PENMON AND BEAUMARIS LIFEBOAT STATIONS

followed by service details
From 1880


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Penmon 1880 Friars Bay 1914 Beaumaris 1967
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Beaumaris 1974 Beaumaris 2000 Computer station in crew room

Lifeboats and their Record

ON LIFEBOAT

PERIOD

LAUNCHES RESCUED COST
271 TOM AND JENNY 1891 - 1895 6 2 £667
Gift of Donation ( anonymous )
Previous Lifeboat Station at Penmon Closed in 1895
621 FREDERICK KITCHIN 1914 - 1945 38 46 £ 3,727
( Watson - Motor )
Legacy of Mrs. Frederick Kitchen of Caernarfon
846 FIELD MARSHAL AND MRS. SMUTS 1945 - 1976 136 119 £ 13, 865
( Watson - Motor )
Gift of Southern Africa Branch of the Institution
RELIEF LIFEBOATS 1945 - 1976 18 8 -----------
921 GREATER LONDON 11 1977 - 1989 38 21 £ 32,188
( Civil Service No. 30 ) ( Watson - Motor )
Gift of the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund.
Previously Stationed at Southend - on - Sea.
where she rescued 139 lives
RELIEF LIFEBOATS 1977 - 1989 3 -- --
955 THE ROBERT 1989 - 1991 2 1 £ 34,826
( Watson - Motor ) Cost defrayed by anonymous gift
Previously stationed at Broughty Ferry, Baltimore and
Lytham St. Annes where she rescued 46 Lives
RELIEF LIFEBOATS

1989 - 1991

-- -- ---------
.
ALL WEATHER LIFEBOAT WITHDRAWN

Total to date

241 197
D CLASS ILB " BLUE PETER 2 "

1967 -1975

563 ATLANTIC 21 " BLUE PETER 2 "

1975 - 2000

B 768 ATLANTIC 75 " BLUE PETER 2 "

2000 -

Lives Saved by Beaumaris All Weather Lifeboats from 1891 until 1991
Launched 241 times
Lives Saved 197

Lives Saved by Beaumaris Inshore Lifeboats from 1967 until September 2002
Launched 1022 times
Lives Saved 218

Total number of launches and lives saved by Beaumaris " All Weather Lifeboats " and " Inshore Lifeboats " since 1891 <><> Launches 1263 <><> Lives Saved 415 <><> Until September 2002.

Beaumaris Services from 1890
After the capsize of their boat while on service on the 7th. November 1890 the Penmon lifeboat - men asked the R.N.L.I. to station a larger, sailing lifeboat in the Menai Straits. In September 1891 a 42' x 11' self - righting lifeboat was transferred from the lifeboat station at St. Mary's, in the Scilly Isles to Beaumaris, where she was kept afloat at moorings. She had been built in 1890 by Forrest at a cost of £271 and was originally named the " Henry Dundas. " At Beaumaris she was appropriated to an anonymous gift to the R.N.L.I. from " D " and was re-named the " Tom and Jennie
The first of six calls she was to answer at Beaumaris came at the end of December 1891, but no effective service was performed.

On the 1st. November 1894, the cutter " Letty " of Liverpool ran aground on the Lavan Sands in a W.S.W. gale while on passage from Port Dinorwic to Runcorn with a cargo of slate. The " Tom and Jennie " put out at 1.30 pm. and rescued the crew of two from the cutter.

When the schooner " Kate " of Chester was reported to be flying a distress signal while at anchor near Puffin Island on the 10th. November 1895 the " Tom and Jennie. " slipped her moorings at 2.00 pm. She found that the schooner's sails were split and so the crew of four were taken ashore by the lifeboat. Just six days later, the lifeboat was called out again at 10.00 am. when the cutter " Sarah Beck " of Liverpool, began to drag her anchor in a fierce storm, with winds gusting up to hurricane force the crew of four were taken off by the lifeboat and landed at Beaumaris.
In March 1896 with a new lifeboat then stationed at Penmon it was decided to close the Beaumaris Lifeboat Station and the " Tom and Jennie " was transferred to Rosslare Harbour.

