Lifeboat memorial 1910, St Davids

Lifeboat memorial 1910, Memorial Gardens, St Davids

This memorial commemorates three crew members of the St Davids lifeboat who died on 13 October 1910 while rescuing sailors from a ketch called Democrat. The men who died were Coxswain John Stephens and crew members Henry Rowlands and James Price.

The lifeboat had put out to sea in stormy weather and removed three men from the ketch. While attempting to return to land, the lifeboat was driven onto Bitches Reef. This is located in Ramsey Sound, the water between St David’s Head and Ramsey Island. The sound is notoriously tricky to navigate even in calm weather.

The following morning, 15 men were found clinging to the rocks at the Bitches. Twelve were surviving lifeboat crew members, the others were from the ketch. They were rescued by boatmen from Porthclais including Sydney Mortimer, who was awarded the RNLI’s silver medal for this rescue. Despite being just 18 years old, he took John Stephens’s place as coxswain of the St Davids lifeboat.

Also in the Memorial Gardens is a memorial to Ieuan Bateman, a lifeboat man who drowned in 1956.

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Other SHIPWRECK HiPoints in this region:
Fishguard lifeboat – medals awarded after seven were rescued from a Dutch wreck in 1920
St Davids lifeboat – rescued 35 men in 1954 from half of a split-apart tanker


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