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Awards

This list of awards includes awards made by the RNLI and both British and foreign governments to the people of St Davids for their endeavours to save lives at sea.

1867

RNLI SILVER MEDAL - Thomas M Rees

In acknowledgement of his gallant and skilful conduct in rescuing, at the risk of his life by being lowered down high cliffs during the very dark and stormy night of 5th January, four men from the wrecked schooner ‘Two Brothers’.

1878

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - Coxswain David Hicks (below)

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - Bowman Capt John Rees

For the rescue of nine men from the brigantine ‘Mystic Tie’ in a gale and heavy rain from the south end of Ramsey Island by the lifeboat ‘Augusta’. As the crew pulled the last man through the surf to the lifeboat he became entangled in the ropes and the lifeboat had to be driven in amongst the rocks and white water to save him from drowning.

1892

RNLI SILVER MEDAL - Coxswain David Hicks (above)

On his retirement from the lifeboat after 23 years as coxswain in recognition of his long and gallant services.

1903

RNLI SILVER MEDAL - Acting Coxswain William Narbett

In recognition of his gallant and meritorious conduct in the rescue of six men from the ‘SS Graffoe’ on 27 January. The ship had struck the south end of Remsey Island in thick fog - it was two days later that the wreck was sighted by which time a strong SW gale was blowing. The lifeboat had much difficulty and took a great risk in approaching the wreck owing to the strong wind and tide and the close proximity of dangerous rocks at Ynys Bery. Seven men were pulled aboard the lifeboat ‘Gem’ but one of these was found to be already dead.

1910

On 13 October, the ketch ‘Democrat’ which had anchored in Ramsey Sound found herself trapped as the NE wind increased to gale force. As the tide turned she started dragging her anchor and so lifeboat assistance was summoned - the ‘Gem’ launching about midnight. The lifeboat succesfully took the three man crew aboard but as they turned to make their way back to the lifeboat station the combined strength of the wind and tide proved too strong for them and they were driven onto the Bitches reef.

Twelve of the fifteen lifeboatmen plus the three Democrat crew managed to scramble onto the reef but three others - including the Coxswain were missing. Early next morning the plight of the lifeboatmen was seen from the mainland. Eighteen year old Sidney Mortimer along with two members of the local coastguards headed for Porthclais harbour where they launched the 20’ Wave Queen and rowed to Ramsey Sound. There they found the tide prevented any rescue attempt, so they stood-by throughtout the day until the tide eased and an approach could be made - five survivors being taken from the rocks. Meanwhile a second shore boat manned by Eleazer James and four others had also left Porthclais and arrived as the ‘Wave Queen’ was taking the five men to safety. James took five more survivors from the reef and landed them ashore before Mortimer and his crew returned for the last five men as the Fishguard motor lifeboat arrived. As a result the following awards were made.

Samuel Husk, Sidney Mortimer and Samuel Guppy (1910)

CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY MEDAL OF KING GEORGE V, RNLI SILVER MEDAL, CARNEGIE HERO FUND AWARD, ENGRAVED SILVER BINOCULARS OF HM GOVERNMENT - Sidney Mortimer

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM, BOARD OF TRADE SILVER MEDAL - Samuel Guppy

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM, BOARD OF TRADE SILVER MEDAL - Samuel Husk

Monetary awards were also made to the crew of the second shoreboat - Eleazer James, Ivor Arnold, Adrian Arnold, John Davies and a second John Davies for the rescue of five survivors. Monetary awards were also made to the crew of the Fishguard Lifeboat and to the families of the three deceased lifeboatmen - Cox’n John Stephens, Henry Rowlands and James Price. Sidney Mortimer was appointed the new coxswain of the lifeboat.

1929

RNLI SPECIAL CERTIFICATE - Coxswain Ivor Arnold

The ‘SS Mosley’ was wrecked on Skomer Island on a dark and stormy night after suffering steering failure. Both Angle and St Davids lifeboats searched for the wreck in atrocious conditions but were unable to locate it. They sheltered in Dale until next morning when both boats resumed the search. The wreck was located by Angle Lifeboat which rescued the crew of 29. Coxswain Arnold was rewarded for his skill and courage aboard the lifeboat ‘General Farrell’ with a Special Certificate.

The wreck of the SS Mosley on Midland Island, Skomer.

1943

RNLI SPECIAL CERTIFICATES - 2nd Coxswain David Lewis, J Watkins, Henry John, Frederick John, John John and David Narbett.

The three teenage John brothers and their friend David Narbett were in their rowing boat when they were attracted by people on-shore to a woman swimmer in difficulty in the water near Porthclais. They were able to rescue her from the water and were towed back to shore by 2nd Coxswain Lewis and J Watkins in their motor boat.

