volunteer crew from the RNLI’s Barrow station today responded to an emergency request from Holyhead Coastguard to attend Walney Channel in the area of Jubilee Bridge where a young person was reported as being in the sea.
Page Content: The crew were paged directly by the Coastguard at 7-58am and the lifeboat ‘Vision of Tamworth’ was launched in seven minutes, at 8-05am, crewed by Deputy Second Coxswain Dave Kell and Paul Wilcock.   Weather conditions at the time were poor with a Force 6 wind from the northwest pushing in the same direction as the outgoing tide effectively increasing the size of the waves which were beating against the bow of the lifeboat.   Frequent rain squalls and heavy spray made visibility difficult, but nevertheless after a two mile journey, the lifeboat was within 200 yards of the shipyard slipways when a message was received to say that a 12 year old boy had managed to scramble ashore, was safe and well, and was being assisted by police and ambulance crews.   On the return journey the lifeboat was operating right at the top end of its limits as the wind was by then gusting to Force 8 with 35 knots of wind. The vessel was washed off and rehoused by 8-25am.   John Falvey, Barrow lifeboat spokesman said, “We don’t know how the 12 year old lad came to be in the water, but he was extremely lucky to have survived given the temperature of the water and the weather conditions that were prevailing at the time, the outgoing tide would have been sweeping him towards Roa Island and luckily the north westerly wind will have pushed him over to the edge of the channel where he managed to struggle ashore.”

Jan 28
Byline: Volunteer crewmen from the RNLI’s Barrow station today, Monday 19th January 2015, launched both the all weather lifeboat ‘Grace Dixon’ and the inshore lifeboat ‘Vision of Tamworth’ to go to the aid of a broken down fishing boat
Page Content: The information about the incident came from Holyhead Coastguard at 5-12pm and the lifeboat was launched at 5-25pm with Second Coxswain Jonny Long and five crew aboard.   The crew quickly travelled to the casualty vessel which was within a mile due north west of the lifeboat station. Having arrived they ascertained that the engine was disabled by an unknown fault and could not immediately be repaired and there were two persons aboard both uninjured, so it was decided to tow the vessel and occupant to Ferry Pitching. Due to the depth of water, with low tide of 1.5 metres having been at 4-57pm, 2nd Cox’n Long decided to call out the inshore lifeboat to tow the disabled vessel underneath Jubilee Bridge which would have been too shallow for the Grace Dixon.   The inshore lifeboat ‘Vision of Tamworth was launched with Paul Wilcock, Adam Cleasby and Matty Tippins aboard, and when she caught up with the all weather boat the tow was transferred.  The Grace Dixon returned to station and after safely landing casualty vessel and crew at Ferry Pitching the inshore boat also returned to station.   Both lifeboats were washed off and made ready for the next call by 6-40pm.

Jan 28
Byline: A D-Day veteran who warmed hearts the world over when he “escaped” from his care home to attend the 2014 commemorations in France has left his entire estate to the charity that saves lives at sea.
Page Content: Bernard Jordan passed away in early January, having charmed the nation with his real-life tale of derring-do in June 2014.

Following the death of his wife just seven days later, the couple’s will was executed, revealing that the couple left almost their entire estate – circa £600,000 – to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Mr Jordan, who was an elected councillor for Hove Borough Council for 34 years, made headlines the world over in 2014 when he left The Pines care home in Hove unannounced, and was reported missing to Sussex Police the same evening. He turned up days later in Normandy where he joined hundreds of other veterans of to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Dubbed “The Great Escaper” after his amazing display of pluck and determination, Bernard and Irene will now help to save lives at sea for years to come with the generous gift in their wills.

Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive, said: ‘This is absolutely wonderful, unexpected news. Bernard’s story charmed the nation last year when he journeyed from his Sussex care home to France to commemorate the D-Day landings. That spirit, that determination, is embedded deep within the psyche of our volunteer lifeboat crews who go to sea to save others in peril on the sea.

‘I am delighted that the couple chose to leave us this sizeable donation, and their contribution, like those of Bernard’s veteran peers, will never be forgotten.’

