Horton and Port Eynon lifeboat station
The station opened in 1884, with a new boathouse at the west end of the bay, in response to recent shipwrecks. Villagers had looked on helplessly in January 1883 when the steamer Agnes Jack ran aground at Port Eynon Point and all 18 crew drowned. Just a week later, another seven lives were lost in another wreck.
Coxswain W Gibbs and crew members William Eynon and George Harry drowned in 1916 when the lifeboat capsized twice, while aiding the steamship Dunvegan on New Year’s Day. A memorial can be seen in St Cattwg’s Churchyard, Port Eynon. The station was closed temporarily after the accident, and permanently in 1919.
In 1968 an inshore lifeboat station was opened, with a D-class lifeboat and a new boathouse near Horton beach. The station was known as Horton and Port Eynon. In August 1968 the lifeboat capsized during a search for a bather but the crew safely reached the shore.
In 1973 the lifeboat rescued three people off Worms Head. For this rescue, helmsman John Walter Grove received a bronze medal and crew members Charles Gwilym Twitchett and Andrew John McNulty received the Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum. In 1974 helmsman John Walter Grove received the Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum for rescuing 10 people from a capsized yacht and two broken down inflatable boats, in gales and rough seas.
In August 1981 the lifeboat went to the aid of 400 passengers on the stricken coastal cruise ship Prince Ivanhoe. The former Sealink ferry was deliberately beached at Port Eynon after hitting a submerged object near Port Eynon Point and beginning to sink. There were no casualties, although one passenger died of a heart attack soon after his rescue. The photo of the wreck was taken by the late Gareth Mills and is reproduced here by kind permission of the Swansea & Port Talbot Docks Retired Section.
The current boathouse was opened in 1992, housing the lifeboat and its launching tractor and including a crew room, shop and look-out tower. The current boat, D-688 Albert Wordley, entered service in 2008.
In 1999 helmsman Lawrence Grove received a Framed Letter of Thanks for rescuing four people cut off by the tide and heavy surf at Worms Head. Following his retirement as helmsman, he received the MBE honour in 2001.
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.
Postcode: SA3 1LB
Photos and eyewitness account of Prince Ivanhoe loss - website of Swansea & Port Talbot Docks Retired Section