1943

RNLI BRONZE MEDAL - Coxswain William Watts Williams

Two landing craft were caught by extreme bad weather in the Irish Sea. They headed for the shelter of Milford Haven but whilst off St Anns Head both of the craft were overwhelmed by the rough seas and capsized. HMS Rosemary launched one of her lifeboats to assist but this too was overwhelmed. In all 80 people lost their lives - just 3 survived, one of whom was saved by the lifeboat ‘Swn-y-Mor’. The long passage to the search area and the search itself were carried out in darkness and extremely poor sea conditions.

LCG14 - sister ship to the 2 vessels which foundered.

 

1943

RNLI BRONZE MEDAL - Honorary Secretary Dr Joseph Soar

RNLI BRONZE MEDAL - Lifeboatman Gwilym Davies

In darkness, on the night of 28th February 1943 in SW gale force winds a man became trapped some 40 foot up cliffs at Llanunwas, near Solva.  When the lifeboat arrived at the foot of the cliffs Gwilym Davies and Dr Soar were landed ashore.  Dr Soar used a searchlight to illuminate the cliffs from a wave swept rock, whilst Gwilym Davies volunteered to climb 200 foot to the top of the cliffs to guide the coastguard team to the casualty.  Gwilym Davies was then lowered down the vertical cliffs to the trapped man, then both were lowered to the base of the cliffs and picked up by the lifeboat. 

 

1954

RNLI SILVER MEDAL - Coxswain William Watts Williams

RNLI BRONZE MEDAL - Mechanic George G Jordan

RNLI BRONZE MEDAL - 2nd Mechanic Gwilym Davies

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - 2nd Coxswain David Lewis

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - Acting Bowman William Rowlands

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - Lifeboatman William Morris

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - Lifeboatman Howell Roberts

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - Lifeboatman Richard Chisholm

The above awards were given in recognition of the saving of 35 seamen from the 20,125 ton tanker ‘World Concord’ on 27th November. The tanker had broken into two parts in hurricane force winds gusting to over 115 mph. Whilst the fore part drifted away, the stern section with the engines still running remained some 15 miles NNW of South Bishop Lighthouse. Launching at 0830 the lifeboat ‘Swn-y-Mor’ located the tanker and began the first of 36 runs alongside the casualty to pluck the 35 man crew to safety. The waves alongside the tanker were some 15-20’ high and the lifeboat had to avoid the tankers propellors which were running throughout. Having succeeded in rescuing the sailors the lifeboat returned to station. The seven crewmen on the fore part were rescued by the Rosslare Lifeboat, earning their Coxswain a silver medal.

The tanker World Concord dwarfs the St Davids lifeboat which is visible alongside.

1956

RNLI BRONZE MEDAL - Coxswain David Lewis

FRENCH GOVERNMENT LIFESAVING SILVER MEDAL (1st class) and FRENCH LIFEBOAT SOCIETY BRONZE MEDAL - Lifeboatman Ieuan Bateman

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - 2nd Coxswain William Morris

The French trawler ‘Notre Dame de Fatima’ was 4.5 miles from Skokholm island when she requested assistance. The lifeboat ‘Swn-y-Mor’ succeeded in rescuing the 8 man crew though the lifeboat sustained some damage whilst alongside the trawler. The weather was too severe to allow rehousing at Porthstinan so the lifeboat headed for the shelter of Milford Haven. Whilst off St Anns Head the lifeboat was completely submerged by two massive waves from astern. Once the water cleared, one of the lifeboatmen was found to be injured whilst another - Ieuan Bateman (22) - had been washed overboard. His body was recovered two days later.

A depiction of the rescue of the Notre Dame de Fatima from a 1968 book.

1969

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - St Davids Lifeboat Station

The RNLI presented a Vellum certificate to the St Davids Station in recognition of it's services during it's first 100 years of operation.

1978

RNLI BRONZE MEDAL - Coxswain William Morris

The lifeboat was called to the MFV 7 - a naval survey vessel - which had suffered engine failure near Daufraich. The lifeboat ‘Joseph Soar’ arrived to find the casualty about to be driven onto rocks. As there would not be enough time to take off the crew of seven the Coxswain decided to attempt to tow the vessel to safety. With the lifeboats decks awash and her crew upto their waists in water, a tow was passed by driving the lifeboat amongst the rocks and overfalls to the casualty which was subsequently towed to Milford Haven.

The MFV7 lifeboat crew:  Basil Davies, Colin Mills, Idwal Chapman, William Morris (Cox), Jackie Phillips, TK Williams and Gerald Davies on receipt of their certificates of service.

