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 In 1908 Angle received its first steam lifeboat, which was withdrawn in 1915 after breaking from its moorings and hitting rocks.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”. See the Footnotes below for details of awards to lifeboat crew for this and other rescues.

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.

Postcode: SA70 7BS    View Location Map

RNLI website


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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: More Angle rescues

1851 - Thomas Landells received a silver medal for rescuing the eight crewmen of a schooner driven onto rocks at Pill Point.

1861 - John Large received a silver medal after wading into the surf to to help rescue the crew of a wrecked brig.

1894 - Silver medals to R W Mirehouse, honorary secretary, and crew members E Bull and T Rees for landing on Thorn Island and crawling along a narrow cliff ledge in the dark. They used a rope to haul to safety 27 people who had taken refuge on the rocks below from the stranded ship Loch Shiel

1929 - Bronze medal to coxswain James Watkins for the rescue, at the third attempt and at considerable risk, of 28 people from SS Molesey, wrecked on Middle Island in a whole south westerly gale.

1944 - Silver medal to coxswain James Watkins for his part in the rescue of six people from the motor vessel Thor in a south westerly gale and a rough sea. Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum to mechanic Albert Rees for his efficient handling of the lifeboat engines during this service.

1945 - Bronze Second Service clasp awarded to coxswain James Watkins for the difficult rescue of nine men from the ex-German steamer Walter L M Russ, which had been driven ashore of Grassholm island. 

1977 - Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum to coxswain/mechanic William John Rees Holmes after the lifeboat, repeatedly submerged by waves, stood by the tanker Leonidas, which was in trouble c.3km west of St Ann’s Head in a storm.

1979 - Bronze Second Service clasp to coxswain/mechanic William John Rees Holmes after the rescue of three crew members from a fishing boat. The boat was being towed by a tug and in danger of capsizing, five miles south west of the Hats and Barrels Rocks.

1979 - A framed certificate to the coxswain and crew in recognition of their services in connection with numerous yachts which got into difficulties during the Fastnet Race.

1997 - Bronze medal to coxswain Jeremy Richard Rees after the lifeboat rescued the four crew members of the vessel Dale Princess. The lifeboat also saved the boat from being driven onto a cliff at Skomer Island by a gale and heavy seas. The lifeboat crew received a Framed Letter of Thanks.