The first lifeboats to be built already fitted with a motor were completed in 1908 and in 1911 the R.N.L.I. decided to re-open the Beaumaris Lifeboat Station by placing a motor lifeboat there. To accommodate her a boathouse and deep-water slipway were built at a cost of £4.500. The boat was built by the Thames Iron Works Co.Ltd. at a cost of £3.727 and was a 43' x 12'6" Watson class, non-self righting boat. She was driven by a single 60 h.p. Taylor petrol engine, which gave her a top speed of seven and a half knots. On the 6th. August 1913 while she was on passage along the south coast, this lifeboat called in at Cowes during the Regatta Week. H.M. King George V took a short trip in the new lifeboat, the various details of the machinery being explained to His Majesty by the Right Hon. Arnold Morley and Sir Godfrey Baring Bart. both members of the R.N.L.I.'s Committee of Management.
Completion of the slipway at Beaumaris was delayed by constructional problems and the new lifeboat did not arrive at her station until July 1914. This boat, which was provided out of a legacy of Mrs. Kitchen of Caernarfon was named the " Frederick Kitchen " by Mrs. Burton, wife of the stations Honorary Secretary.
The " Frederick Kitchen " was launched for the first time on service in December 1916 but no effective service was performed.


Her first rescue came on the 3rd. October 1917 when she was launched at 9.20 pm. to the schooner " Nikita " of Plymouth. In a south - westerly gale and heavy seas, the lifeboat found the schooner rolling heavily and she helped to take her to a safe anchorage.
After a message had been received from the keepers at the Penmon Lighthouse that a vessel was ashore on Puffin Island, the " Frederick Kitchen " was launched just before 10 o'clock on the evening of the 26th. March 1920. She found the local ketch " Esther " and stood-by her until she refloated at about midnight. One member of the crew was brought ashore by the lifeboat, but the Captain and his son remained on board. The wind increased in strength to a full gale, causing a very rough sea and a watch was kept on the ketch, in case the help of the lifeboat might be needed again. At 10 o'clock on the evening of the 27th. flares were seen coming from the ketch and the lifeboat was launched again and rescued the two men.


The " Frederick Kitchen " was launched at 10.15 pm. on the 27th. October 1923 when signals of distress were seen in the direction of the Cross Roads, off Penmon. In a fierce S.S.W. gale the lifeboat found the schooners " Mary Ann " of Faversham and " Baltic " of Liverpool, in danger of dragging their anchors in the heavy seas. Two men were taken off the " Baltic " and five off the " Mary Ann " and landed at Beaumaris.
A telephone call was received at Beaumaris on the morning of the 29th. March 1931 reporting that a yacht was adrift in Conwy Bay. The " Frederick Kitchen " was launched at 11.55 am, into a very choppy sea, with a stiff south - easterly breeze. She found the cutter - yacht " Bluebell " of Chester with three people on board. All their sails had been blown away and the lifeboat towed them back to Beaumaris.
When the ketch " Florence " of Runcorn began dragging her anchor in a south - westerly gale on the 3rd. January 1932 and was in danger of being driven on to the Causeway Rocks off Puffin Island, the lifeboat went out and rescued the crew of two.
Another yacht that got into difficulties was the cause of the " Frederick Kitchen " being launched at 2.20 pm. on the 25th. October 1932. She was the " Anthes " which had a crew of two and they and their boat were towed to Bangor.

The Beaumaris Lifeboat - men were called out 10 times during the Second World War, most of those launches being to carry out a search after aircraft had been reported crashed into the sea, but sadly they never found any survivors.
On the 13th. April 1941 the " Frederick Kitchen " was launched at 9.35 pm. after a message had been received that a tug was sinking near Puffin Island. In a choppy sea and torrential rain, the lifeboat - men found the Admiralty tug " St. Oliver " whose crew of 31 were already in their ship's boats about to abandon - ship. They were quickly rescued by the lifeboat which took the tug in tow and beached her in Friars Bay with her decks awash.
On the 6th. November that same year, the lifeboat was launched at 11.45 am. to take a doctor out to the M.V. " Sumatra " which had an injured man on board.

