Station history

1896

Silver Medal awarded to Mr James Jamieson for saving at great risk two of the crew of the fishing boat Jessie which sank in a strong southerly gale off Oxna Island on 14 December 1895.  Shore boat case.

1930

The Honorary Secretary, Mr Kay, was awarded a pair of binoculars for his services in connection with a shore boat case.

1948

The No 18 Group RAF presented a silver enamelled RAF crest to the Lerwick lifeboat station in recognition of a service to a Lancaster bomber on 23 July. It was fitted in lifeboat ON 731.

1954

A collective Letter of Thanks was sent by the Committee of Management to the coxswain and crew in recognition of two long and arduous services. One of 13 hours on 24 November to the Danish m/v Svaerdfisken and another of 23 hours to the Norwegian ss Granfoss on 26 November, both in extremely bad weather conditions and with barely 24 hours between them.

1957

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain John Sales in recognition of his courage, determination and seamanship for the rescue of five men from the Swedish m.v. Samba on 28 December 1956. The Samba was close under a cliff and drifting rapidly in a south easterly gale when the coxswain brought the lifeboat across the stern. It was only at the sixth attempt that the rescue was completed. The Swedish Lifeboat Society presented a plaque to the station for this service.

1958

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain John Sales and the Bronze Medal to Andrew Mouat, a Pilot of Baltasound for the rescue of three of the crew of the Russian Trawler Urbe on 16/17 October. After an arduous journey in the teeth of a northerly gale during which the lifeboat's propeller was fouled by a net, the three survivors were found with the help of searchlights on the Holm of Skaw. He showed courage, skill and great determination in going in to the rescue in the dark, in squally rain with one propeller out of action. He also showed great wisdom and power of command. Mr Mouat, who volunteered to help, gave great assistance throughout by virtue of his local knowledge.

1959

Coxswain Sales received a gift from the James Michael Bower Endowment Fund which was established in 1955 by the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company as a memorial to James Michael Bower who lost his life in a disaster. Awards from this fund are made to those who receive either the Gold or Silver Medal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Coxswain Sales won his for the rescue of the only three survivors of the Soviet Trawler Urbe.

1969

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman, Admiral Sir Wilfrid Woods GBE KCB DSO DL, was sent to Coxswain John Sales BEM and to each of the seven members of his crew in recognition of their outstanding service in extreme conditions on 15 March when three Norwegian fishing vessels were escorted into Lerwick harbour.

1973

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain George Leith for the rescue of the crew of nine from the trawler Granton Osprey, which was hard aground on Bressay Island in a south westerly wind of hurricane force and a very rough sea on 13 December 1972. The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to the other seven members of the crew. The weather during this service was the worst seen in the area by many older and experienced seamen in Lerwick.

1974

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain George Leith for the rescue of the crew of four of the oil rig safety vessel Spearfish stranded on Bressay Island in a south by easterly gale and a very rough sea on 12 January.

1978

HRH The Duke of Kent, President of the RNLI, named the new Lerwick lifeboat Soldian at a ceremony in the harbour on 12 September.

Arun class lifeboat sent to station.

1983

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic P H P Clark for the rescue of the crew of three and the saving of the yacht Hermes of Lune which was dragging her anchor in North East Mouth, Out Skerries in a south westerly hurricane, rough seas and torrential rain on 21 September 1982. Assistant Mechanic Andrew Leask and Emergency Mechanic Ian Newlands were accorded the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum for putting out from the lifeboat in her inflatable dinghy to take a line ashore from the yacht.

1989

Bronze Second-Service Clasp awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic P H P Clark for rescuing three crew members from the fishing vessel Boy Andrew which was aground on rocks at Trebister Ness on 13 January 1989. Crew members Robert Wiseman and Iain Tulloch were accorded the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum for their part in this service manning the lifeboat's Y boat, operating in marginal conditions.

1990

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain/Mechanic Hewitt Clark in recognition of the leadership, seamanship and boat handling skill displayed by him when 33 crew members were taken off the fish factory ship Azu, which was stranded on a rock and rolling heavily at Brei Wick in an easterly gale on 28 October 1989.

1991

Bronze Medal awarded to Mr George Lamont Williamson, skipper/owner of the salmon work boat Challenge for the service on 8 October 1990 when the sole occupant of the fishing boat Veidra was rescued from Burwick Holm in a south-westerly violent storm, very rough seas and visibility reduced by spray and heavy rain. The man became stranded whilst attending to his lobster creels close to Burwick Holm when the boat's engine failed. Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution were presented to James Christie, Theodore Fullerton and John William Ward, members of the Challenge crew.

1992

A collective Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Hewitt Clark, Emergency Mechanic Ian Fraser and crew members Iain Tulloch, Robert Wiseman, Richard Simpson and Malcolm Craigie for rescuing 31 people from the Laerling, a 50 foot ferry that was carrying 36 passengers, most of whom were over 60 years, and two crew when she went aground on rocks south east of the Isle of Noss, East of Bressay on 22 July.