Bernard Jordan passed away in early January, leaving his entire estate to his wife Irene. She died just seven days later and left their entire estate to the charity that saves lives at sea. The RNLI believes the admiration and support for its cause stems from Bernard’s time in the Royal Navy during the Second World War – it suggests he had an affinity with people who spend time at sea.

Guy Rose, Legacy Admin Manager for the RNLI, said: ‘This is a wonderful gift from Bernard and Irene. He really made a name for himself last year and there can’t be many who weren’t touched by his story. Gifts left in wills are so valuable to the RNLI and they ensure we can continue our lifesaving work for people in, on or near the water.
‘Of course, a will is an extremely private thing. But after taking care of loved ones, even the smallest gift in a will is vital to saving lives at sea and critical to the future of the RNLI. 6 out of every 10 lifeboat launches are only made possible because of gifts in Wills, so we are extremely grateful when people support us in this way.’

The RNLI runs the Free Wills Month scheme during March and October every year which offers members of the public aged 55 years and over the opportunity to write their will for free at participating solicitors in England and Wales. For more information about gifts in Wills and Free Wills Month visit www.rnli.org/legacy

Bernard Jordan’s funeral will be held at St Michaels and All Angels Church in Brighton on Friday 30 January.

Media opportunity
Any media wishing to conduct interviews with the RNLI about Mr and Mrs Jordan’s gift in their will, should contact Tim Ash using the details below. Alternatively, the RNLI will be represented at the funeral on Friday 30 January for any media wanting interviews.
 
RNLI media contact
• Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / tim_ash@rnli.org.uk
• James Oxley, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
0207 6207425 / 07786 668825 / james_oxley@rnli.org.uk 
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Jan 27
Byline: Statistics reveal that the number of people rescued by Welsh RNLI lifeboats in 2014 is at its highest since 2006. The RNLI charity has today announced 1,244 people were rescued in 2014 - an eight per cent increase on the previous year.
Page Content:

 
EMBARGOED until 00.01 28 January 2015

 

The busiest lifeboat station in north Wales and the second busiest of all the RNLI’s 30 lifeboat stations in Wales was Rhyl.  The volunteer crew launched 61 times and rescued a total of 73 people, compared with 64 in 2013.
Martin Jones, coxswain at Rhyl lifeboat station says ‘Whilst the number of calls for our inshore lifeboat has reduced (mainly because of the below-average summer weather keeping people off the beaches), calls for our All-weather lifeboat have remained high. This is due to the large number of vessels off the Rhyl area, working on the numerous offshore windfarms. Also, the improved launch access and facilities at Rhyl harbour have seen an increase in the number of people on larger leisure boats using Rhyl as a start point for a day at sea’.

The busiest station in Wales was Porthcawl, with 73 launches.

Nicola Davies, RNLI Community Incident Reduction Manager says:

‘We are definitely seeing more people out and about visiting the beautiful Welsh coastline, whether to walk the coastal paths or take part in more adventurous activities.

‘Our message to the public has always been to visit the coast as a group, rather than go it alone. It seems our advice is hitting home. Whilst previously people may have chosen to take part in activities alone, they are now thinking twice and considering how going to the coast as a group is far safer. Consequently, more people were rescued than ever before.

‘Instead of attempting to bring themselves to safety, people are recognising the need to dial 999 much quicker and as a result our volunteer crews have been exceptionally busy.’

Of the 1,076 Welsh lifeboat launches in 2014, 584 were to leisure craft and 388 were to people requiring assistance.  Machinery failure remains the most popular cause of a lifeboat launch with 230 launches of this nature in 2014. The RNLI advises and encourages people to check their equipment before setting off, especially if it has not been used for long periods.

People becoming cut off by the tide was also a common reason for the launch of a lifeboat, with 130 call-outs to this type of incident during the year.

Nicola Davies adds:

‘The big tides of 2014 coincided with some lovely weather so people ventured to areas they possibly would not have discovered previously. By exploring that little bit further we have seen incidents of people getting cut off by the tide and requiring the help or our RNLI crews. We would encourage people to always check the weather and tides before venturing out.

‘There is still some work to be done in educating people to recognise the dangers, as our role is very much about prevention in addition to saving lives. The coastal safety team are working hard to look at the areas for concern and work on a very local level to identify what the issues are and how we can address them.’