The last service launched by the " Frederick Kitchen " took place on the 2nd. September 1945 after two boys were reported to be drifting out to sea on a raft, but eventually they were picked up by another boat. This was the 38th. service launch by this lifeboat, during which 46 lives had been saved.
A few days later the " Frederick Kitchen " was replaced by a new lifeboat, one of two prototype 46' Watson class boats, which were the first to be built in this country with mid - ship steering. The new boat cost £13.865 and her two 40 hp. diesel engines gave her a top speed of eight and a quarter knots. She was launched for the first time on service on the 4th. June 1946 when she landed two men who had been bird watching on Puffin Island, they having been stranded there for 24 hours by heavy seas.
The Naming Ceremony of the new lifeboat did not take place until the 23rd. July 1948. She was one of three lifeboats to be built out of a gift of £33,000 to the R.N.L.I from it's Southern Africa Branch and the Countess Howe named her the
" Field Marshal and Mrs. Smuts."

When the engine of the motor - cruiser " West - wind " of Rockferry, broke down in rough seas and a S.S.W. gale on the 6th. September 1950, the " Field Marshall and Mrs. Smuts " was was launched at 9.00 pm. The crew of two were quickly rescued, being landed at Menai Bridge, as heavy seas made it impossible to put them ashore at Beaumaris Pier.

At 5 o'clock on the afternoon of the 15th. September 1952, the Coastguard at Penmon reported that a yacht had gone aground and the Lifeboat was launched. She found the auxiliary cutter - yacht " Anita " of Rhu, aground on the Lavan Sands, being pounded by heavy seas. The Lifeboat dropped anchor and was veering down towards the yacht, when one of the two men on board her, was knocked overboard. The lifeboat - men immediately fired a line across to him and he was hauled aboard the lifeboat and given artificial respiration. A line was then passed to the other man on the yacht and the lifeboat towed them to Menai Bridge.

While the " Field Marshal and Mrs. Smuts " was away for an overhaul early in 1955, the relief lifeboat " N.T." was placed on temporary duty at Beaumaris. In an E.S.E. wind and heavy snow on the 24th. February, she took out two relief watchmen to the M.T.B. " Dark Antagonist " and brought ashore one man from her. She later towed the boat to safer moorings at Menai Bridge. Then on the 1st. May, the " N.T. " was launched at 11.30 am. and escorted the racing yacht " Dot " of Liverpool, to moorings at Gallows Point, Beaumaris.

The " Field Marshal and Mrs. Smuts " was launched into a choppy sea at half - past seven on the evening of the 8th. May 1957 after the Coastguard at Penmon had reported a ship in difficulties near Puffin Island. She was the M.V. " Cristo " of Bristol, with a crew of 5 and her engines had broken down while she was on passage to Liverpool with a cargo of phosphate. The Lifeboat - men passed across a tow - line and she was taken to an anchorage off Bangor.

At twenty minutes to two on the afternoon of the 27th. October 1959 the Coastguards telephoned the Honorary Secretary of the Beaumaris Lifeboat Station, to report that the Greek tanker " Essar 1 " was adrift with her engine room flooded and trouble with her engines, in a position one mile north of Point Lynas. Normally, the Moelfre Lifeboat would have been called out to her, but as we have already seen, at that time, she was out on service to the M.V. " Hindlea."
The " Field Marshall and Mrs. Smuts " was therefore launched with Coxswain Hugh Jones in command, in exceptionally rough seas, with a northerly gale gusting up to 104 m.p.h.

