Moelfre lifeboat station
Moelfre lifeboat was established in 1848, moving to a new boathouse at Porth Neigwl in 1875. A slipway was added in 1893 to make launching easier. The current boathouse and slipway were built in 1909, and rebuilt at a cost of £10m in readiness for the new Tamar-class lifeboat which arrived on station in 2015. The lifeboat was named Kiwi in honour of benefactor Reginald James Clark, a New Zealander who was rescued by lifeboat after his ship was torpedoed in the Second World War.
In 1901 a silver medal was awarded to second coxswain Richard Owen, who couldn’t swim, for his courage in jumping overboard to disentangle a net fouling the lifeboat’s rudder.
The great gales of October 1927 brought tragedy to the station after the heroic rescue of three men from a wrecked ketch. The lifeboat had to sail over the top of the ketch’s hull to reach the men. It was badly damaged in the process but remained afloat thanks to its air cases. Two men, including crew member William Roberts, died on board the lifeboat. A gold medal was awarded to second coxswain William Roberts – who was unable to see anything for several hours after the rescue because the wind had blown so much salt into his eyes. Another gold medal went to crew member Captain Owen Jones, and 13 Bronze Medals were awarded for the same rescue.
In 1961 the Queen presented Silver Sea gallantry medals at Buckingham Palace to the five crew members who had managed to rescue all crewmen from the wrecked freighter Hindlea in seemingly impossible conditions. The coxswain was Richard Evans, who amassed two gold medals, a bronze medal and the British Empire Medal for his lifeboat exploits. He is commemorated by a statue near the lifeboat station. You can read more about him and the Hindlea rescue here.
An inshore lifeboat station was established in 1965 with a D-class lifeboat.
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.
FOOTNOTES: Other Moelfre awards
Postcode: LL72 8LG