St Davids RNLI Lifeboat Station
Historical Lifeboats of St Davids T
RNLB Augusta 1869-1885 In 1869 the first lifeboat - Augusta the gift of the Earl of Dartmouth - arrived at St Davids. A lifeboat house and slipway was erected in 1869 at Porthstinan (St Justinians). The Augusta was 32 feet in length and could be sailed or rowed by her ten oarsmen. Her officers were the Bowman, 2nd Coxswain and in command the coxswain, which for the duration of her service at St Davids was Captain David Hicks of Porthlisky. The lifeboat remained at St Davids until 1885 launching 17 times and saving 23 lives. Her most noteable rescue being the crew of the Mystic Tie in 1878. RNLB Gem 1885-1910 In 1885 the lifeboat Gem (ON 59) was brought to St Davids. She was a little larger than the Augusta and had 12 oarsmen and could self-right in the event of capsize. She was donated by John Metcalf of York in a legacy, costing £300. She launched 19 times and saved 16 lives. Her finest moment probably came in 1903 when her crew rescued six men from the SS Graffoe which had run aground on Ramsey Island in gale force winds and poor visability. However, the RNLB Gem is probably best known for the rescue of the three crewmen of the ketch Democrat in Ramsey Sound in 1910. After successfully taking the three men aboard the lifeboat was swept onto the Bitches reef and three of her crew were drowned. The remaining 12 plus the Democrat survivors spent 14 hours clinging to the reef until two local shore boats manned by men from St Davids came to their rescue. One of those rescuers (Sidney Mortimer) became the next lifeboat coxswain at the age of 18½ years. A temporary lifeboat (Charlotte) was stationed at St Davids in the little harbour of Porthclais whilst a new lifeboat slipway and boathouse were built at Porthstinan above the original slipway to accommodate a new motor lifeboat. This boathouse - much modified - remains in use today. RNLB General Farrell 1912-1936 In 1912 the motor lifeboat RNLB General Farrell (ON 614) was placed on station at St Davids. Costing some £3000 she was the gift of Mrs CMH Leckie of Walton on Thames. The lifeboat was a self righting single screw boat with a petrol engine - her top speed would have been about 7 knots. An open boat she was also equipped for sailing. The boat remained on station until 1936 during which time she launched 26 times and saved 17 lives. The most notable of these rescues being to the SS Mosely in 1929 in atrocious conditions at Skomer Island. RNLB Swn-y-Mor 1936-1963 With the arrival of the RNLB Swn-y-Mor (ON 784) in 1936 one of the busiest periods in the station’s history began and a number of award winning rescues were performed by the crewmen of St Davids. She was donated to the RNLI by the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund (No 6) at a cost of £7618. The RNLB Swn-y-Mor was a 46’ Watson class motor lifeboat with twin petrol engines, a small cockpit shelter and a covered cabin forward. She was not of self-righting design. She remained on station until 1963, was fitted with radio and first aid equipment and during her services launched on 90 occasions and saved 108 lives. During the years of the 2nd World War a number of notable rescues were performed but these received little recognition at the time. Amongst the rescues were those of a man trapped on cliffs and the search for survivors from two landing craft which were overwhelmed in rough seas at the entrance to Milford Haven. However, the two most known rescues were to the World Concord in 1954 when 35 crew were rescued from a tanker which had broken in two in a severe storm and the rescue of 8 French fishermen from the trawler Notre Dame de Fatima when one of the lifeboatmen (Ieuan Bateman) was lost overboard. RNLB Joseph Soar 1963-1985 In 1963 a second Watson class lifeboat was stationed at St Davids. The RNLB Joseph Soar (ON 971) was also donated by the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund (No 34) and named after a long-serving St Davids station Honorary Secretary. She cost some £40,000. The RNLB Joseph Soar was a 