RNLB H F Bailey (ON 777)

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HF Bailey in Cromer Henry Blogg Museum
British RNLI Flag
OwnerRoyal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)
BuilderGroves and Guttridge Ltd, Isle of Wight
Official Number: ON 777
Donor: Legacy of Henry Francis Bailey, Brockenhurst, Surrey.
Station Cromer
Cost£7,307 14s 0d
Christened27 August 1937
In service1935
FateOn display at the Henry Blogg Museum in Cromer
General characteristics
TypeWatson Cabin motor
Tonnage18.78 gross tonnage
Length31 ft 9 in (9.68 m) overall
Draught9 ft 5 in (2.87 m)
Installed powerTwo Weyburn CE4 four-cylinder Diesel engines of 40 BHP (30 kW)
Speed8 knots (15 km/h)
Complement12 crew plus 95 rescues

RNLB H F Bailey (ON 777) is the most famous Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat to have served from Cromer, because she was used by Coxswain Henry Blogg to perform many of his most famous lifesaving exploits. The lifeboat was on station for the ten years between 1935 and 1945.[1] She is now part of the National Historic Fleet[2] and has been preserved in the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum in Cromer.[3]

From 1923 to the end of the Second World War in 1945 the Cromer station had four motor-powered lifeboats all called H F Bailey after the donor, Mr Henry Francis Bailey, a London merchant who had been born in Brockenhurst, Norfolk and had died in 1916.[4]


H F Bailey was built at the yard of Groves and Guttridge Ltd on the Isle of Wight. Her hull is constructed using double diagonal planking of Honduras mahogany on a framework of teak ribs and beams, with the stem and stern posts and her keel of English oak. The stern and stem posts are grown to the required shape to give the lifeboat its strength and sturdiness. She is 46 feet (14 m) long and 12 feet 9 inches (3.89 m) wide. The hull is divided into seven watertight compartments, of which the engine room is one. The hull is fitted with 142 mahogany air cases, each individually made to fit into its allocated position in the hull. Her equipment included the latest innovations of the time which included a line throwing gun and an electric searchlight.[5]

Further use[edit]

RNLB HF Bailey went on to serve Helvick Head Lifeboat Station in Co Waterford Republic of Ireland until 1969 when the station was closed. It remained closed until 1994 when it was reopened by the RNLI. The lifeboat stationed there today is an Atlantic 75 and provides cover in the area between Youghal and Tramore Lifeboat Stations.

Rescues and service[edit]

Rescues by H F Bailey (ON 777)
Flag of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.svg
Date Casualty Lives saved
26 March Steamship Boree of Caen, landed 7 from steamship Cadeuceus
2 April Fishing boat Little Madge of Sheringham, in tow of lifeboat J C Madge of Sheringham and fishing boats John Roberts and White Rose of Cromer, stood by boats
20 April Barge Will Everard of London, stood by vessel
7–11 August Steamship San Francisco of Le Havre, rendered assistance
16–18 November Steamship Nesttun of Tvedestrand, rendered assistance
18 November Steam drifter Pitagaveny of Banff, saved 10
19 November Steamship Yew Forest of Glasgow, took out a doctor
19 November Steamship Lindisfarne of Newcastle on Tyne, rendered assistance
9 November Spritsail barge Hibernia of London 3
10 February Fishing boat Urgent of Cromer, stood by boat
May 30 Fishing boat G V H of Great Yarmouth, saved boat 2
7 August Motor vessel John M of London, stood by vessel
2 November Steamship Cantabria of Santander, saved 5
27 December Steamship Otto H of Pori, rendered assistance
18 June Rowing boat of Cromer, Landed 5
9 October Steamship Mount Ida of Piraeus, saved 29
1 December Steamship Realf of Moss, landed 32 and 10 naval ratings from Santa Gata
8 December Steamship Corea of Goole, saved 7
12 December Steamship Corbrook of London, stood by vessel
21 December Motor vessel Dosinia of London, assisted to save vessel 51
9 January Steamship Upminster of London, stood by vessel
11 January Steamship Traviata of Genoa, landed 30 and saved 1
11 January HMT Holyrood, gave help
12 January Light Vessel No 58, saved a ship's boat 3
18 January Steamship Asteria of Piraeus, saved 11
18 January Light Vessel No 58, saved a ship's boat 4
30 January Steam trawler Pelton of Grimsby, gave help
27 August Aircraft, salvaged wreckage and gear
3 October MV Actuosity of London, saved 8
15 November HMT Dungeness, saved 11
25 November HMT Dungeness, salvaged gear
7 December Steamship Royston of Newcastle on Tyne, stood by
12 December Steamship Royston of Newcastle on Tyne, gave help
15 January Steamship Lieutenant Robert Mory of Belfast, landed 19 and gave help
25 January Steamship Meriones of Liverpool, saved 101
8 March Boat from steamship Corduff of London, saved 13
8 March Steamship Kenton of Newcastle, saved two boats
13 March Steamship Essex Lance of London, gave help
14 March Steamship Essex Lance of London, gave help
26 March Steamship Kentwood of London, stood by
24 July Aircraft, saved dinghy and picked up a body
6 August (CONVOY FS 559) Steamship Oxshott of London, saved 16
6 August (CONVOY FS 559) Steamship SS Gallois of Rouen, saved 31
6 August (CONVOY FS 559) Steamship Deerwood of London, saved 19
6 August (CONVOY FS 559) Steamship Betty Hindley, saved 22
15 September Motor vessel Pontfield of Newcastle, gave help
September 23 Steamship J B Paddon of London, landed an injured man
Between Sept 17 – 6 Nov Steamship Teddington of London, gave help on 22 occasions
16 October British aircraft, landed a body
26 October Steamship English Trader of London, saved 44
29 January Aeroplane dinghy seven miles north of Cley next the Sea, saved 1
2 February Motor vessel Sedulity of London, landed an injured man
15 March HMS Vortigern, picked up 11 bodies after Torpedo attack
11 April British aeroplane, landed 6
25 May Yacht Betty of Gorleston, gave help
20 July Aeroplane, gave help
18 November Motor fishing boat Silver Queen of Lowestoft, saved vessel 2
12 March Barrage balloon, salvaged balloon
26 July Wellington Bomber aeroplane, saved 5
20 June Aeroplane, salvaged wreckage
29 July Aeroplane, salvaged gear
7–10 December Steamship Samnethy of London, saved
4 February Motor vessel Valder of Hartlepool, gave help


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cromer Lifeboats 1804–2004, Appendix 1 Lifeboat Summary.
  2. ^ "H F Bailey (1446)". nationalhistoricships.org.uk. Archived from the original on 26 January 2008.
  3. ^ "Cromer Lifeboats - Museum". www.cromerlifeboats.org.uk. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007.
  4. ^ Cromer Lifeboats 1804–2004, page 54.
  5. ^ Cromer Lifeboats 1804–2004, Two New Lifeboats, page 73.
  • Cromer Lifeboats 1804–2004, Leach, Nicholas & Russell, Paul, Pub: Tempus Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-7524-3197-8.

Further reading[edit]

  • The History of Cromer Lifeboats and Crew; H.F. Bailey 777 1935 - 1945 Cromer, Kitty Lee, 1991, ISBN 0-9518530-0-7