Appledore Lifeboat Station
|Appledore Lifeboat Station|
|RNLI lifeboat station|
|Location||Jubilee Road, EX39 1SA|
|Founded||First station 1825
Current building 2001
|Owner||Royal National Lifeboat Institution|
|Visitation||Classed as an Discover station|
Appledore Lifeboat Station is the base for Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) search and rescue operations at Appledore, Devon in the United Kingdom. The first lifeboat was stationed in the town in 1825 and the present station was opened in 2001. It operates a Tamar-class all weather boat (AWB) and an Atlantic 75 B Class inshore lifeboat (ILB).
The Bideford District Association of the Royal National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck (as it was then known) introduced a lifeboat service in February 1825. The boat was kept in the King's Watch House at Appledore. In 1831 the work was taken over by the Devon Humane Society and they built a new boat house at Watertown, half a mile nearer the sea. This was large enough for two boats and a second one arrived in December that year but in 1848 was transferred to a second boat house at Braunton Burrows on the opposite side of the estuary. It was easier to launch from here to help ships on that side of the water but crews for lifeboats at Braunton Burrows always came from Appledore. A third station was built at Northam Burrows to the west of Appledore in 1851. This was expanded to house a second boat in 1856 and the old boat house at Watertown eventually lost its boats.
The two stations were remote from Appledore where the crews lived. With the development of boats that could be more easily sailed (rather than just rowed) a new boat house was built at Badstep in 1889 to replace Northam Burrows. During World War I it became difficult to find the horses and men necessary for launching boats at Braunton Burrows so it too was closed temporarily in 1918 but this became permanent the following year. The first motor lifeboat arrived on station in 1922. In 1938 a Watson, the Violet Armstrong, replaced the earlier, smaller, boat and had to be kept moored afloat as it did not fit in the boat house. Instead a small boarding boat was kept in it and used to ferry the crew out to the lifeboat. The new lifeboat had a shallower draught than was usual for a Watson Class and also had her stern strengthened, both modifications to help crossing the shallow water at the mouth of the estuary.
An inshore lifeboat has been stationed at Appledore since 1972 and is kept in the boathouse with the boarding boat. The boat house had a new crew room installed at first-floor level in 1980 but was demolished in 2000 and a new station opened the following year.
The volunteer crews of the RNLI do not expect reward or recognition for their work, but the records include many rescues that have been recognised by letters, certificates and medals from the RNLI management. The following are just some of the most notable.
On 17 November 1962 the Watson-class Louisa Ann Hawker was launched in a northerly gale to assist the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Green Ranger which had broken free from her tug and run aground on rocks near Hartland Point. While the lifeboat found the tanker they could not find any of her crew. The lifeboat stood by for some time until it became clear that the crew had already been saved by breeches buoy, so it returned through the dangerous waters at the estuary mouth to its berth by the boat house. Despite not saving anyone, the RNLI awarded Sidney Cann, the coxswain, a Silver Medal for his work in extremely difficult seas that night.
The Tyne-class George Gibson put to sea on 31 March 1994 when the local fishing boat Torridge Warrior was struggling through a gale with just one of its engines working. The lifeboat reached the boat on the seaward side of the shallow water off Bideford but, due to the state of the tide and weather, had to tow her to Ilfracombe. The tow line broke but was reconnected. The Ilfracombe Lifeboat arrived and took over the tow but the Appledore boat continued to escort them. They then had to wait three hours for sufficient water to enter Ilfracombe harbour before returning home. Coxswain Michael Bowden was awarded a Bronze Medal for his seamanship that afternoon.
The lifeboat station is situated in Jubilee Road. At ground level, facing a slipway, is covered accommodation for the ILB, boarding boat and their tractors.
Area of operation
The RNLI aims to reach any casualty up to 50 miles (80 km) from its stations, and within two hours in good weather. To do this the Tamar class lifeboat has an operating range of 250 nautical miles (460 km) and a top speed of 25 knots (46 km/h). Appledore is situated on the estuary of the rivers Taw and Torridge near the north Devon coast. Adjacent lifeboats are at Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station to the North, and Clovelly Lifeboat Station to the South.
