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Author Topic: Walmer Lifeboat  (Read 595 times)
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Longpockets
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« on: November 28, 2014, 21:49:09 PM »

"CIVIL SERVICE No. 4"
40ft. x 10ft. SR(ON34). Built by Forrestt.
(The firm of T&W Forestt's built many of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's lifeboats in Limehouse between 1852 and 1890)
Cost £504.
Stationed at Walmer, May 1884 to October 1895.
At Walmer:- 56 service launches. 6 lives saved.

Many of the services by lifeboats at this station involved the crews spending many hours at sea, standing-by vessels which had run aground on the notorious Goodwin Sands.

One such instance came on 27th. November 1884 when the "Civil Service No. 4" was launched at 6-45 a.m., after a vessel had been reported aground on the Goodwins. She was the Russian barque "Usko", which was heavily laden with a cargo of timber. With the lifeboatmen standing-by, the crew were taken off by several of the Deal luggers, the lifeboat only returning ashore when everyone was safe.

The "Civil Service No. 4" was launched at 12-30 a.m. on 4th. March 1887, together with the lifeboat from North Deal, to go to the aid of the S.S. "Waesland", of Antwerp, which had run aground on the sands in a dense fog. The two lifeboats stood-by the steamer for nearly 30 hours, before she was eventually refloated and the exhausted lifeboatmen could return ashore.

Later that year, on 3rd. November, the "Civil Service No. 4" spent nearly 24 hours standing-by the brig "C. Neumann Gaedebehn" of Rostock, after the ship had run aground in Pegwell Bay, all her masts and gear having to be cut-away before she could be refloated.

On 5th. March 1893, the "Civil Service No. 4" stood-by the steamer "Auricula", which had run aground on the Goodwins, near the Middle Lightvessel, in dense fog, a tug eventually pulling her clear on the high-tide. Later that year, on 2nd. September, the lifeboats from Walmer, North Deal and Kingsdowne, were all launched to the aid of the S.S. "Cerigo", which had run aground near the South Sand Head Lightvessel. Men from all three lifeboats boarded the steamer and helped to jettison most of her cargo of barley, a tug eventually succeeding in refloating the vessel at high-tide.

Also in 1893, on 19th. November, the "Civil Service No. 4" was launched at 10-30 a.m., after the crew of the fishing vessel "Stephen and Sarah" had been seen flying a distress signal, near Deal Pier. The lifeboat headed out into very rough seas and a fierce NNE gale and found that the 2 fishermen were totally exhausted. They were rescued and landed at Dover.

At 2-45 p.m. on 14th. November 1894, the "Civil Service No. 4" was launched to the assistance of the sloop "Rival", which had got into difficulties in heavy seas and a SSW gale. Some of the lifeboatmen were put aboard and they helped the crew of 4 to take the sloop safely into Ramsgate Harbour.

Together with the lifeboats from North Deal and Ramsgate, the "Civil Service No. 4" was launched at 1-00 a.m. on 21st. April 1895, to the aid of the barque "Madeline Rickmers". Some of the lifeboatmen went on board and helped the crew to throw about 150 tons of her cargo of rice overboard, before the vessel was eventually refloated at about noon. This proved to be the last service by this lifeboat.

"CIVIL SERVICE No. 4"
40ft. x 10'4" SR(ON394). Built by Hanson. Cost £649.
Stationed at Walmer, February 1897 to May 1912; then in relief fleet as 'Reserve No. 3', until 1922.
(Then stationed at Fowey until 1916, being re-named 'James, William & Caroline Courtney' while at Fowey).
At Walmer:- 79 service launches, 155 lives saved. In Relief Fleet:- 7 launches. 14 lives saved.

