Walmer Lifeboat Station

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Walmer Lifeboat Station
Walmer Lifeboat Station on The Strand, Walmer. Built in 1871
Walmer Lifeboat Station is located in Kent
Walmer Lifeboat Station
Walmer, Kent
General information
TypeRNLI Lifeboat Station
LocationWalmer lifeboat station, The Strand, Walmer, Kent, UK
Coordinates51°12′48.71″N 1°24′10.66″E / 51.2135306°N 1.4029611°E / 51.2135306; 1.4029611Coordinates: 51°12′48.71″N 1°24′10.66″E / 51.2135306°N 1.4029611°E / 51.2135306; 1.4029611
OwnerRoyal National Lifeboat Institution

Walmer Lifeboat Station was established in 1830. Over two thousand ships are believed to have been wrecked on the Goodwin Sands, and the masts of several wrecks are visible from the shore at low tide. Hence there have always been two lifeboats located at the joined towns of Deal and Walmer along the coast opposite the sands.



In 1830, Gold Medals were awarded to Captain P Graham RN, Lieut HW Johnson RN and Lieut WS Watts RN, and a Silver Medal to John Durban for rescuing 13 crew from the ship Mountaineer and three other Deal boatmen on 24 November 1829. It was 26 years later however, in 1856, that an actual lifeboat station was established.

In 1896, crew member E Young drowned when he was trying to board the Steamship Trapian from the lifeboat. From 1912 to 1927 the station was closed, but when it re-opened the lifeboat was kept on a launching cradle at the head of the beach and soon afterwards, from 1930, the station had its first motor lifeboat.

World War One[edit]

During World War I, Deal had two lifeboats, the RNLB Charles Dibdin[1] and the RNLB Frances Forbes Barton; William Stanton was coxswain of the "Frances Forbes Barton"[2] In 1944 a Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Joseph Mercer for rescuing 13 men from an anti-submarine boat stranded on the Goodwin Sands.

Postwar to present[edit]

Walmer's last all-weather lifeboat was the RNLB Hampshire Rose. In 1964 an inshore lifeboat (ILB) station was established with a D-class (EA16). The RNLB Hampshire Rose was retired from service on 5 May 1990 and, with the addition of a B-class Atlantic 21[3] lifeboat (for whose launching rig the boathouse was then extended in 1992), Walmer was permanently established as an inshore lifeboat station. A new Atlantic 21, RNLB James Burgess (B-589), was placed on service in 1992. in the same year as a visit by the Queen Mother as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and on 22 January 1997 a new D-class lifeboat, RNLB Lord Kitchener (D-514), was placed on service.

A new Atlantic 85-class lifeboat, RNLB Donald Mclauchlan (B-808),[4] was put on station in December 2006, along with a new D-class (IB1), RNLB Douggie Rodbard (D-663).


All weather lifeboats[edit]

Dates in service Class ON Op. No. Name Comments
1927–1933 40 ft Self-righter ON 480 Barbara Fleming
1933–1959 41ft Watson-class (Beach) ON 762 Charles Dibdin (Civil Service No.2) First motor lifeboat at station
1959–1975 42ft Watson-class (Beach) ON 948 Charles Dibdin (Civil Service No.32)
1975–1990 Rother-class ON 1024 37-32 The Hampshire Rose

Inshore lifeboats[edit]


Dates in service Class Op No Name
1964 D-class (RFD PB16) D-14 unnamed
1965 D-class (RFD PB16) D-26 unnamed
1966 D-class (RFD PB16) D-24 unnamed
1967–1970 D-class (RFD PB16) D-135 unnamed
1971–1976 D-class D-200 unnamed
1977–1988 D-class (Zodiac III) D-254 unnamed
1988–1997 D-class (EA16) D-363 unnamed
1997–2006 D-class (EA16) D-514 Lord Kitchener
2006–present D-class (IB1) D-663 Duggie Rodbard


Dates in service Class Op No Name
1990–1992 Atlantic 21-class B-512 US Navy League
1992–2006 Atlantic 21-class B-589 James Burgess
2006–present Atlantic 85-class B-808 Donald Mclouchlan

