Station history

Station established 1884 on the closing of the Alderney Lifeboat Station owing to difficulty in obtaining a crew.  Formerly the States of Jersey had their own lifeboat placed at St. Helier.

Alderney Lifeboat Station was in being from 1869-1884 but her lifeboat was never launched on service.

1825

Gold Medals awarded to Messrs F De St Croix, Jean De St Croix, P De St Croix and a Silver Medal to Philip Nicholle for the rescue by boat at very great risk of 13 people in two trips from the ship Fanny on 9 January 1825.  Five people were drowned.

1872

Silver Medals awarded to Charles Blampied, John Bouchard and Elias Whitley for their gallant and determined services in putting off twice in a small boat during a heavy westerly gale and rescuing the crew of 18 from the ship Isabella Northcote of Christiana which had gone on to the Ecrehos Rocks on 2 November 1872.

1884

Institution granted a site for a lifeboat house near the Picket House People's Park.  Lifeboat house erected at a cost of £385.  Gas service provided to lifeboat house.

1896

Owing to improvements to promenade lifeboat house was removed to new site.  A short slipway was constructed and boulders were removed over the proposed launching line, the cost exceeding £300.  Rocket sound signals provided for station.

1904

Harbour Committee gave orders to the Harbour Master to allow the free use of the tug to co-operate with the lifeboat at any time when required.

1912

Slipway extended 50ft at a cost of £180.

1919

As horse contractor had gone out of business no road exercises had been carried out during the war.

1940

The station was not under the Institution's control during the German occupation 1940-1945.  When the Chief Inspector visited the station in June 1945 he found that the lifeboat had been used by the Germans and that she had also gone out on service as a lifeboat with her crew under German guards and rescued 35 lives.

1948

New lifeboat sent to station was the first lifeboat to have a deck cabin.

1949

Gold Medal awarded to Coxswain Thomas King and Bronze Medals to crew members Philip Boutell, Kenneth Gubbey,  David Robert Talbot, Charles George King, Reginald John Nicholle, George Stapley, Lionel Percival Stevens (Hon Sec), for a most gallant and resolute service, when on 13 September 1949 the lifeboat was called out to search for a French Military aircraft which had come down.  The lifeboat searched without success for eight hours.  On the way back to her station a wireless message was received that the yacht Maurice Georges with a crew of four was right amongst the rocks of the Demie De Pas.  A successful search was carried out against the gravest perils by a crew that was already weary from a long and heavy strain, a line was passed to the yacht which was then towed out without damage, the crew rescued, and all returned to station after nine hours at sea.

1950

Bronze Medal awarded to Acting Coxswain Silver Le Riche for the service on 19 November 1949 the lifeboat was launched to the assistance of the ketch Hannah of Poole on the rocks of L'Etacq Reef and rescued her crew of three.  The District Inspector reported "…to have taken his boat in daylight would have been an accomplishment to be proud of, but on a very dark night with the swell that he had to contend with was a most gallant thing to do."

1951

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Edward Larbalestier when he saved the French yacht Santa Maria of Cartaret, with a crew of three on 27 September 1951.

1953

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Edward Larbalestier for the rescue of the crew of 11 of the motor vessel Brockley Combe on 15 December.

1964

Letters of commendation signed by the Chairman of the Institution were sent to the coxswain and crew in recognition of their courage and determination in searching under very extreme conditions for survivors from the yacht Maricella which was wrecked near Dogs Nest Beacon on 9/10 October.

1967

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to acting Coxswain Eric Grandin in recognition of the rescue of four men from the yacht Kraken aground on Dogs Nest Reef on 16 March.

1973

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Michael Berry for the rescue of four men and two girls from the yacht Bacchus on 18 September 1973.  The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to the remainder of the lifeboat crew.  The yacht had been damaged extensively and was holed on the starboard side three cables east of La Sambue Rock.  To reach her the coxswain had to navigate the lifeboat through many dangerous outcrops of rocks.

1974

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Michael Berry for the rescue of four men and two girls from the yacht Bacchus on 18 September 1973.  The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to the remainder of the lifeboat crew.  The yacht had been damaged extensively and was holed on the starboard side three cables east of La Sambue Rock.  To reach her the coxswain had to navigate the lifeboat through many dangerous outcrops of rocks.

1975

HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, named the new lifeboat Thomas James King on 30 May.  The boat is named after the former coxswain and gold medallist (1949).

1983

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Michael Berry in recognition of his courage, determination and seamanship when the lifeboat rescued the crew of two of the yacht Festina-Lente which had broken down with engine and steering failure shortly before she was wrecked on the rocks off Demie de Pas in a strong west-south-westerly wind and a rough sea on 14 December 1982.

Silver Medal (Second-Service Clasp) awarded to Coxswain Michael Edward Berry in recognition of the courage, fortitude and seamanship displayed by him when the lifeboat rescued the crew of three of the French yacht Cythara which, with damaged sails and defective outboard engine, had been driven amongst rocks three and a half cables south east of Le Hocq Point in a strong west-south-westerly gale and a very rough sea in the early hours of 3 September 1983.  The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to the remainder of the crew.

1989

Waveney class lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by a Tyne class lifeboat.

1993

New Shore facility constructed on Albert Pier.  It includes an entrance lobby, memorabilia room, souvenir sales outlet, engineers workshop, drying room, store, and improved crew facilities.

1995

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain Robert Vezier in recognition of his skill, seamanship and leadership when the Alexander Coutanche lifeboat rescued 55 of the 307 people onboard the French passenger catamaran Saint Malo which had struck a submerged object and was sinking in rough seas and Force 5 Fresh Breeze off the Corbiere lighthouse on 17 April 1995.

The lifeboat was also used as a bridge to evacuate a large number of people into life-rafts, which were towed to other receiving vessels either by St Catherine's lifeboat or the Sea Cat Isle of Mans crash boat.

2002

Following the visit on 22 October 2001 by the Coast Review delegation, led by Admiral Sir Jock Slater, it was agreed by the Search and Rescue Committee on 6 February 2002 and resolved by the Executive Committee at their meeting on 10 April 2002 that the station be earmarked for the allocation of an afloat FSB2 in due course and that a project to co-locate a B class Atlantic/FIBI inshore lifeboat at St Helier be established.

2005

Pontoons and hydro-hoist completed in January at a cost of 51,509.

At a meeting held on 6 July the Trustee Committee resolved that St Helier be re-graded to a co-located Tyne class and B class lifeboat station.  Atlantic class lifeboat placed on station on 26 May for preparatory work and training prior to being placed on service.

2007

The new class of lifeboat, Atlantic 85 B-816 David Page was placed on service on Wednesday 10 January.  This lifeboat was provided by the generous bequest of Mr David Page of Oxford.  B-756 has been withdrawn to ILC Cowes.

2008

At a meeting held on 5 November the Trustees resolved that St Helier is to be allocated a Tamar class lifeboat in 2009.

2009

The new station Tamar class lifeboat ON1292 George Sullivan was placed on service on 14 June.  The Tyne class lifeboat ON1157 Alexander Coutanche has been withdrawn to the relief fleet.