1981

RNLI BRONZE MEDAL - Coxswain Frederick John

The greek tug Vernicos Giorgos with two tugs in tow suffered engine problems and a fouled propellor in St Brides Bay. As all three vessels were drifting ashore, assistance was sought. The relief lifeboat 'Charles Henry Ashley', in darkness and a SW gale, had to come alongside the tug in shallow water to take off three of the crew, avoiding the floating tow rope as she did so. Later attempts to reach the 5 remaining crew had to be abandoned as the lifeboat began grounding in the shallow water. An RAF rescue helicopter winched them to safety as the lifeboat and coastguard illuminated the scene before all three tugs were wrecked.

Two the the three tugs aground near Solva on the following day.

The lifeboat crew:  back row David Chant, Michael Morris, Norman Rowley, Keith Jones (Dr G Middleton) and front row:  (William Llewellyn Hon Sec) Jackie Phillips, Fred John (Cox), John Bateman, (Mr AG Lloyd)

1985

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - Coxswain Frederick John

RNLI LETTERS OF THANKS - Lifeboatmen David Chant and Jeffrey Thompson

The fishing vessel ‘Miss Ali Jane’ suffered steering and engine problems whilst close inshore recovering a beached inflatable in Ramsey Sound during a NE gale. The lifeboat arrived to tow the fishing boat clear but, as they did so, the fishing boat crewman in a dinghy astern became separated from his boat and was washed onto the Bitches reef. After towing the Miss Ali Jane to safety, the lifeboat returned with her 12’ wooden boarding boat crewed by David Chant and Jeffrey Thompson. This was rowed against the wind and strong tide to rescue the man from the reef.

The crew receive their certificates:  Jeff Thompson, (Dr G Middleton), Michael Morris, John Bateman, David Chant, Byron Bateman, (W Llewellyn) and front Alan Evans, Fred John, Jackie Phillips, (Mrs D Turner)

1987

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - Coxswain Frederick John

The fishing boat Marigold A had suffered engine problems in St Brides Bay during a SW gale when she requested assistance. The lifeboat ‘Ruby & Arthur Reed’ launched to assist. In a 30’ swell and darkness a tow rope was passed between the two boats. The passage to Milford Haven commenced but was twice interrupted by the tow rope parting. After 5 hours the safety of Milford Haven was reached and the lifeboat remained there overnight until the conditions moderated to allow rehousing at St Davids.

The crew from the Marigold A rescue:  Jackie Phillips, Byron Bateman, Michael Morris, Fred John, John Bateman, TK Williams, Malcolm Gray and RNLI Inspector Michael Vlasto.

1989

RNLI BRONZE MEDAL - Coxswain David Chant

The fishing vessel Stephanie Jane was drifting towards the South Bishop Lighthouse with engine failure when she put out a distress call. In winds gusting to over 70 knots and very heavy seas the lifeboat ‘Garside’ was able to reach the casualty in about 20 minutes. The lifeboat was hit by a very large sea which put her onto her side whilst on passage to the casualty. On arriving a towline was successfully passed at the first attempt despite a 40' swell. The long tow to Miford Haven began taking over 8 hours to complete. Conditions were again too severe to allow rehousing at St Davids until the next day.

The Stephanie Jane is brought alongside the wall at Milford Docks - the lifeboat is visible over her bow.

1998

RNLI LETTER OF THANKS - Helmsman Robin Copley

The D-class inflatable had not been stationed long at St Davids when she was called to search for a woman fallen from cliffs near Porthgain. In darkness and force 6 winds (at the limits of her operational ability) the ILB searched close inshore for most of the night. The all-weather lifeboat ‘Garside’ along with coastguards, the police and rescue helicopters joined the search. Her body was recovered from the sea the next morning.

1999

RNLI THANKS ON VELLUM - Coxswain Malcolm Gray

In the early hours of Christmas Eve the 1500 tonne tanker Blackfriars broke it’s anchor cable in St Brides Bay and was washed onto Musselwick Sands. The lifeboat ‘Garside’ launched into darkness and a SW gale, standing-by whilst three of the crew were airlifted to safety. With the captain and three others still aboard the coaster the arrival of a salvage tug was awaited. When it became clear that no tugs were available to assist, the lifeboat - operating in shallow water and darkness - passed a towline to the tanker to attempt to stop the ship being pushed further up the beach and onto rocks. After several hours holding the tankers position the tow was transferred and the tanker pulled free. Whilst St Davids lifeboat held her in deep water, the Angle lifeboat arrived and checked for pollution. The tankers engines were restarted and a tug arrived to assist the Blackfriars into Milford Haven later that morning.

The crew receive their certificates:  Back - Michael Phillips, Robin Copley, Paul Taylor  Front - Cindy Pearce, Malcolm Gray (Cox), (Councillor W Hitchings), Jeffrey Thompson, Clive Hayes.

