Lifeboat timeline 1803-1899

St. Peter Port Douzaine decide to “build and bring from England a lifeboat of recent design to give assistance to vessels in distress constructed in a fashion to resist the strongest tempests without danger to its crew”.

First lifeboat stationed at St Sampson. Boat built by Henry Greathead of South Shields, designer of the ‘Original’ and cost £170.

November 28th ‘HMS Boreas’, 6th rate 28 gun frigate is shipwrecked on the Hanois with 127 lives lost, 70 saved. The militiamen at Fort Pezeries did not raise the alarm which could have mobilised a large rescue effort. It seems the reason the militiamen were not as aware as they perhaps should have been, was the posting on guard of “Females and Invalids”.

Proposals to build lighthouse at Hanois – but 40 years pass before action is taken.

Gustavus Frederick Carrington born – A sailmaker, shipowner, shipbroker and insurer instrumental in setting up the lifeboat station.

The Guernsey Mutual Insurance Society for Shipping created. One director was Gustavus Carrington (see also 1857 – lifeboat subscription).

September 27th . Michael Hubert and Martin Renouf of the Vale were rescued from a rock at Bordeaux. Messrs Nicholas Brache Snr. and Jr. were presented with a silver cup by H.E. Maj. Gen Napier, the Lt Governor at Government house on 1Sept 1842 for their heroic conduct.

The Braches must have been very committed folk as they were again reported as having ‘rescued 2 out of 4 in the Cherbourg roads’.

March 16th Nicholas Brache Snr. on board his Pilot boat ‘Mary’ saves 20 from the ‘Experiment’ on rocks North of Brehon. Capt. Le Cocq and 8 passengers were drowned. The Lieut. Governor Major-General Bell, presented ‘a handsome blue bag, on one side an anchor, the other a branch of laurel, containing 1800 francs (£75) which had been subscribed.’ The recipients were Nicholas Brache Snr. his sons John and Nicholas, John William, James Henry, and Nicholas Brache his nephews, Charles Bichard, Peter le Poidevin, James Langlois and Thomas Renouf. A painting was also commissioned by P.J. Naftel a reputed local artist, and also presented.

The first ‘screw steamer’ S.S. ‘Collier’ visits Guernsey.

First record of a Guernsey RNLI award (Silver Medal) to John Mitchell for the rescue of 3 from the Cutter ‘Adele’

January 5th. The barque ‘Boadicea’ mistook the Casquets for the Scillies. She was driven onto Tautenay rock in the Little Russel. The brig ‘Diolinda’ raised the alarm and steam tug ‘Watt’, H.M. Revenue Cutter ‘Eagle’ and Pilot boat ‘Blonde’ between them saved 6 of 15 crew. William Pillar, Gunner and William Cockrom, steward, both of MH Cutter ‘Eagle’, together with Henry Bougourd, George Hughes and Peter Corbet, all pilots from ‘Blonde’ were awarded RNLI Silver medals and £2 each. This tragedy prompted renewed interest in building a lighthouse at the Hanois. Messrs. Gustavus Carrington and Capt. Richard Peake, local merchants and ship-owners, also arranged a public subscription to procure a new lifeboat. Seven days later, £115.19s.10d had been raised.
Harbour records show steamships outnumber sailing ships for the first time.
July 20th. A Lifeboat later named ‘The Rescue’ arrives on board steamship ‘Metropolis’ and is based at Stonelake’s yard in St Sampsons ‘for the want of the necessary carriage’.

Foundations for Les Hanois Lighthouse are laid.
October, Abraham Martin (later to become St. Peter Port harbourmaster) awarded the Shipwrecked Mariners Society Silver Medal for Gallantry in saving the crew of two vessels, 45 men in all, during a gale in the North Sea.

May 30th A public meeting convened at which it was agreed that The Rescue be handed over to the RNLI and that a local branch be established.
July- The RNLI agree to take over the boat and a lifeboat shed is built North Side St Sampsons at a cost of £134. (Now occupied by ‘French Accents’, ex Cosalt Shipchandlers).

Hanois Light established built of Cornish granite!
A new lifeboat of 30 ft, with 6 oars and carriage provided by RNLI is delivered, to replace The Rescue ‘. Apparently unnamed until 1868

Gunner James Moore of the Royal Artillery in Alderney rescues 17 men of the crew of the French ship ‘Carioca’ which struck the rocks under Hermitage Rock Battery. He is later awarded an RNLI Silver Medal.

Sept 5th. A Miss Louisa Hall of Maida Vale left a legacy and the RNLI Committee instructed that the Guernsey lifeboat be named after her.
The RNLB ‘The Louisa Hall’, two launches, no rescues, was based at St. Sampson.