1993

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain/Mechanic Hewitt Clark in recognition of his seamanship, and determination when the lifeboat Soldian rescued the crew of 11 and saved the 415 ton fishing vessel Quo Vadis Mc, which was in difficulties 11 miles north east of Lerwick in storm force winds and heavy seas on 10 December 1992. The fishing vessel had suffered engine failure and was taking water in the adverse conditions.

Bronze Third-Service Clasp awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Hewitt Clark in recognition of his leadership, determination and outstanding seamanship when the Soldian lifeboat assisted in the rescue of the crew of six and saved the fishing vessel Ardency which had broken down and taking water 16 miles east-south-east of Bard Head in winds gusting to Force 14 and very high seas on 17 January 1993.

1994

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Joint Second Coxswain William J Clark in recognition of his courage, skill and seamanship when the lifeboat Soldian, under his command, rescued three survivors from a life-raft of the fish factory ship Lunohods 1, which grounded on rocks at Kirkabister Ness, Bressay, in storm force winds and rough seas in the early hours of 9 November 1993.

Bronze Medal awarded to Joint Second Coxswain William J Clark in recognition of his outstanding courage, skill and seamanship, when the lifeboat Soldian, under his command rescued 37 of the 73 crew from the fish factory ship Borodinskoye Polye, which had run ashore on the Unicorn Reef in a south-westerly storm force wind and heavy swell on the night of 17/18 November 1993. The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to Joint Second Coxswain/Assistant Mechanic Peter Thomson, Emergency Mechanic Ian Fraser and crew members Robert Wiseman, Richie Simpson and Theo Nicolson in recognition of the part they played in this service. Despite the vessel rolling violently and discharging oil onto the deck of the lifeboat, she was taken alongside the casualty over 35 times in just over an hour, and succeeded in rescuing 37 people. The other 36 people were rescued by helicopter. The Maud Smith Award for the bravest act of life-saving in 1993 was made to Joint Second Coxswain William J Clark for this service.

1995

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Hewitt Clark in recognition of his outstanding seamanship, leadership, tenacity and courage when within a confined area of less than 100 feet he repeatedly manoeuvred the lifeboat Soldian alongside the fish factory ship Pionersk and rescued 64 people in the early hours of 31 October 1994. The Pionersk had run aground at Trebister Ness, three miles south of Lerwick in confused breaking seas, storm force winds and darkness. The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to Joint Second Coxswain/Assistant Mechanic P Thomson and crew members I Fraser, I Tulloch, R Wiseman and R Simpson in recognition of their courage, determination and teamwork whilst on the lifeboat deck where they were being sprayed by diesel oil from the casualty.

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain/Mechanic Hewitt Clark in recognition of his fine seamanship, leadership and skill when the lifeboat Soldian rescued the crew of five and saved the fishing vessel Achilles in storm force winds and very heavy seas on 4 November 1994. Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman Sir Michael Vernon were presented to Joint Second Coxswain/Assistant Mechanic P Thomson and crew members I Fraser, I Tulloch, R Simpson and J Sinclair in recognition of their courage, determination and fine seamanship in extreme weather conditions throughout this rescue.

1997

Gold Medal awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Hewitt Clark, Bronze Medals awarded to Second Coxswain Richie Simpson, Emergency Mechanics Peter Thomson, and Brian Laurenson and crew members Ian Leask and Michael Grant. A special RNLI Vellum was awarded posthumously to winch man Bill Deacon, in addition to a collective Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum awarded to the entire crew of the coastguard helicopter, Captain Norman Leask, Co-Pilot David Gribben, winch operator Paul Mansell and winch man Bill Deacon in recognition of their actions during the service on 19 November to the Green Lily.

Coxswain Clark demonstrated enormous courage, leadership, determination and seamanship in rescuing five men from the vessel in horrendous weather conditions. He made the decision to launch after it appeared that all other hope had gone; a towline had parted, the helicopter could not work the casualty, and she was only 4.5 cables from the rocky shore; no margin for error. Coxswain Clark manoeuvred the lifeboat in limited sea room, with 15 metre breaking seas and violent storm Force 11 winds. His incredible skill in handling the lifeboat and taking her alongside the violently rolling casualty enabled the five crew members on board to be taken off. When he finally drove the lifeboat clear, there was less than 200 yards to the shore. The Maude Smith Award for the bravest act of lifesaving in 1997 was made to Coxswain/Mechanic Hewitt Clark for this service.

1999

Coxswain/Mechanic Hewitt Clark awarded the MBE in Her Majesty's Birthday Honours.

2005

Renovation – new shore facility completed in February at a cost of £784,617.

MEDAL RECORD

Seventeen medals have been awarded - one Gold four Silver and 12 Bronze, the last medal being voted in 1997.