Angle lifeboat station

link_to_french_translationAngle lifeboat station

This station was called Milford from its opening in 1868 until 1892. A stronger slipway was built in 1888 at a cost of £570. In 1908 Angle received its first steam lifeboat, which was withdrawn in 1915 after breaking from its moorings and hitting rocks.

Medals had been awarded for sea rescues before the station opened. In 1833 William Field received a silver medal for rescuing 12 people who clung to the rigging of a Sicilian brig, wrecked in Sandy Haven Bay.

In 1894 the lifeboat rescued all the crew and passengers from a barque called Loch Shiel, sailing from Glasgow to Melbourne. The ship was wrecked at Thorn Island, near Sandy Haven, and most of its cargo – which included 7,000 bottles of whisky and many cases of beer – washed ashore. Before the nearest Customs officers arrived, local people hid the drink “in fields, gardens and secret recesses”.

In 1927 the station was modernised for a new lifeboat at a cost of £20,000.

The opening of Milford Haven oil teminals affected demand for the lifeboat’s services. In 1973 the oil tanker Dona Marika ran aground on Wooltack Point. A nearby village was evacuated because the tanker could have exploded. The Angle lifeboat assisted and stood by in a Force 10 storm. Coxswain William John Rees Holmes received a bronze medal for this service.

In 1987 the station and slipway were adapted for the new Tyne-class lifeboat. A new boathouse and slipway were completed in 1992. Two years later, a D-class lifeboat arrived for evaluation, which led to an inshore lifeboat complementing Angle’s all-weather boat from 1995.

In 2002 a new inshore boathouse was completed, at a cost of £211,887. The inshore lifeboat D638 Richard John Talbot entered service in 2005.

The main boathouse was adapted, at a cost of £4,200,000, in 2009 to accommodate the new Tamar-class lifeboat, ON1291 Mark Mason. The boat was named by HRH Prince Michael of Kent and bought with a generous bequest of The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons. 

The lifeboat service in the UK is provided not by government but by the RNLI, a charity which relies on donations from the public. Since it was established in 1824, the RNLI is estimated to have saved c.140,000 lives. It employs some crew members but most, 40,000 in total, are volunteers who leave their work, families or beds whenever their lifeboat is needed.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: SA70 7BS

RNLI website

RNLI on HistoryPoints.org

FOOTNOTES: More Angle rescues

Other SHIPWRECK HiPoints in this region:
St Davids lifeboat – saved 35 men in 1954 from half of a split-apart tanker
Tenby lifeboat – rescued crews of two ketches at the same time in 1906

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