Notes to editors
• Local contact for Rhyl RNLI crew is Deputy 2nd Coxswain / Press Officer    Paul Frost MBE via 07894 105165 or 01745 331227.

RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Press Officer on 01745 585162 / 07771 941390 or Danielle Rush, RNLI Public Relations Manager on 07786 668829.  Alternatively contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
 
A video compilation of rescues carried out by both of Rhyl’s RNLI lifeboats is available on YouTube and can be downloaded here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_eUomgQEd4




Video footage of Welsh RNLI rescues during 2014 is available to download here:

 http://rnli.org/Pages/Video-Details.aspx?VideoItemID=vYug7QVh




Jan 27
Byline: After a year that saw the charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards brave rough seas, stormy weather and rip currents to rescue 10,083 people, the RNLI is calling for the public to think ahead and never underestimate the strength and power of the sea.
Page Content:

In 2014:


• The charity’s lifeboats launched 8,462 times
• Volunteer lifeboat crew rescued 8,727 people, 368 of which were classified as lives saved*
• RNLI lifeguards attended 17,050 incidents
• 1,769 people were rescued by RNLI lifeguards, 92 of which were lives saved
• Overall, RNLI’s lifeguards helped 19,252 people both in and out of the water


Equipped and trained for any eventuality, it has been another busy year for RNLI lifesavers, with lifeboat crews launching 122 more times and rescuing 313 more people compared to 2013.


The busiest lifeboat station was Tower on the River Thames, which launched 543 times, rescuing 104 people followed by its neighbour Chiswick Lifeboat Station, which launched 219 times, rescuing 116 people.


The busiest coastal station was Poole Lifeboat Station in Dorset, which launched its lifeboats 121 times.
The most common cause for lifeboat call outs was to boats with machinery failure, which accounted for 1,652 of all launches (19.5%). Overall, 23% of total launches (1,927) were to powered pleasure craft and 19% (1,607) to sailing pleasure craft, 8% (668) were to manual pleasure craft. Commercial and fishing boats accounted for 7% of launches (610). 


RNLI lifeguards were also kept busy on the beaches around the UK and Ireland. 15.5 million people** visited RNLI lifeguarded beaches last year, and the charity’s lifeguards helped nearly 20,000 of those people. Taking to the sea to rescue people is a small proportion of a lifeguard’s job - 95% of their work is preventative. They aim to stop people getting into trouble before a rescue situation occurs by giving safety advice, putting up flags to identify the patrolled areas to swim or surf and directing people to appropriate signage. Last year the RNLI offered nearly 2.4 million of these preventative actions on their beaches.


With over 190 years of lifesaving experience, the RNLI is aiming to reduce coastal drownings by 50% by 2024. To do this the RNLI is expanding its safety programmes, like its national drowning prevention campaign called Respect the Water, and aims to save more lives by encouraging people to enjoy the beautiful coastlines of the UK and Ireland, but do so safely.


Will Stephens, RNLI Head of Community Safety said: ‘The very nature of the sea means it is unpredictable and even the most competent water users can be caught out. But it’s not just people who set out to use the water who end up in it – walkers can get caught out too as conditions can change very quickly or a trip could mean they end up in the water. We would urge people to respect the water, and never underestimate the power and strength of the sea.
‘Always be aware of the tide before taking to the water. Avoid areas where you could get swept off your feet in stormy weather and, if you’re visiting the coast, be sure to visit a lifeguarded beach during the summer months.’

In 2014 there were a number of notable call outs for lifeboat crews and lifeguards around the coast:
A 17-year-old crew member at New Quay lifeboat station proved his courage and selflessness when he slid between rocks and under water in a rising tide to free a nine-year-old girl who had become stuck between rocks while playing. Little did she know it was Tom Evans’ first service when he volunteered to squeeze between the rocks and cut her out of her wellies, allowing the rest of the crew to help pull her free.