- 16-16 Mollie Hunt Tamar-class AWB
- B-861 Glanely Atlantic 85 B Class ILB
- BB-060 inflatable boarding boat
'ON' is the RNLI's sequential Official Number; 'Op. No.' is the operational number painted onto the boat.
Pulling and sailing lifeboats
|ON||Name||Built||At Appledore||At Braunton||At Northam||Class||Comments|
|–||Petrel||1848||1848–51||10 oars||Rebuilt with 12 oars in 1851.|
|–||George and Catherine||1866||1866–81||10 oared self-righter|||
|?||Robert and Catherine||1881||1881–1902|||
|?||Jane Hannah MacDonald||1885||1889–?||1885–89||Self-righter|||
|?||Jane Hannah MacDonald||?||? –1910|||
|485||Robert and Catherine||1902||1902–11||Rubie||Capsized 21 December 1911. Sold 1934 but broken up 2001.|
|611||Jane Hannah MacDonald||1910||1910–22||Sold 1939; in 2008 was undergoing restoration in France.|
|632||Robert and Catherine||1912||1912–19||Sold 1922.|
|ON||Op. No.||Name||Built||At Appledore||Class||Comments|
|675||–||V.C.S.||1922||1922–1938||40ft Self-righter||Sold 1945.|
|815||–||Violet Armstrong||1938||1938–1962||46ft Watson-class||Specially modified for the shallow waters at Appledore. Sold 1962; reported in 2001 working as a pleasure boat in Bristol.|
|965||–||Louisa Ann Hawker||1962||1962–1986||47ft Watson-class||Sold, reported in 2008 working as a pleasure boat in Sarawak.|
|958||–||Laura Moncur||1961||1986–1987||47ft Watson-class||Sold, reported in 2008 working as pleasure boat Chizz at Lowestoft.|
|950||–||Kathleen Mary||1959||1987–1988||47ft Watson-class||Sold, reported in 2007 working as pleasure boat Katie May at Peterhead.|
|Op. No.||Name||At Appledore||Class||Type||Comments|
|B-500||(No name)||1972–1973||B||Atlantic 21||First Atlantic 21|
|B-520||Wildenrath Wizzer||1974–1986||B||Atlantic 21|
|B-565||Manchester and District XXXIII||1986–1997||B||Atlantic 21|
|B-705||Vera Skilton||1997–1997||B||Atlantic 75|||
|B-742||Douglas Pasley||1997 - 2012||B||Atlantic 75|||
- "Visiting stations". Explanation of the visitor-classification of the RNLI stations. The RNLI - copyright © RNLI 2014. Archived from the original on 13 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- "Appledore Lifeboat Station – RNLI website". Home page of the Appledore station. RNLI © 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
- Leach, Nicholas (2009). Devon's Lifeboat Heritage. Chacewater: Twelveheads Press. pp. 39–44. ISBN 978-0-906294-72-7.
- Leach, Nicholas (2009). pp. 42–43.
- "Tyne Class Lifeboats". List of RNLI Tyne class Lifeboats with service dates and Details including George Gibson. navynuts.com. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
- Leach, Nicholas (2009). pp. 43–44.
- "Tamar-class 16.25-metre Lifeboat". List of Tamar-class lifeboats. Lifeboat World On-Line© 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
- Wake-Walker, Edward (2008). The Lifeboats Story. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-0-7509-4858-6.
- Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. p. 68.
- "Appledore Fleet". RNLI. Archived from the original on 2011-03-09. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
- Leach, Nicholas (2009). p. 39.
- Leach, Nicholas (2009). p. 40.
- Leach, Nicholas (2009). p. 41.
- Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 4–5.
- Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 10–11.
- Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 12–13.
- Leach, Nicholas (2009). pp. 41–42.
- Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 18–19.
- Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 24–25.
- Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 32–33.
- Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. p. 43.