Station history

In 1852 the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Society placed a lifeboat at Rhyl that capsized in 1853 with the loss of six of her crew. The boat was replaced with one that was found unsuitable and this was handed over to the Institution when the station was taken over in 1854. In 1856 the Institution sent a tubular lifeboat to the station.  In 1878 a number two station was established with a self-righting lifeboat, but this was closed in 1899. The Caroline Richardson, 1897-1939, was the third lifeboat at Rhyl and last of the tubular type designed in 1850. This type had a double hull consisting of two floats meeting at each end with a grating deck in between and was an adaptation of the principle of the pontoon system, having great stability but involving a severe measure of exposure for its crew.

For 99 years the Evans family had been connected with the Rhyl lifeboat.  This magnificent record was only broken when Coxswain Eric Evans resigned in February 1951 when he emigrated to Canada.

William Foulkes, father of a former coxswain, was a member of the crew and lived to the age of 100; he never slept under a roof but used, as an old man, to dig a pit under the pier and sleep there without any covering.  It was there that he was found dead one morning.  He was known as "Old Shamrock".

1853

Committee of Management voted £10 10 0d to a fund for the relief of dependants of six men drowned when the lifeboat capsized. They were J Edwards, J Evans, D George, P Jones, T Jones and W Parry.

1871

Local Committee purchased six horse cloths for use when horses drew the lifeboat.

1897

New lifeboat house was constructed at a cost of £720 and a short slipway erected on piles.

1899

Number two station closed.

1932

Two men washed out of lifeboat while on service but were fortunately rescued.

1952

An anniversary Centenary Vellum awarded to the station.

1955

The old timber built lifeboat house at Rhyl was demolished having reached the end of its useful life and was replaced by a new brick and concrete house designed to accommodate the boat, carriage and tractor under one roof at a cost of more than £9,000.

1962

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain H Campini, The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum to the crew of the lifeboat, Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution to the shore helpers and a collective Vellum to be hung in the boathouse, plus a special Letter of Appreciation was sent to the Honorary Secretary for the first service ever made by a lifeboat to a hovercraft which took place on 17 September 1962 in a west-north-westerly gale with heavy seas breaking over the promenade and into the lifeboat house. Within minutes of the rescue of the three crew members being completed the hovercraft, with 250 gallons of kerosene on board, crashed into the promenade. In spite of the risk of an explosion, the shore helpers secured the hovercraft to the steps and also searched the craft to make sure no other survivors were on board.

1965-1966

The station lifeboat Anthony Robert Marshall had two Ford Penguin 32 h.p. diesel engines installed giving an increase to performance generally.

1967

D class lifeboat sent to station in July.

1973

Bronze Medal awarded to Helmsman Donald Jones in recognition of the courage and seamanship he displayed when the inshore lifeboat rescued two boys cut off by the tide and clinging to a perch marking the sewer out-fall between Rhyl and Prestatyn in a gale force westerly wind and a rough sea on 7 August 1973.

1974

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Helmsman Donald Jones and crew members Richard Perrin and James Quinn in recognition of the courage and determination they displayed when the inshore lifeboat rescued a boy climber stranded on the west face of the Little Orme Cliff underneath an overhang some 30 feet above the sea in a fresh north easterly wind and a rough sea on 27 April.

1990

A special framed certificate was presented to the station in recognition of the services carried out by them under extremely difficult circumstances between 26 February and 2 March when, during hurricane force north-westerly winds and very high tides, the areas of Towyn and Pensarn suffered severe flooding. Rhyl lifeboatmen strove tirelessly for up to 19 hours each day and succeeded in helping over two hundred people to safety.

1991

Her Majesty The Queen has honoured ex Coxswain Bruce Herbert her Birthday Honours List for services to the Institution; the award being the British Empire Medal.

1992

The lifeboat damaged her hull beyond repair whilst on service on 2 April.

1995

New D class lifeboat D485 was placed on service on 12 July.

2001

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution awarded to Mechanic Martin Jones. On the evening of 24 February 2001 the all weather lifeboat went to the aid of the Dragonfly, a large motor boat driven ashore in heavy surf at Splash Point. Mr Jones transferred to the in shore lifeboat and attempted to take a tow over a sand bank through heavy surf to the motor boat. This was unsuccessful but the inshore lifeboat saved the four men from the Dragonfly and got them safely to shore. The entire service was conducted in heavy surf and north-easterly force 6/7 winds. Everyone else involved at the station, including the SHS, the rest of both lifeboat crews, and the shore crews received a collective letter of commendation from the Operation Director for their actions in launching the lifeboats and the treatment of the rescued men.

On 28 November 2001 the Committee of Management voted the award of a Vellum to Rhyl to commemorate the completion of 150 years as a lifeboat station in 2002.

2002

The RNLI’s President, HRH The Duke of Kent presented the Station with an Anniversary Vellum to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Rhyl lifeboat. The Duke also performed the opening ceremony the new boathouse.

2004

The new class of lifeboat IB1, D632 Godfrey & Desmond Nall was placed on service on Thursday 21 October. D485 has been withdrawn to ILC.

2008

Her Majesty The Queen, in the recent New Years Honours, honoured Mrs Jean Frost, Manageress of the Rhyl Lifeboat Souvenir Shop, for services to maritime safety. The award was Member, Order of the British Empire (MBE).

2010

Her Majesty The Queen honoured crew member Paul Frost in her Birthday List by awarding him a Member, Order of the British Empire (MBE).

2014

The new D class lifeboat D-770 Mary Maxwell, funded by the generous bequest of Mr Cyril Maxwell Jones, was placed on service on 12 August 2014. Lifeboat D-632 Godfrey & Desmond Nall has been withdrawn. 

Medal Record

One Silver and one Bronze medals have been awarded.