In the north of England, two walkers were caught out by an unexpected wave which swept them into the sea at Staithes, leaving them both in fear of losing their lives. Talking to the RNLI they said: ‘It hit us like a train, and that’s the one that knocked both of us into the water… You can’t put into words our gratitude, thank you is not enough. It really isn’t. I still can’t get over that these guys put their lives at risk like that.’


During the summer, Joby Wolfenden-Brown, a lifeguard in Bude, Cornwall, paddled out on a rescue board to help a young boy who had got out of his depth and was calling for help. Once the boy was in sight, Joby called out to the boy to let him know he was on his way and reassure him he’s in safe hands.


George Rawlinson, RNLI Operations Director said: ‘RNLI volunteer lifeboat and shore crew and lifeguards have shown the commitment and courage we have come to rely on, but we must of course also thank our supporters and dedicated fundraisers, who work tirelessly to ensure our charity, which is dependent on donations from the public, can continue to keep launching our lifeboats and patrolling some of the coasts’ busiest beaches.’
*lives saved are defined as immediate risks to life, ie if the lifeboat hadn’t arrived on scene the person would not have survived


**RNLI figures


Notes to editors:
A compilation video of the RNLI rescues in 2014 is available here:

Key figures:

Lifeboats
8,462 launches.
Busiest station – Tower 543 launches
Crew spent 54,943.7 hours on rescues
121 launches in winds above force 7
3,188 launches were in darkness
8,727 people rescued
368 lives saved
1,101young people under 18 rescued
7,626 people over 18 rescued
508 launches where first aid was required.

1,652 launches to boats with machinery failure - the single biggest cause of incidents
4,415 launches to pleasure craft (includes power, sail and manual pleasure craft)
416 launches were to people cut off by the tide

Lifeguard:
RNLI lifeguards dealt with17,050 incidents.
19,353 people were helped by RNLI lifeguards
92 lives saved.
1,083 incidents involved major first aid treatment
11,884 incidents involved minor first aid treatment
Perranporth, Cornwall, was the busiest beach with 1,003 incidents

RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Kirsti Pawlowski, RNLI Public Relations Officer on 01202 663510 or kirsti_pawlowski@rnli.org.uk
RNLI online
For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press

RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Kirsti Pawlowski, RNLI Public Relations Officer on 01202 663510 or kirsti_pawlowski@rnli.org.uk
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 operate 235 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 200 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 1340,000 lives.
Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland and registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736)


Jan 18
Byline: THREE kayakers were rescued from the sea at Tynemouth this afternoon by Cullercoats and Tynemouth RNLI lifeboats, in what was Tynemouth RNLI's 2000th service since the station was founded in 1862.
Page Content: A Mayday radio distress call was made at 2.39pm by one of three kayakers whose craft had capsized just outside Tynemouth pier, leaving them fighting to stop being swept out to sea in stormy waters.

Humber Coastguard immediately requested the launch of RNLI lifeboats from Cullercoats and Tynemouth to go to the aid of the three kayakers.

The Port of Tyne pilot vessel Collingwood also rushed to the kayakers' assistance and the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were tasked to assist on shore.

Cullercoats lifeboat arrived on scene first and quickly located the three men. The volunteer RNLI crew pulled them from the sea into the lifeboat, then retrieved the kayaks.

There had been seven kayakers in the party and Tynemouth RNLI's inshore and all weather lifeboats searched the area to ensure all the others were accounted for and safe.  Once it was established that there was no-one else in difficulty or danger the three casualties and their kayaks were transferred onto the Tynemouth all weather lifeboat and returned to safety at Tynemouth's Priors Haven, where they had originally launched from.

Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said: 'One of the kayakers made a Mayday distress call using a marine VHF radio so they were well-equipped but it seems they had been caught out by the rough seas near Tynemouth pier.

'Our volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews from Cullercoats and Tynemouth worked together in what was a textbook operation, coordinated throughout by Humber Coastguard, to ensure a successful outcome to what could have been a tragedy.

'This service marked a historic milestone, as it was the 2000th time Tynemouth lifeboat station's lifeboats have been launched on service since the station was established by the RNLI in 1862.'

