Moelfre lifeboat station

link_to_french_translationMoelfre 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.

Postcode: LL72 8LG View Location Map

RNLI on HistoryPoints.org

RNLI website

FOOTNOTES: Other Moelfre awards

  • 1884 - Silver medal presented by the Prince of Wales to coxswain Rowland Hughes, retiring aged 82 after 33 years’ service.
  • 1902 - Silver medal to coxswain Thomas Owen on his retirement.
  • 1929 – Silver watch to coxswain John Mathews for devotion to duty after the lifeboat was wrecked in a heavy gale in February 1927.
  • 1937 -  Bronze medal to coxswain John Matthews for rescuing all five crewmen from the steamer Lady Windsor.
  • 1940 - Silver medal to coxswain John Matthews and bronze medal to motor mechanic Robert Williams for rescuing 60 crew from the SS Gleneden.
  • 1943 - Silver medal to coxswain John Matthews and bronze medals to second coxswain Richard M Evans and motor mechanic Robert Williams for rescuing four airmen who had ditched from an aircraft.
  • 1959 - Gold medal to coxswain Richard Evans, silver medal to motor mechanic Evan Owens and bronze medals to second coxswain Donald Francis and crew members Hugh Owen and Hugh Jones. These were for rescuring all eight crewmen from the freighter Hindlea in hurricane-force winds gusting to 104mph.
  • 1967 - Gold medal to coxswain Richard Evans, silver medal to motor mechanic Evan Owens and bronze medals to second coxswain Donald Francis, acting bowman Hugh Owen, assistant mechanic William M Davies and crew members Hugh Jones, David Evans and Capt Jocelyn Jeavons. These were for rescuing 10 crew from the Greek motor vessel Nafsiporos in December 1966 during a hurricane.
  • 1975 - Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum to coxswain William Roberts for saving a yacht and its four crew, and for escorting a second yacht
  • 1978 - Framed Letters of Thanks to second coxswain John Thomas and crew member Kenneth Roberts for assisting six people in difficulty in a rubber dinghy off Traeth Lligwy.
  • 1980 - Framed Letters of Thanks to coxswain William Roberts and second coxswain John Thomas for towing a yacht to safety. The rope had to be reconnected 11 times.
  • 1982 - Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum to coxswain William Roberts for rescuing the two crew from the trimaran Triple Jack.
  • 1990 - Framed Letters of Thanks to helmsman Rod Pace and crew member Anthony Barclay for assisting a fishing boat.
  • 1996 - Framed Letters of Thanks to crew members Rod Pace and David Massey for rescuing two people and saving a catamaran. They both broke legs during the rescue.
  • 2002 - Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum to second coxswain Rod Pace for boarding a disabled yacht in storm-force conditions and bringing the yacht under control for towing to Moelfre. Coxswain Anthony Barclay received a Framed Letter of Thanks. The yacht’s five crew were saved.
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