One Hundred Years On with grateful thanks to Peter Stibbons for the following
One hundred years ago on Monday 9th January 1917, it is estimated that five thousand people stood on Cromer clifftops. It had been a momentous day. There had been a great storm, and there were vessels lying off-shore, trying to ride out the gale. Shortly after midnight, a green flare lit the sky – and the crowd broke into spontaneous applause. Earlier in the day, the morning, a small Greek steamer, the Pyrin, had hoisted a signal of distress. The elderly lifeboat crew made for the boathouse on the east promenade – an older crew as the young men were away at war. The rowing lifeboat Louisa Heartwell was pulled from the boathouse and hauled across the sands. No engines, no tractors, just the muscle power of the launching crew and many willing helpers. The young coxswain Henry Blogg stood in the stern of the lifeboat, waiting for the right moment to launch. Backs bent to the oars, and the crew drove the lifeboat through the breakers. Once clear, they could hoist a sail and beat up to the Pyrin. Three hours later they were back on the beach, all the crew of the Pyrin saved. But the day was not to end there. As the crew changed their soaked clothing, the Swedish vessel Fernebo was seen to be in trouble. Worse still, there was an explosion midships, and the Fernebo broke in two. Both parts were heading for the beach, below Cromer lighthouse. Watchers were transfixed as a small boat put out from the bow section, with six of the Fernebo’s crew on board. As it reached the rollers on the beach, it capsized and the men were thrown into the water. But Cromer people and soldiers in the town formed chains into the sea and hands reached out to grasp the drowning men and drag them ashore. Private Stewart Holmes would receive a lifeboat medal for his courage; Private John Sharp would never recover from his exertions to help, and died a few months later. His name is on the lifeboat memorial at headquarters in Poole, Dorset. As the stern of the lifeboat grounded outside the breakers, the lifeboat crew manned their boat again. The rocket brigades of Cromer and Sheringham fired their lines, but such was the wind, no line could reach the ship. It would be down to the lifeboat again to try and go the hundred yards through the rolling breakers. The first attempt ended in failure; the raging sea threw the lifeboat back onto the beach. It then had to be recovered, pulled back onto its carriage – and half an hour later Blogg and his crew tried again. This time, the attempt was no more successful. The lifeboat seemed to stand on end and was then buried in the foam of a wave. Five of the fourteen oars of the lifeboat were broken as the Louisa Heartwell was forced ashore again. More and more spectators had gathered as news of the wreck had spread. The local anti-aircraft battery had moved two searchlights into place as darkness fell. Commander Basil Hall of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was on the beach with Coxswain Blogg. Should – could – there be another try? At eleven p.m. the lifeboat was wheeled again into the sea and the tipping mechanism activated. She slid off the carriage and the oars struck the water. Bathed in the beam of a searchlight, it took thirty-five minutes to cover the relatively short distance and manoeuvre alongside the stricken stern of the Fernebo. Hands reached out and the crew were dragged into the lifeboat. The green rocket soared to signal success. At about one a.m. the lifeboat beached with the rescued men. Magnificent service, bull-dog tenacity, stirring endurance, were the words of Commander Hall’s report. Coxswain Henry Blogg received the first of three Gold Medals. Second Coxswain William Davies received a Silver Medal and the Lifeboat Institution created the Bronze Medal in order to recognise the fortitude of all the crew. Earlier on Sunday 8th January 2017 , Cromer lifeboat laid a wreath to remember the loss of Private John Sharp and of Chief Engineer Johan Anderson, the only member of the Fernebo’s crew to be lost that day. Everyone who was there watching would say, ”I remember the Fernebo” for the rest of their life. Former coxswain Henry “ Shrimp” Davies, who used to give talks about the rescue, recorded his recollections and these are available at https://youtu.be/7JXGR0kk13E
This years swim was dedicated to the memory of Tony West, who for many years was a stalwart supporter of Cromer Carnival and Cromer RNLI.
With the water being cold, the sun shining and over 500 people taking part including 7 members of Cromer RNLI crew, a record amount of amount was raised for Cromer RNLI. Estimates of around £2500 will be raised through sponsorship and bucket collections.