Ends

For More Information: Please contact Adrian Don, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07834 731833

Jan 9
Byline: Tobermory Lifeboat Station has just bid farewell to one of the RNLI’s first female Coxswains who has resigned after nearly 20 years of service.
Page Content:

Jane Griffiths joined Tobermory RNLI as a volunteer crew member in September 1996 and was appointed as a Deputy Second Coxswain in August 2004, one of the first women in the RNLI to be appointed to the position.

During more than 18 years’ service, she took part in 67 rescues, helping to save four lives and assisting numerous others in difficulty at sea. She also spent 400 hours or the equivalent of two and a half weeks on exercise.

Jane resigned from the volunteer crew shortly before Christmas due to having to spend increasing amounts of time overseas through her work as a marine scientist.

Tobermory RNLI full time Coxswain Andrew McHaffie said: ‘As well as being one of the first ever female Coxswains in the RNLI, Jane has given nearly two decades of service to saving lives at sea and she has been generous in passing on her knowledge to new members of the crew.

'She will be much missed and everyone at the station would like to wish her all the very best for the future.’

*The photograph by Sam Jones shows Jane Griffiths with the international musician Fish at Tobermory’s Lifeboat Day in 2011. 

RNLI Media Contacts: Sam Jones, Tobermory's volunteer lifeboat press officer, 07747 601900.


Dec 30
Byline: Appropriately named Teddington Helmsman, Jon Barker, was part of the RNLI crew that helped rescue a dog from a drifting narrow boat on the Thames this morning.
Page Content:

The boat was being carried downstream opposite Trowlock Island at about 9am this morning (Tuesday 30 December). All the hatches and doors were locked and with nobody on board apart from a small dog.

Jon and his other volunteer crew member James Kavanagh, saw the dog pocking its nose out of an open porthole and were quick to come to its aid.

They towed the barge back to shore where local police were waiting. The police Marine Support Unit soon arrived with a dog handler and bolt cutters and the dog was freed.

Crew Member James Kavanagh said: 'The dog was fine and delighted to be let out. We gave him some food and nicknamed him "Lucky". It was a lovely rescue to end the year.'

The dog was looked after by the police while they contacted the barge owner.

 


Dec 30
Byline: A man from Poole credited with pioneering a voluntary flood rescue team is among a handful of individuals being recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for their contribution to saving lives at sea.
Page Content: Captain Hugh Fogarty joined the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in 1984, and has been described by its Chief Executive as ‘a man of genuine humanity who cares deeply for his professional colleagues.’

Using his knowledge, expertise and powers of persuasion, he pioneered the creation of the charity’s Flood Rescue Team, which has seen many lives saved since its inception in the year 2000. 

In 2012, the team – made up of volunteers – were deployed no fewer than 12 times, rescuing 81 people and saving 6 lives. It was also in this year that the first RNLI medal for bravery was awarded to three members of the Flood Rescue Team for the rescue of a woman clinging to a tree in a swollen river in Devon.  

But it was not just flood rescue where Hugh was instrumental in driving change; his 30-year career has seen him undertake trials of lifeboats in all manner of sea conditions. Hugh was responsible for creating the operational specifications for a fast and capable fleet of lifeboats, a complex role which involved balancing strength, design and cost. 

This, so says RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier, is no mean feat: ‘It’s a huge responsibility – ensuring that lifeboats are robust enough to withstand all that nature can throw at them.

‘Hugh is held in the highest regard by the many thousands of volunteers who crew our lifeboats across the country. In the words of a well-known crew member, ‘if the boat is good enough for Hugh, it’s good enough for me.’’ 

Whilst Hugh’s responsibilities as Head of Operations (Operational Support) came with high accountability and often the need to make some critical decisions, Hugh is perhaps best known outside the RNLI for his light-hearted role as Walter Only, the mascot of the 2014 H2Only campaign where participants were challenged to drink only water for two weeks.

Walter urged participants to become ‘masters of self-control’ and raise vital funds to enable the charity to save more lives at sea. The challenge is set to return in the summer of 2015.

Paul continues: ‘Hugh has made a huge difference to the future direction of the RNLI. I am delighted he has been recognised with an MBE.’

Meanwhile, other volunteers from the charity have also been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. David Martin, from Monifieth in Dundee, has been a volunteer with the RNLI for the last 26 years, and more recently became the volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at not one, but two lifeboat stations – a feat almost unheard of in the RNLI’s 190 year history.