RNLI LETTER OF THANKS - Honorary Secretary Jeffrey Davies

A Letter of Thanks was also presented to the station Honorary Secretary Jeffrey Davies by the RNLI's Chief of Operations in recognition of his commitment to the service during the course of the Blackfriars rescue.

 

2001

RNLI LETTER OF THANKS - Lifeboatman Paul Taylor

St Davids lifeboatman Paul Taylor has received a letter of thanks from the RNLI for his part in the rescue of the occupant of the yacht "Curachan" which sank after hitting a submerged object near St Davids Head.

 

2002

RNLI Chairman's Framed Letter of Thanks - Neil Thomas, ILB Helmsman

RNLI Chief of Operations Letter of Thanks - Michael Phillips, ILB Crewman

Presented for the rescue of 3 surfers from 2 metre surf at Newgale beach on 21st March.  See the services section for more information.

2005

RNLI Thanks on Vellum - Coxswain Malcolm Gray

RNLI Letters of Appreciation - David John, Robin Copley, Michael Phillips, Jestyn Martin, Roland Bateman and Nicholas Phillips. Captain Michael Poole of the ferry Isle of Inishmore.

St Davids relief lifeboat "Sarah Emily Harrop" was launched at 4.14am on the 21st December to the 19m trawler "Yves Marie Amil" which was on fire about 4 miles west of the South Bishop lighthouse. Coxswain Malcolm Gray successfully manouvred the lifeboat alongside the trawler in 3-4m seas so that the lifeboat crew could evacuated the three. The lifeboat returned to station about 2 hours after launching whilst the trawler later sank.

See the services section for more information.

 

2008

RNLI Letter of Appreciation - Helmsman Nicholas Phillips

St Davids inshore lifeboat "Dewi Sant / St David" rescued a man who had climbed down the cliffs to salvage his boat which had been washed ashore after it's mooring parted.

See the services section for more information.

2008

RNLI Thanks on Vellum - Coxswain David John

RNLI Framed Letter of Thanks - Second Coxswain Clive Hayes

The St Davids lifeboat "Garside" launched at 11.30pm on 6th March to the trawler "Western Belle" which had suffered complete power failure 12 miles west of the Smalls Lighthouse - some 27 miles from station. The wind was blowing SW at gale force and the sea was very rough. It took over 2.5 hours to reach the casualty which was taken in tow to Milford Haven. The tow parted on two occasions and it was 14 hours after launching that the lifeboat returned to station.

Crew members Robin Copley, Ian Gray , Andrew Iceton, Jestyn Martin and Padrig Rees received Vellum Service Certificates.

See the services section for more information.

 

2008

RNLI Framed Letter of Thanks - Helmsman Simon Thornton, Helmsman Nicholas Phillips and Crew Members Gareth Morris and Simon Twitchen.

For the rescue of three teenage girls from the cliffs at Caerfai after they became trapped by the tide. See the services section for more information.

Other Awards

Other awards have been presented to the station and it's crews and fundraisers including:

M.B.E.  Coxswain Malcolm Gray, Roy Thomas DLA, Tony Pearce DLA.

Honorary Life Governors: Dr Joseph Soar, Dr George Middleton

RNLI Gold Badges: William Llewellyn, Dr George Middleton, Mrs Ivy Griffiths, Mr Jeffrey Davies, Mrs Maureen Owen, Mrs Pat Mayoh..

RNLI Bar to Gold Badge: Mrs Ivy Griffiths

RNLI Silver Badges: Dr George Middleton, Mrs Betty Morris, Mrs Jan Rees, Mrs Pat Mayoh, Mrs Jeanne Middleton, Mrs Sue King.

RNLI Binoculars:  Jeffrey Davies (Hon Sec)

RNLI Certificate of Thanks: Mrs Nancy Bailey

RNLI Statuettes: Mrs Elsie Chant, Mrs Barbera Munden, Mrs Eileen Griffiths, John James, Roy Thomas, Jim Phillips and James Wilcox (LOM)..

Long Service Awards: Thomas Morris, David Hicks, Frank Rowlands, Thomas Evans, John Griffiths, Michael Moriarty, Ivor Arnold, William Thomas, Henry Roberts, William Phillips, William Rowlands, George Jordan, Ivor Griffiths, John Bateman, Byron Bateman, Henry Griffiths, Frederick John, John Phillips, T K Williams, David Chant, Keith Jones, Jeffrey Thompson, Rex Lewis, Michael Morris, Roland Bateman, Malcolm Gray, David John, Clive Hayes.

The long service awarded is presented to crew members and launchers on completion of 20 years service to the RNLI.  Many of the above crew members have gone on to complete over 30 years service.