Clive Hedges of the North Norfolk Beach Runners was very pleased with the turnout of 'dippers' and spectators. Our inshore lifeboat D734 George and Muriel - was also on hand to provide a safety backup for the crowds and participants.
Croomer RNLI would like to thank all who donated and praise our 7 crew members who also took part.
Members of Cromer RNLI crew, Life Savers and Face to Face Team all joined together to spread the safety message from the RNLI. Lots of adults and children enjoyed meeting everyone on the Carnival Field on Tuesday 16th August and Wednesday 17th August 2016. Many photos were taken of people trying on dummy kit as well as being able to ask questions on the role of the RNLI and safety.
Later in the evening the D class Inshore Rescue Lifeboat accompanied by the team above joined in the procession around Cromer, although they were on constant alert for their pagers sounding.
The Cromer Ladies Lifeboat Guild annual general meeting, held on 12th April 2016, saw one of its long serving members and her husband receive prestigious National Awards in recognition of their long service and outstanding contribution to RNLI fundraising.
Retiring Committee Member, Mrs Peggy Webster, received a Gold Badge certificate and her husband, Cromer RNLI Station Chairman, Mr Tony Webster, received a Gold Bar to his Gold Badge certificate. They will receive their Gold Badge and Gold Bar at a special ceremony in Norwich, in September.
As well as celebrating their golden awards, earlier this year Peggy and Tony also celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Congratulations, Peggy and Tony, and we wish you many more happy years together.
For further details go to the Awards section on the Ladies Guild menu.
A Casualty care course has been held in the main boathouse for all crew to attend. The crew had the option of voluntarily giving up 8 evenings or 3 full days to attend a course which covered all aspects of caring for casualties.
Our congratulations are to be given to all our volunteer crew who attended and all passed.
D-755 Peggy D has arrived for relief duties while station ILB George and Muriel goes away for a refit.
Our Inshore lifeboat D734 has gone away for a refit.
Until it returns we have the relief D Class 'Peggy' D755. The crew who helped out today were Chris Key, 'Nelson' Kirk, David Syer, Wes Stokes, Paul Watling and Colin.
Thanks to the crew for assisting with this.
Our Annual Lifeboat Day held on the revised date of 9th August 2015 was a resounding success.
With lots to see and join in with including the Wild Birds, Coastguards, Lifeguards, Treasure Hunt as well as viewing both Lifeboats made for a wonderful day.
Cromer RNLI would like to thank everyone who attended,especially all the volunteers, for making the day so successful.
The final amount collected will be announced once all moneys are counted.
Welcome to the web site for Cromer lifeboat station. This is the site run from the station itself, at the all-weather lifeboat's boathouse built on the end of Cromer's Victorian pier.
There are many aspects to the running of a lifeboat station. All RNLI stations around the British Isles are organised from Lifeboat Institution headquarters at Poole in Dorset, but they all have an individual identity, reflecting their own character, community and coastline.
In Cromer there are two boathouses, one as we've mentioned for the All-Weather Lifeboat Lester on the pier and the other for the Inshore Lifeboat on the east promenade. This boathouse was originally built in 1902 for the then rowing and sailing lifeboat Louisa Heartwell. You'll find more about the history of the station in other places on this site.
Also on the east promenade you'll find the Henry Blogg Lifeboat Museum. The whole town is proud of the man referred to as 'the greatest of the lifeboatmen', who gained national fame in the first half of the 20th century when navigation around the Norfolk coastline was particularly hazardous in easterly gales.
The sea hasn't changed, recent gales exhibit the same ferocity as ever, but the technological skills of the lifeboat crews have had to develop to deal with a wider range of types of vessel, from the smallest wind-kite to the largest of ocean cruisers.
Likewise the support of the community, through bodies such as the Ladies Lifeboat Guild, remains as vital as ever but also needs to develop in our world of social media and instance information.
On this site you'll be able to access material provided by a variety from the lifeboat team in Cromer. You'll find pages from crew members, including the shore crew who compliment the sea-going team, the Ladies' Guild, the Visits team, the Heritage team - providing, we hope, something to meet all interests.