The role of Lifeboat Operations Manager is unpaid, yet it requires consistently effective management skills and an almost limitless commitment of time – it is the Lifeboat Operations Manager who selects and trains a crew, ensures the lifeboat is fully maintained, and authorises it for launch, often in difficult or dangerous conditions. David will receive an MBE for the difference he has made at both Broughty Ferry and Peterhead lifeboat stations.

Mike Hewitt, from Wadebridge in Cornwall, also receives an MBE for his commitment to water safety on the Camel Estuary. Mike was instrumental in persuading the RNLI to open a station at Rock, following a spate of accidents on the Estuary which Mike was often the first to respond to. The station was established in 1988 and has assisted 270 people and saved 82 lives since.

Also in Cornwall, Roy Pascoe from Mousehole will receive the British Empire Medal in recognition of his unwavering commitment to the lifeboat crew and wider community of Newlyn. Following the tragic events of 19 December 1981, where all eight crew of the lifeboat Solomon Browne were lost in a service to the stricken coaster Union Star, Roy did much to calm and reassure others in a community hit by tragedy and he has continued to provide this support, staying close to the families and acting as a constant source of wisdom, encouragement and cheerful enthusiasm for the crew.

Swansea man Steve Davies has been recognised as an inspirational speaker on the subject of sea safety, sharing his knowledge with all that he encounters in order that adults and children alike are aware of the dangers of the sea. He will be made an MBE.

Tireless fundraisers from the North of England have also been recognised – Sue Watson, 73, from Flamborough will receive the British Empire Medal in recognition of her continued commitment to raising vital funds to enable the RNLI to carry out its lifesaving work. In a small, traditional seaside village, Sue is the driving force behind a fundraising group which holds innovative and highly successful fundraising events, including the much loved Maggot Racing; Sue herself is often found at the front of the crowds of children, cheering on the racing maggots.

Meanwhile Tom Ridyard, 72, from Bolton, has been a volunteer fundraiser for the RNLI for the past two decades. In addition, he was one of the leaders of the clean-up operation at Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station following the storm and tidal surges of December 2013, ensuring the lifeboat could remain on service despite the adverse weather. He will be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).  

ENDS

Notes to editors
• Full breakdown of awards as follows:
o Hugh J Fogarty – MBE
o David Martin – MBE
o William Michael Hewitt (Mike) – MBE
o Roy Pascoe – BEM
o Stephen Davies – MBE
o Tom Ridyard – MBE
o Sue Watson – BEM
• An experienced mariner with 13 years spent in the Merchant Navy, Hugh joined the RNLI in 1984. His most recent post was Head of Operations (Operational Support) which he held from February 2013 to July 2014. 
• The British Empire Medal (BEM), recently revived by David Cameron after being phased out during John Major’s term in office, is awarded to people for work in their local community.
• The Member of the Order of the British Empire recognises distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service and work with charitable and welfare organisations of all kinds. There are five grades, as well as the recently added British Empire Medal (BEM)
o Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GBE)
o Knight Commander or Dame Commander (KBE or DBE)
o Commander (CBE)
o Officer (OBE)
o Member (MBE)

For further information, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789. 

Dec 29
Byline: A memorial service, and a wreath laying ceremony was held to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the loss of the Peterhead Lifeboat Alexander Tulloch, and 3 of its crew on service on 26th December 1914.
Page Content:

The memorial service was on Saturday 27 December at Peterhead fishmarket auction hall, near the Lifeboat Station. Joining Peterhead RNLI lifeboat volunteers at the private service were the relatives of crew who launched on service to aid the Hull registered trawler “Tom tit” on that stormy day in December 1914.

The agenda for the service was: 1pm, Service; 1.40pm, Laying of wreath from the Peterhead Lifeboat  ‘The Misses Robertson of Kintail’  just West of the New Smiths Quay to which spectators were cordially invited.

An e-mail was received from one of the relatives following the event: 
‘A huge thanks to you all for organising this wonderful tribute to my great grandfather, David Murray Strachan, and the other crew who were involved with the rescue of the Tom Tit on 26/12/1914.