47’ Watson class wooden hulled lifeboat with wheelhouse and forward and aft cabins. She was powered by twin Gardener diesel engines at a top speed of about 8 knots with a range of 300 nautical miles. Her original equipment included MF and VHF radio, drogue, wave subduing oil, Neil Robertson stretcher and first aid equipment. In 1974 she underwent a major refit which included conversion for self-righting through the fitting of buoyancy to the cabins and making the wheelhouse and cabins watertight, radar equipment was also added for the first time to give much improved night-time operations. The lifeboat launched on 99 occasions and saved 45 lives - among her most noteable rescues were MFV 7 and Miss Ali Jane. The relief lifeboat RNLB Charles Henry Ashley also paid a notable visit to St Davids. Whilst on temporary duty at the station in 1981, whilst the RNLB Joseph Soar was undergoing refit, she was launched to assist three Greek tugs which were in distress in St Brides Bay. RNLB Ruby & Arthur Reed (48-03) 1985-1988 In 1985 the RNLB Joseph Soar was transferred to Dunbar station and replaced by the ex-Cromer lifeboat RNLB Ruby and Arthur Reed which had already saved 58 lives. She was a 48’6" Oakley class self righting boat of wooden construction. She was powered by twin Gardner diesel engines at a top speed of 9 knots and was fitted with MF and VHF radios, MF and VHF direction finding equipment, radar, first aid equipment, a stretcher and a drogue. Whilst at the station she was launched 10 times and saved 9 lives - the rescue of the Marigold A being the most noteworthy.   RNLB Garside (47-026) 1988-2016 TThe RNLB Garside was allocated to the station in 1988 on completion of her construction at Fairey Marine, IOW. The RNLB Garside was donated to the RNLI by Thomas Harold Garside and his sister Dorothy from Yorkshire. The RNLB Garside was a Tyne Class lifeboat capable of operating in all weather conditions, she was 14.3m (47ft) long with a 4.48m (14ft8in) beam and 1.8m (5ft) draft. The boat weighed about 26 tonnes and constructed of a steel hull with aluminium superstructure. She was powered by twin General Motors six cylinder diesel engines, each producing 425hp giving a maximum speed of 17.5 knots and a range of 240 nautical miles. The boat was designed to self-right within 10 seconds in the event of capsize. The RNLB Garside was fitted with VHF (fixed and portable) and MF radios with GMDSS and an onboard intercom system. She also had a VHF direction finder, two echo sounders, radar, electronic chart plotter linked to a GPS (satellite) navigator. The lifeboat was equipped with two basket stretchers and a Neil Robertson stretcher, first aid equipment, a salvage pump, fire hose and general service pump, a small inflatable rowing boat, night vision equipment, searchlights, breeches buoy, flares and rocket lines. There was seating in the wheelhouse for the seven crew with additional seating for survivors in the fore and aft cabins. When built she cost approximately £530,000 and, in line with RNLI policy, was refitted every 5 years for maintenance and repainting. Her most noteworth rescues were to the MFV Stephanie Jane (1989), Blackfriars (1999) and MFV Western Belle (2008).  Altogether she launched on service 343 times and saved 79 lives and rescued a further 35 people. RNLB Garside was withdrawn from service at St Davids and put into the RNLI’s relief fleet in October 2016. Inshore Lifeboat “Dewi Sant - St David” 1998-2008 In 1997 a D class inshore lifeboat was placed on station for a trial period following the removal of the RAF rescue helicopter cover from nearby RAF Brawdy. Major renovation works were carried out to the old lifeboat house and watchroom and a new slipway created for launching over the beach using a quad and trailer. In 1998 the RNLB Dewi Sant / St David was placed on station confirming the end of a successful trial period.  The Dewi Sant’s most notable rescue was that of three teenage girls who were trapped on cliffs at Caerfai Bay. In 2008 a new inshore lifeboat “Myrtle & Trevor Gurr” replaced D-543 at St Davids.