The Moelfre Lifeboat landed the survivors from the " Hindlea " at 2.37 pm. and put to sea again three quarters of an hour later, to stand by the drifting tanker. The Beaumaris Lifeboat reached the scene at 6 o'clock that evening, having battled her way through 19 miles of enormous seas, right into the full fury of the gale and against the flood - tide. The Lifeboat and her gallant crew had endured a terrible battering, the Lifeboats wireless aerial having been carried away by one enormous wave. The Moelfre Lifeboat returned to her station on the arrival of the Beaumaris boat and, at the Master's request Coxswain Jones agreed to stand by the tanker throughout the night and the " Field Marshal and Mrs. Smuts " was secured astern of the " Essar 1 " All through that appalling night, the storm roared on unabated and huge icy seas continually swept clean over the lifeboat. Three times, the securing line parted, but each time it was reconnected.

At 9 o'clock the next morning, Coxswain Evans returned in the Moelfre Lifeboat and he stood - by the tanker until a tug arrived at 4.00 pm. Coxswain Jones and his weary crew finally reached Beaumaris again at 11 o'oclock on the morning of the 28th. 21 hours after they had set out. For this very fine service, in some of the worst weather experienced in the area for many years, the Chairman of the R.N.L.I. sent a Letter of Appreciation to Coxswain Jones and his crew and at the next meeting of the Beaumaris Town Council, a resolution was passed recording " the very gallant and valuable service " of the Beaumaris Lifeboat on this occasion.

On the afternoon of the 3rd. August 1961 the motor - yacht " Rakes Retreat " which was owned by the television personality Hughie Green who was on board at the time, was seen to be having difficulties picking up a mooring buoy in Friar's Bay. The " Field Marshal and Mrs. Smuts " was therefore launched at 5.25 pm. and found that the yacht's engine had broken down. A line was passed across and the yacht was towed to safety.

While the relief Lifeboat " Frank and William Oates " a single engined 35' 6" Liverpool class boat, was on passage to Pwllheli from Hoylake on the 8th. July 1963. her engine broke down and the Beaumaris Lifeboat was called out and towed her to a boatyard at Bangor.

The relief Lifeboat " Cunard " on temporary duty at Beaumaris on the 17th. August 1964, was launched at 11.30 pm. when two men were reported to be in difficulties in a motor - boat in Beaumaris Bay. In a south - westerly gale and rough sea, the Lifeboat brought ashore the two men. She answered another call on the 12th. September, after flares had been sighted between Puffin Island and Great Orme's Head. The casualty proved to be the motor - launch " Jean " with a crew of 7 and they and their boat were towed to moorings at Beaumaris.

At Christmas 1966 the B.B.C. children's programme " Blue Peter " launched an appeal to raise funds to provide an inflatable Inshore Lifeboat. Viewers were asked to send in paper - back books and the response was overwhelming. Eventually not one but four of these boats were provided and " Blue Peter II " was allocated to Beaumaris. Her first service launch took place on the 9th. June, 1967. when she gave help to the yacht " Harbet "

" Blue Peter II saved her first lives on the 29th. July 1967, when she was launched at 6.30 pm after a converted ship's lifeboat had been seen to be aground on a sandbank opposite the lifeboat station. In a fresh south - westerly breeze and rough sea, she found the vessel to be the " Iris " . She had lost her rudder and was leaking badly and the I.L.B. rescued her crew of two.

The 11th. August. 1967 was Regatta Day at the Conwy Yacht Club. During that afternoon, a freak storm blew up and 18 yachts capsized while taking part in a race. At 2.37 pm. the " Field Marshal and Mrs. Smuts " was launched, followed a few minutes later by " Blue Peter II " They found that most of the crews had been able to right their boats, but the I.L.B. gave assistance to the
" Wineglass 287 "before bringing one of her crew ashore in an exhausted state.
The " Field Marshall " went to the aid of the yacht " St. George " which had been dismasted in the storm and she towed he to Beaumaris Pier.