I added this post to my Facebook page and thought you may like to see some of the photos I took. Feel free to share them.

Thanks again,

Teresa Strachan Clark

26/12/2014 -
‘My great grandfather, David Strachan, died as a young man 100 years ago to this day.
He was a fisherman and served as a volunteer with the RNLI Peterhead lifeboat. He lost his life affecting the rescue of the crew of a fishing boat that crashed whilst entering Peterhead harbour during a storm.
My granny, her siblings, and her mum (along with other villagers) were on the dock watching events unfold. She watched her dad drown.
Thanks to the Carnegie Trust, my great grandma was awarded a widow's pension (not a lot compared to benefits nowadays). My great grandfather was posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal for bravery.
I'm proud to have the middle name Strachan for this reason (as well as having my great grandfather's red hair).
Tomorrow afternoon, the RNLI in Peterhead have laid on a lovely memorial tribute to to my brave ancestor and to the two other men who lost their lives that day. I will be there to meet the descendants of the other families.
Below is an article published in the local newspaper following the tragedy. Very moving indeed. I sometimes feel I do a fairly risky job but I have nothing but respect for the men and women who go out on the lifeboats in perilous weather and get paid nothing for doing this. Much respect and thanks.

The story of the Hull Trawler "Tom Tit"

Extracted from 'The Buchan Observer - Tuesday 29th December, 1914'.