As with the first "Civil Service No. 4" which was also stationed at Walmer many of the services by this second lifeboat also involved many hours at sea, standing-by stranded vessels, often, the lifeboatmen then helping to refloat the casualty. But attempts to refloat stranded vessels were not always successful, as was the case on 9lh. October 1900. The "Civil Service No. 4" was launched at   1-45 p.m., together with the Kingsdowne Lifeboat "Charles Hargreave", after reports had been received that a vessel was aground near the South Sand Head Lightvessel.

She proved to be the 1,800 ton. Steamer "Carlotta", of Spezzia and many of the lifeboatmen, plus other men who had put out in shore-boats to help, went on board to jettison some of the cargo of barley and rape-seed. Suddenly, the "Carlotta" broke in-two and the two lifeboats went alongside and rescued a total of 58 men, 35 of them being landed by the Walmer Lifeboat at 11-00 p.m.

The "Civil Service No. 4" was launched at 10 o'clock on the evening of 11th. January 1910. after distress signals had been seen coming from a vessel off Walmer Castle. A full south-westerly gale was blowing, with very heavy seas and, as the lifeboat was being launched through the extremely heavy surf, her rudder was badly damaged. However, the lifeboatmen carried on  using a large sweep-oar to steer with.  The casualty was the barque "Formosa", with a crew of 22 the barque's sails having been blown away in the storm. With the help of the lifeboatmen, a tow-line from a lug was connected to the barque and she was towed to the River Thames.

CIVIL SERVICE No.4

What proved to be the last service performed by this lifeboat at Walmer, took place on 20th. December 1911. when she was launched at 6-00 p.m., to the assistance of several local fishing boats, which had been caught at sea by a sudden WNW gale, the lifeboat escorting them all to safety.
At a meeting of the RNLI's Committee of Management on 9th. May 1912, it was decided to close the Walmer Lifeboat Station and the "Civil Service No. 4" was withdrawn shortly afterwards.

http://www.thelifeboatfund.org.uk/sites/default/files/files/125%20years%20of%20The%20Lifeboat%20Fund.pdf

I am not sure if the following pictures are all of the same boat or of both of them.



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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2014, 15:50:08 PM »

The SS 'Mahratta', the fate of which was comprehensively reported elsewhere on this site in 2012, was wrecked on the Goodwin Sands in 1909 but it is not clear to me whether the Walmer lifeboat was involved in this incident or not!
My father was 2 years old when that happened so obviously didn't remember the incident himself but took great pride in pointing out the wreck to me when I was a toddler as did our next door neighbour on Wellington Parade, a retired sea captain, who let me look through his telescope mounted on his balcony!
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Craggs
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2018, 20:59:36 PM »

A small newspaper article from June 1944 about the Walmer Lifeboat helping the Royal Navy ............

Thanet Advertiser - Friday 23 June 1944.

THE NICK OF TIME  ---  The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has awarded its bronze medal for gallantry to Coxswain J. Mercer, of Walmer, for taking the lifeboat across the Goodwin Sands by night in a rough sea and rescuing the crew of 13 of a naval launch.
At times there was only a foot and a half of water under the lifeboat, and old wrecks made the passage dangerous. The lifeboat arrived in the nick of time, for the launch was already half under water, the tide was rising, and in little while she would have been completely submerged.
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Longpockets
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2018, 22:08:14 PM »

The SS 'Mahratta', the fate of which was comprehensively reported elsewhere on this site in 2012, was wrecked on the Goodwin Sands in 1909 but it is not clear to me whether the Walmer lifeboat was involved in this incident or not!

It may be the North Deal boat attended.

Charles Dibden lifeboat

Another thought, from Pete's post in the 2012 topic - "The sum of £1,600 has been allotted to the boatmen of Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown as their share of the salvage of cargo from the liner Mahratta, which was lost on the Goodwin Sands while on the way from India to London. The boatmen of Dover, Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs will also share in the salvage, but the amount to be paid to them has yet to be assessed"

Could the reference to "boatmen" be to the lifeboat crews? I have seen them referred to as such elsewhere. If so all three boats from the Deal area attended ( Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown ) and later there was more boats in attendance on the salvage.

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