© David John and St Davids RNLI 2017.    The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603)
Historical Lifeboats of St Davids T
RNLB Augusta 1869-1885 In 1869 the first lifeboat - Augusta the gift of the Earl of Dartmouth - arrived at St Davids. A lifeboat house and slipway was erected in 1869 at Porthstinan (St Justinians). The Augusta was 32 feet in length and could be sailed or rowed by her ten oarsmen. Her officers were the Bowman, 2nd Coxswain and in command the coxswain, which for the duration of her service at St Davids was Captain David Hicks of Porthlisky. The lifeboat remained at St Davids until 1885 launching 17 times and saving 23 lives. Her most noteable rescue being the crew of the Mystic Tie in 1878. RNLB Gem 1885-1910 In 1885 the lifeboat Gem (ON 59) was brought to St Davids. She was a little larger than the Augusta and had 12 oarsmen and could self-right in the event of capsize. She was donated by John Metcalf of York in a legacy, costing £300. She launched 19 times and saved 16 lives. Her finest moment probably came in 1903 when her crew rescued six men from the SS Graffoe which had run aground on Ramsey Island in gale force winds and poor visability. However, the RNLB Gem is probably best known for the rescue of the three crewmen of the ketch Democrat in Ramsey Sound in 1910. After successfully taking the three men aboard the lifeboat was swept onto the Bitches reef and three of her crew were drowned. The remaining 12 plus the Democrat survivors spent 14 hours clinging to the reef until two local shore boats manned by men from St Davids came to their rescue. One of those rescuers (Sidney Mortimer) became the next lifeboat coxswain at the age of 18½ years. A temporary lifeboat (Charlotte) was stationed at St Davids in the little harbour of Porthclais whilst a new lifeboat slipway and boathouse were built at Porthstinan above the original slipway to accommodate a new motor lifeboat. This boathouse - much modified - remains in use today. RNLB General Farrell 1912-1936 In 1912 the motor lifeboat RNLB General Farrell (ON 614) was placed on station at St Davids. Costing some £3000 she was the gift of Mrs CMH Leckie of Walton on Thames. The lifeboat was a self righting single screw boat with a petrol engine - her top speed would have been about 7 knots. An open boat she was also equipped for sailing. The boat remained on station until 1936 during which time she launched 26 times and saved 17 lives. The most notable of these rescues being to the SS Mosely in 1929 in atrocious conditions at Skomer Island. RNLB Swn-y-Mor 1936-1963 With the arrival of the RNLB Swn-y-Mor (ON 784) in 1936 one of the busiest periods in the station’s history began and a number of award winning rescues were performed by the crewmen of St Davids. She was donated to the RNLI by the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund (No 6) at a cost of £7618. The RNLB Swn-y-Mor was a 46’ Watson class motor lifeboat with twin petrol engines, a small cockpit shelter and a covered cabin forward. She was not of self-righting design. She remained on station until 1963, was fitted with radio and first aid equipment and during her services launched on 90 occasions and saved 108 lives. During the years of the 2nd World War a number of notable rescues were performed but these received little recognition at the time. Amongst the rescues were those of a man trapped on cliffs and the search for survivors from two landing craft which were overwhelmed in rough seas at the entrance to Milford Haven. However, the two most known rescues were to the World Concord in 1954 when 35 crew were rescued from a tanker which had broken in two in a severe storm and the rescue of 8 French fishermen from the trawler Notre Dame de Fatima when one of the lifeboatmen (Ieuan Bateman) was lost overboard. RNLB Joseph Soar 1963-1985 In 1963 a second Watson class lifeboat was stationed at St Davids. The RNLB Joseph Soar (ON 971) was also donated by the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund (No 34) and named after a long-serving St Davids station Honorary Secretary. She cost some £40,000. The RNLB Joseph Soar was a 47’ Watson class wooden hulled lifeboat with wheelhouse and forward and aft cabins. She was powered by twin Gardener diesel engines at a top speed of about 8 knots with a range of 300 nautical miles. Her original equipment included MF and VHF radio, drogue, wave subduing oil, Neil Robertson stretcher and first aid equipment. In 1974 she underwent a major refit which included conversion for self-righting through the fitting of buoyancy to the cabins and making the wheelhouse and cabins watertight, radar equipment was also added for the first time to give much improved night-time operations. The lifeboat launched on 99 occasions and saved 45 lives - among her most noteable rescues were MFV 7 and Miss Ali Jane. The relief lifeboat RNLB Charles Henry Ashley also paid a notable visit to St Davids. Whilst on temporary duty at the station in 1981, whilst the RNLB Joseph Soar was undergoing refit, she was launched to assist three Greek tugs which were in distress in St Brides Bay. RNLB Ruby & Arthur Reed (48-03) 1985-1988 In 1985 the RNLB Joseph Soar was transferred to Dunbar station and replaced by the ex-Cromer lifeboat RNLB Ruby and Arthur Reed which had already saved 58 lives. She was a 48’6" Oakley class self righting boat of wooden construction. She was powered by twin Gardner diesel engines at a top speed of 9 knots and was fitted with MF and VHF radios, MF and VHF direction finding equipment, radar, first aid equipment, a stretcher and a drogue. Whilst at the station she was launched 10 times and saved 9 lives - the rescue of the Marigold A being the most noteworthy.   RNLB Garside (47-026) 1988-2016 TThe RNLB Garside was allocated to the station in 1988 on completion of her construction at Fairey Marine, IOW. The RNLB Garside was donated to the RNLI by Thomas Harold Garside and his sister Dorothy from Yorkshire. The RNLB Garside was a Tyne Class lifeboat capable of operating in all weather conditions, she was 14.3m (47ft) long with a 4.48m (14ft8in) beam and 1.8m (5ft) draft. The boat weighed about 26 tonnes and constructed of a steel hull with aluminium superstructure. She was powered by twin General Motors six cylinder diesel engines, each producing 425hp giving a maximum speed of 17.5 knots and a range of 240 nautical miles. The boat was designed to self-right within 10 seconds in the event of capsize. The RNLB Garside was fitted with VHF (fixed and portable) and MF radios with GMDSS and an onboard intercom system. She also had a VHF direction finder, two echo sounders, radar, electronic chart plotter linked to a GPS (satellite) navigator. The lifeboat was equipped with two basket stretchers and a Neil Robertson stretcher, first aid equipment, a salvage pump, fire hose and general service pump, a small inflatable rowing boat, night vision equipment, searchlights, breeches buoy, flares and rocket lines. There was seating in the wheelhouse for the seven crew with additional seating for survivors in the fore and aft cabins. When built she cost approximately £530,000 and, in line with RNLI policy, was refitted every 5 years for maintenance and repainting. Her most noteworth rescues were to the MFV Stephanie Jane (1989), Blackfriars (1999) and MFV Western Belle (2008).  Altogether she launched on service 343 times and saved 79 lives and rescued a further 35 people. RNLB Garside was withdrawn from service at St Davids and put into the RNLI’s relief fleet in October 2016. Inshore Lifeboat “Dewi Sant - St David” 1998-2008 In 1997 a D class inshore lifeboat was placed on station for a trial period following the removal of the RAF rescue helicopter cover from nearby RAF Brawdy. Major renovation works were carried out to the old lifeboat house and watchroom and a new slipway created for launching over the beach using a quad and trailer. In 1998 the RNLB Dewi Sant / St David was placed on station confirming the end of a successful trial period.  The Dewi Sant’s most notable rescue was that of three teenage girls who were trapped on cliffs at Caerfai Bay. In 2008 a new inshore lifeboat “Myrtle & Trevor Gurr” replaced D-543 at St Davids.