A calamitous disaster in which three gallant Peterhead fishermen lost their lives trying to save those of others occurred at Peterhead on Saturday forenoon. The tragedy was occasioned by a Hull trawler the Tom Tit, running ashore in a fierce southerly gale on the rock called "The Horseback," situated within a hundred yards of the entrance to the Peterhead South Harbour and it recalls to the older inhabitants of the town a similar tragedy which took place about forty years ago when a Norwegian schooner was wrecked on exactly the same place and the Peterhead men who attempted the rescue of the crew lost their lives.
Late on Friday night a strong southerly wind arose and increased in intensity until it blew with hurricane force during the night and on Saturday morning. The sea running in the South Bay on Saturday forenoon was exceptionally high, the waves breaking on the north shore of the bay and the harbour breakwater with overwhelming force, and sweeping far up the strand. To any vessel seeking shelter the harbour entrance was extremely difficult and dangerous.
Shortly before eleven o'clock forenoon the Hull trawler Tom Tit was observed making for the South harbour entrance. Her passage through the bay was watched by the people on shore with great anxiety, as it was feared that they could not make the harbour with wind and sea sweeping right across the entrance. The fears of the onlookers were realised, as the vessel was forced on to "The Horseback," the mountainous sea sweeping over her and threatening the imminent destruction of vessel and crew.
By this time a great crowd had congregated on shore, and there was gallant hearts in it ready to risk their lives for the sake of those in dire danger. One of the first was James Graneham, who attempted to swim from the shore with a line tied round his waist, but the surging waves beat him back, and he had to be pulled to shore. Lieut Currie, a Naval officer, also tried to swim out to the vessel, but was dashed upon a rock and had to give up.
Meantime the motor lifeboat Alexander Tulloch whose headquarters are within 50 yards of the scene of the wreck, had in face of the tremendous waves, managed to put out to the bay its task of trying to save the shipwrecked crew was a extremely trying one, a hurricane wind on a lee shore having to be encounter before the stranded vessel could be approached, The lifeboat succeeded in making the harbour entrance with the purpose of floating down upon the Tom Tit, but before this could be accomplished a tremendous sea caught the boat, carried her a considerable distance westwards, and dashed her upon the rocks near Corporation Bathes, which were being swept every moment by mountainous seas.
A scene of awful excitement ensued, which was witnessed by many hundreds of those on shore less than a hundred yards from the point where the lifeboat crew were battling for their lives. When the boat struck the rocks three of the crew, John Strachan, Robert Slessor, and Andrew Geddes, jumped clear into the sea, and with the assistance of men who had clambered over the rocks were hauled out of danger, but the other members of the crew, nine in number were washed out of the boat into the boiling waters of the bay, and were rapidly carried along by the Smith Embankment. William Cameron a young man, who got entangled in the boat, was rescued in an injured condition, and a man supposed to be David Strachan was washed into a pool in the rocks known as "Bobbie's Hole" and Lieutenant Wells, a Naval man jumped into the water several times grasped the body, but it was carried away by the heavy backwash. Strachan was floating with his head downwards, and probably had been rendered unconscious by coming to contact with the rocks when the boat struck.
Meantime many helpers had hurried to the south end of the Smith Embankment to which the drowning men were being carried by the waves. James Cameron coxswain of the lifeboat was seen floating on his back and grasping an oar, and the rescuing party succeeded in picking him up and conveying them with all haste to a house in Kirk Street. James Imlach, a young fisherman residing at 8 Stuart Street with a rope tied around his waist, gallantly jumped from the embankment, and in exceedingly trying and dangerous circumstances, grasped William Buchan, and swam with him to the Embankment steps, where both were lifted from the water and conveyed home. Buchan was greatly exhausted Imlach severely injured, but both are progressing favourably. Another member of crew was washed ashore with a lifebelt on, and he was carried into a house in Charlotte Street. James Geddes jun. a powerful young fisherman was next pulled from the raging waves. His body was also encased in a lifebelt but he was quite unconscious. Dr Gillespie and Dr. Smith did everything to restore animation by artificial respiration, but it was beyond their power. The body was taken to a relatives house in Merchant Street, close to the spot where the tragedy occurred. The poor fellow died under the eyes of several relatives, and his father broke down when he knew his gallant son was beyond human aid.
By this time it was found that all the crew of twelve had been accounted for, except David Strachan and Thomas Adams, both residing at Roanheads. Three brave Peterhead fishermen have thus sacrificed their lives to save others, and quite a gloom has been cast over the fishing community by the unexpected and sudden calamity. The three men drowned were in the prime of life, being all about 30 years of age. Strachan and Adams were married, and leave wives and families; while James Geddes, jun. resided with his father James Geddes. skipper of the local tugboat Flying Scud. Geddes was descended from a seafaring family, and a prophetic circumstances is that one of his brothers was drowned about a year ago from the streamer Inveresk.
On Saturday afternoon the wind veered to the west, and the gale subsided. A strict outlook was kept on the south shore, and the body of Thomas Adams was washed ashore and conveyed to his house in Roanheads. The crew of the Tom Tit were all safety landed in the breeches buoy.
The motor lifeboat has been completely smashed. It was a comparatively new boat having been built two years ago at a cost of £3000. She was one of the best types of lifeboat in Scotland.
The Tom Tit lies where she stranded and has become a complete wreck.
The Lost and Saved
The following are the names of the men who were lost:
Thomas Adams, 64 Roanheads, who leaves a wife and family.
David Murray Strachan, 71 Roanheads, who leaves a wife and four of a family.
James Geddes, jun. 47 Roanheads, unmarried.
Thoses who were saved:
James Cameron, (Coxswain) 59 Roanheads.
John Strachan, 39 North Street.
Robert Slessor, jun. 29 Roanheads.
John Davidson, engineer, 7 Threadneedle Street.
William Buchan, 31 Roanheads.
Peter Geddes, 2 Seagate.
Andrew McLean, 66 Roanheads.
William Cameron, 28 James Street.
Charles Cameron, 28 James Street.
Yesterday the scene of the disaster was visited by a large number of spectators. The gale has entirely subsided and a nights sharp frost had quietened the sea. The stranded trawler remains fast on the rock, and the battered motor lifeboat is lying near the spot where she struck. The body of David Murray has not yet been found. The funerals of the other two will take place to-day.

The words of the plaque:

In memory of the three lifeboat men
who lost their lives on the
26th December, 1914
David Strachan
Thomas Adams Geddes
James Geddes (Junior)
The Lifeboat "Alexander Tulloch"
was launched in a severe south east gale
on service to the Hull Trawler "Tom Tit"
which had grounded on the horseback rock
that lay close to the harbour entrance.’

RNLI media contacts:
For more information please telephone David Anderson, Peterhead RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07850 956130 or phdlifeboatlpo@aim.com