RNLB ‘Mary and Victoria’ stationed in Alderney, never launched ‘in anger’. Lifeboat House cost £235.

Victor Hugo presents Harbour Master Capt. Abraham Martin, as a ‘mark of esteem’ with his own design of lifejacket and belt.

June 5th. The first serious steam powered major casualty in Bailiwick waters. The two funnelled London and South Western Railway Paddle Steamer ‘Waverley’ Southampton to Guernsey, founders on Platte Boue rock in thick weather. Fortunately there was no loss of life. Captain Mabb exonerated.

Feb 16th the LSWR Channel Packet SS ‘Havre’ from Southampton, founders on Platte Boue rock, 92 survivors. Passengers put ashore on Amfroque; wreck found lying across that of the ‘Waverley’. A buoy placed there on June 18th that year. Captain Long’s Cert suspended 12 months.

The lifeboat capsized whilst under sail on exercise, fortunately without loss of life.

The Boat House on North Side St Sampson was extended to accommodate RNLB ‘John Lockett’ 32 ft, 10 oared pulling and sailing lifeboat, initially located at La Lande, then at St Sampson, the last lifeboat to be stationed there to 1878, turned out only once but never launched.

Proposed to move lifeboat station to Les Landes, Vale.

Four landowners at les Landes contract with RNLI, land was given for construction of a boathouse costing £334.

March 13th the RNLB John Lockett was taken from St Sampsons to La Lande, drawn by 6 horses and led by the St Martin’s Drum and Fife band. The Old lifeboat house sold to the States for £143.10.0.

Inability to provide crew from Les Landes area prompts proposal to re-location of lifeboat to St. Peter Port. The proposed Cox M. Langlois resigned when told that he could no longer be on the Committee. The lifeboat was temporarily kept at St Sampson awaiting completion of the new building at Castle emplacement HSPP.

New Lifeboat house completed on Castle Emplacement using materials from the old, at a cost of £155. ‘John Lockett’ relocated to Eastern end of the Model yacht Pond, which remained the launch site until 1929 from which date lifeboats were moored permanently afloat.

The ‘Castle slipway’ now known as the Old Lifeboat Slip constructed and NE corner of emplacement ‘made good’.

Alderney Lifeboat withdrawn and station closed as so many fishermen had left the island and it was difficult getting a crew. The lifeboat was transferred to St. Helier.

January 29th. The Paddle Steamer ‘Brighton’ of the Weymouth and Channel Islands Co. strikes the Brayes rocks and sinks in 15 minutes. Fortunately no loss of life all landed safely at Bordeaux. A coffin containing a body carried on board for burial in Guernsey was washed up intact on Alderney. The Captain’s cert. was suspended for 6 months. This event was the first in a series of major incidents leading to the construction of the Platte Fougère lighthouse in 1909.

RNLB ‘Vincent Wilkinson, Kirk Ella’ ON 165 a 34 ft, 10 oared pulling and sailing lifeboat stationed at St. Peter Port to 1912 – the first Guernsey lifeboat to have an ‘ON or Official Number’. Colonel E.A.D. Brooshoft of Kirk Ella in Yorkshire presented three lifeboats to the R.N.L.I. The first, ‘Sarah Brooshoft Kirk Ella’, was stationed in Jersey; the ‘Jonathan Marshall Sheffield’ at Ackergill, Caithness and the ‘Vincent Wilkinson, Kirk Ella’ at St. Peter Port. She arrived on board the L.S.W.R. steamer ‘Hilda’ on August 28th. The first recorded assistance was to ‘Isabella Helen’ in distress whilst entering HSPP.

February 14th 23.15 ‘Isabella Helen’ Capt. Samuel Hall, 97 tons, 5 on board, in distress whilst entering HSPP from Plymouth. The new lifeboat ‘Vincent Wilkinson, Kirk Ella’ goes to her assistance. It was believed to be a very auspicious start to her career.

Gustavus Carrington (1825) dies.

Maroons introduced to call out the crew.

Feb 1st. ‘Channel Queen’ Capt. Collings, Plymouth to Guernsey, struck the Black Rock near Port Grat in thick fog at 05.10 am and becomes a ‘Total Loss’. . 12 of 50 passengers and 5 of the crew drowned.

Loss of the LSWR passenger steamer ‘Stella’, on the Casquets reef, including loss of 105 lives. 4.10 p.m. Maundy Thursday, March 30th. Capt. Reeks went down with his vessel. This was paralleled with the ‘Titanic’ loss of 1912.