Copyright:  David John and St Davids RNLI 2017. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603)
Historical Lifeboats of St Davids T
RNLB Augusta 1869-1885 In 1869 the first lifeboat - Augusta the gift of the Earl of Dartmouth - arrived at St Davids. A lifeboat house and slipway was erected in 1869 at Porthstinan (St Justinians). The Augusta was 32 feet in length and could be sailed or rowed by her ten oarsmen. Her officers were the Bowman, 2nd Coxswain and in command the coxswain, which for the duration of her service at St Davids was Captain David Hicks of Porthlisky. The lifeboat remained at St Davids until 1885 launching 17 times and saving 23 lives. Her most noteable rescue being the crew of the Mystic Tie in 1878. RNLB Gem 1885-1910 In 1885 the lifeboat Gem (ON 59) was brought to St Davids. She was a little larger than the Augusta and had 12 oarsmen and could self- right in the event of capsize. She was donated by John Metcalf of York in a legacy, costing £300. She launched 19 times and saved 16 lives. Her finest moment probably came in 1903 when her crew rescued six men from the SS Graffoe which had run aground on Ramsey Island in gale force winds and poor visability. However, the RNLB Gem is probably best known for the rescue of the three crewmen of the ketch Democrat in Ramsey Sound in 1910. After successfully taking the three men aboard the lifeboat was swept onto the Bitches reef and three of her crew were drowned. The remaining 12 plus the Democrat survivors spent 14 hours clinging to the reef until two local shore boats manned by men from St Davids came to their rescue. One of those rescuers (Sidney Mortimer) became the next lifeboat coxswain at the age of 18½ years. A temporary lifeboat (Charlotte) was stationed at St Davids in the little harbour of Porthclais whilst a new lifeboat slipway and boathouse were built at Porthstinan above the original slipway to accommodate a new motor lifeboat. This boathouse - much modified - remains in use today. RNLB General Farrell 1912-1936 In 1912 the motor lifeboat RNLB General Farrell (ON 614) was placed on station at St Davids. Costing some £3000 she was the gift of Mrs CMH Leckie of Walton on Thames. The lifeboat was a self righting single screw boat with a petrol engine - her top speed would have been about 7 knots. An open boat she was also equipped for sailing. The boat remained on station until 1936 during which time she launched 26 times and saved 17 lives. The most notable of these rescues being to the SS Mosely in 1929 in atrocious conditions at Skomer Island. RNLB Swn-y-Mor 1936-1963 With the arrival of the RNLB Swn-y-Mor (ON 784) in 1936 one of the busiest periods in the station’s history began and a number of award winning rescues were performed by the crewmen of St Davids. She was donated to the RNLI by the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund (No 6) at a cost of £7618. The RNLB Swn-y-Mor was a 46’ Watson class motor lifeboat with twin petrol engines, a small cockpit shelter and a covered cabin forward. She was not of self-righting design. She remained on station until 1963, was fitted with radio and first aid equipment and during her services launched on 90 occasions and saved 108 lives. During the years of the 2nd World War a number of notable rescues were performed but these received little recognition at the time. Amongst the rescues were those of a man trapped on cliffs and the search for survivors from two landing craft which were overwhelmed in rough seas at the entrance to Milford Haven. However, the two most known rescues were to the World Concord in 1954 when 35 crew were rescued from a tanker which had broken in two in a severe storm and the rescue of 8 French fishermen from the trawler Notre Dame de Fatima when one of the lifeboatmen (Ieuan Bateman) was lost overboard. RNLB Joseph Soar 1963-1985 In 1963 a second Watson class lifeboat was stationed at St Davids. The RNLB Joseph Soar (ON 971) was also donated by the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund (No 34) and named after a long-serving St Davids station Honorary Secretary. She cost some £40,000. The RNLB Joseph Soar was a 47’ Watson class wooden hulled