The " Field Marshal and Mrs. Smuts. " was launched at 9.45 pm. on the 3rd. September 1967 after the Coastguard had expressed concern for the safety of a small sloop anchored near Penmon Point. She was being pounded by heavy seas, whipped up by a south - westerly gale and the lifeboat found her to be the yacht " Perichole " with a crew of two. A line was passed across and the lifeboat towed her to Beaumaris Pier. Next day, at 11.40 pm. the lifeboat was called out again, after flares had been seen off Beaumaris. They had been fired from the yacht " Robbie " which was taking a severe battering in the heavy seas while at her moorings. The lifeboat rescued two adults and a baby and landed them at Menai Bridge.

Within minutes of a report being received that a sailing dinghy with three people on board, had capsized one mile off Beaumaris Pier, on the 16th. October 1968, " Blue Peter ll " was launched at 11.40 am. The dinghy was from the Outdoor Activities Centre, the I.L.B. rescued two girl students and then towed in the dinghy, the helmsman staying on board to bail her out on the way. The I.L.B. put out again straight away and towed in another dinghy form the Centre, again with three people on board, their boat having been unable to make any headway.

When the engine of the speedboat " Pied Piper " broke down in a choppy sea and fresh south - westerly wind on the afternoon of the 4th. of August 1969, the boat was driven against the sea - wall " Blue Peter II " was launched at 4 o'clock and rescued the crew of 2 who were becoming very exhausted from their efforts to fend the boat off the wall. A line was then secured to the speedboat and the I.L.B. towed her to safety.

At 1.30 pm. on the 10th. September 1969, the Coastguard reported that a man on a raft was being swept out to sea off Penrhyn Dock and " Blue Peter II " was quickly launched. In choppy seas and a strong south - westerly wind, the I.L.B. rescued the man and towed his raft to Bangor Pier.

In a full south - westerly gale and very rough sea, the "Field Marshal and Mrs. Smuts" was launched at half past ten on the evening of the 21st. September 1969, after the Coastguard reported a cabin cruiser was in difficulties off Moil - y - Don. She was the " Sarah Jane " which was drifting with her engine broken down. There were 4 people on board and the lifeboat rescued them and put them ashore at Menai Bridge.

Two people were rescued by " Blue Peter II " on the afternoon of the 28th. April 1970, when their catamaran got into difficulties three miles south - south - east of Penmon.

When the Hull dredger " Hoveringham II " fired a distress flare on the morning of the 28th. January 1971, the " Field Marshal and Mrs. Smuts " was launched at 9 o'clock. She found the dredger close to Puffin Island and immediately rescued 4 of the crew who had taken to a liferaft. A line was secured to the dredger and Coxswain Jones began to tow the vessel into shallower water. Suddenly, the dredger began to list alarmingly and it became obvious that she was about to capsize. Coxswain Jones slipped the tow - line, took the lifeboat straight alongside the dredger and rescued the remaining three members of the crew, landing them all safely at 11.30 am.

In the summer of 1972, the " Blue Peter II " programme on B.B.C. television, launched another appeal to provide four new " Blue Peter " Lifeboats. Over a quarter of a million paper back books were sent in by viewers and it was announced that the new Beaumaris I.L.B. would be one of the
" Atlantic 21 ", semi-inflatable boats. These are 21 feet long, have a rigid bottom and are fitted with two 50 hp. outboard engines, which give them a top speed of about 30 knots. They carry a crew of three, who are seated on padded motor - cycle - type seats and the boats are fitted with radio and navigation lights for night work. The new Beaumaris boat, No. B - 515 was on the R.N.L.I.'s float which took part in the 1973 Lord Mayor of London's Procession. She was later exhibited at the 1974 Earl's Court Boat Show and at an Exhibition at the Science Museum to mark the 150th. Anniversary of the founding of the R.N.L.I.

Before the new " Blue Peter II " could be placed on duty at Beaumaris, a larger boathouse had to be built for her and was then put on station mid 1976.

Historian : J. P. Morris.

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