Station honours[edit]

At Walmer lifeboat station the following awards have been made:

  • Framed Letters of Thanks, six, including
    • 1978, to Coxswain Bruce Brown and Second Coxswain Cyril Williams for refloating the vessel Elmela off the Goodwin Sands.
    • 1985, to Helmsman Anthony Evans for rescuing two men who were cut off by the tide after their canoe had capsized.
    • 1991, to crew members John Collins and Shaun East for the Josse rescue.
  • Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum, ten, including
    • 1969, to Helmsman Bruce Brown and Crew Members Cyril Williams and John Riley for rescuing four people cut off by the tide.
    • 1970 Along with the Ralph Glister Award, to Helmsman Cyril Williams and Crew Members Leslie Coe and Charles Taylor for rescuing two men cut off by the tide in a cave.
    • 1972, to Coxswain Henry Brown for saving the yacht Nell and her six crew, plus a cat.
    • 1991 to Helmsman Duane Brown for rescuing the three crew from the yacht Josse aground on Goodwin Sands.
    • 2002 to Helmsman Andrew Coe, Adam Cowell and Philip Brenchly for the rescue of the 32 ft yacht Thai Thai off the Goodwin Sands.
  • Bronze Medals, four, including
    • 1977, to Coxswain Bruce Brown for rescuing the four crew from the sinking cabin cruiser Shark, along with the Second Coxswain who had become trapped in the cabin. Also awarded to Pat Hardman, who, with the aid of Bruce Brown was able to rescue Cyril Williams and the four crew of the ship.
  • Silver Medals, four, including
    • 1859, to John Moss for saving one man from the tender of the lugger Stornoway on 19 December 1858.
    • 1948, to Coxswain Frederick Upton and Bronze Medal to Mechanic Cecil Cavell for rescuing 30 men, including two stowaways, and a dog from the steamer Silvia Onorato aground on the Goodwin Sands. The lifeboat spent 45 hours at sea. The Maud Smith Award for the bravest act of lifesaving in 1948 was awarded to Coxswain Upton.
    • 1952, to Coxswain Frederick Upton and Bronze Medal to Mechanic Cecil Cavell for rescuing 38 men from the wreck of the steamer Agen that was aground on the South Goodwin bank, close to three other wrecks from which the Walmer lifeboat had rescued 115 people over the previous six years.
  • Gold Medals, three
  • In 1997 a special award went to Pat Hardman, for his 27½ years of volunteer work for the RNLI in Deal, in which time he saved 119 lives from shipwreck.
  • In 2005 a special award went to Les Coe, for his 50 years of volunteer work for Walmer Lifeboat during which time he served as a crew member and Head Launcher. He continues to work for the RNLI at Boathouse Manager at Walmer.


  1. ^ The Charles Dibdin of 1907-31 saved 443 lives at sea. During the service of R. Roberts as coxswain, the Deal lifeboatmen included F. Roberts, ‘Bonny’ Will Adams, Henry and William Marsh, (the latter a Deal pilot), F Hanner (2nd Coxswain), and Henry Holbourn, nephew of Henry Marsh. It was also one of nineteen lifeboats that took part in the Dunkirk evacuation
  2. ^ The Frances Forbes Barton was originally, in 1897, the legacy of a Miss Webster to the boatmen of Broadstairs. It is recorded as having remained at that station until 1912, when the Broadstairs RNLI station closed, during which time it had been taken out on 77 launches and saved 115 lives, by far the most effective of the RNLI craft stationed there.
  3. ^ "B-class Atlantic 21 Production List". List of the RNLI fleet of B-class Atlantic 85 ILB including Walmer lifeboat. All rights reserved © 2014 NavyNuts. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  4. ^ "B-class Atlantic 85 Production List". List of the RNLI fleet of B-class Atlantic 85 ILB including B-808. All rights reserved © 2014 NavyNuts. Retrieved 10 April 2014.

External links[edit]