• Cromer RNLI

January 9th / 10th 1917 Lifeboat Louisa Heartwell

Gold Medal awarded to Coxswain Henry G Blogg, Silver Medals to acting Second Coxswain William T Davies and Private Stewart Holmes, of the Seaforth Highlanders, and Bronze Medals awarded to crew members George Allen, James Allen, Edward Allen, William Allen, Henry Balls, Charles Cox, George Cox, Leslie Harrison, Tom Kirby, Gilbert Mayes, Walter Rix and William Rix in recognition of the seamanship, unwavering courage, tenacity and physical endurance displayed by them when the lifeboat went to the assistance of the Swedish steamer Fernebo after an explosion had broke the vessel in two in a strong north-easterly gale in the afternoon of 9 January 1917.

The lifeboat, only just returned from a service to the Greek vessel Pyrin, and with a crew undaunted by their previous exertions, tried to launched once more with the assistance of hundreds of servicemen, many up to their necks in the water, but it was impossible to get past the heavy surf and she was driven back onto the beach. Several more unsuccessful attempts were made to reach the steamer and rocket apparatus was also tried, but just before midnight the lifeboat was successfully launched and rescued 11 survivors.

This was the first time Bronze medals had been awarded. Due to wartime demands, lifeboat crews were almost all, over military age, and more than one in this lifeboat crew was approaching 70 years of age.

The Committee of Management voted a grant of £100 to a soldier, Driver John Sharp who became paralysed after assisting as a launcher on this service. He died as a result of his illness on 21 September 1918 and the grant of £100, which had been invested, was returned to the Institution. Six men who had been part of the crew for at least 2 of the launches were also awarded the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum.


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In Cromer there are two boathouses, one 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. 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.