lifeboat with wheelhouse and forward and aft cabins. She was powered by twin Gardener diesel engines at a top speed of about 8 knots with a range of 300 nautical miles. Her original equipment included MF and VHF radio, drogue, wave subduing oil, Neil Robertson stretcher and first aid equipment. In 1974 she underwent a major refit which included conversion for self- righting through the fitting of buoyancy to the cabins and making the wheelhouse and cabins watertight, radar equipment was also added for the first time to give much improved night-time operations. The lifeboat launched on 99 occasions and saved 45 lives - among her most noteable rescues were MFV 7 and Miss Ali Jane. The relief lifeboat RNLB Charles Henry Ashley also paid a notable visit to St Davids. Whilst on temporary duty at the station in 1981, whilst the RNLB Joseph Soar was undergoing refit, she was launched to assist three Greek tugs which were in distress in St Brides Bay. RNLB Ruby & Arthur Reed (48-03) 1985-1988 In 1985 the RNLB Joseph Soar was transferred to Dunbar station and replaced by the ex-Cromer lifeboat RNLB Ruby and Arthur Reed which had already saved 58 lives. She was a 48’6" Oakley class self righting boat of wooden construction. She was powered by twin Gardner diesel engines at a top speed of 9 knots and was fitted with MF and VHF radios, MF and VHF direction finding equipment, radar, first aid equipment, a stretcher and a drogue. Whilst at the station she was launched 10 times and saved 9 lives - the rescue of the Marigold A being the most noteworthy.   RNLB Garside (47-026) 1988-2016 TThe RNLB Garside was allocated to the station in 1988 on completion of her construction at Fairey Marine, IOW. The RNLB Garside was donated to the RNLI by Thomas Harold Garside and his sister Dorothy from Yorkshire. The RNLB Garside was a Tyne Class lifeboat capable of operating in all weather conditions, she was 14.3m (47ft) long with a 4.48m (14ft8in) beam and 1.8m (5ft) draft. The boat weighed about 26 tonnes and constructed of a steel hull with aluminium superstructure. She was powered by twin General Motors six cylinder diesel engines, each producing 425hp giving a maximum speed of 17.5 knots and a range of 240 nautical miles. The boat was designed to self-right within 10 seconds in the event of capsize. The RNLB Garside was fitted with VHF (fixed and portable) and MF radios with GMDSS and an onboard intercom system. She also had a VHF direction finder, two echo sounders, radar, electronic chart plotter linked to a GPS (satellite) navigator. The lifeboat was equipped with two basket stretchers and a Neil Robertson stretcher, first aid equipment, a salvage pump, fire hose and general service pump, a small inflatable rowing boat, night vision equipment, searchlights, breeches buoy, flares and rocket lines. There was seating in the wheelhouse for the seven crew with additional seating for survivors in the fore and aft cabins. When built she cost approximately £530,000 and, in line with RNLI policy, was refitted every 5 years for maintenance and repainting. Her most noteworth rescues were to the MFV Stephanie Jane (1989), Blackfriars (1999) and MFV Western Belle (2008).  Altogether she launched on service 343 times and saved 79 lives and rescued a further 35 people. RNLB Garside was withdrawn from service at St Davids and put into the RNLI’s relief fleet in October 2016. Inshore Lifeboat “Dewi Sant - St David” 1998-2008 In 1997 a D class inshore lifeboat was placed on station for a trial period following the removal of the RAF rescue helicopter cover from nearby RAF Brawdy. Major renovation works were carried out to the old lifeboat house and watchroom and a new slipway created for launching over the beach using a quad and trailer. In 1998 the RNLB Dewi Sant / St David was placed on station confirming the end of a successful trial period.  The Dewi Sant’s most notable rescue was that of three teenage girls who were trapped on cliffs at Caerfai Bay. In 2008 a new inshore lifeboat “Myrtle & Trevor Gurr” replaced D- 543 at St Davids.
St Davids RNLI Lifeboat Station
Copyright:  David John and St Davids RNLI 2017. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603)