Station history

There has been a lifeboat station at St Ives for well over 100 years, a lifeboat having been stationed there in 1840.  This was a 30ft lifeboat.  It was built by Francis Adams of St Ives and called Hope.  In 1848 it was reported that this boat was kept in a shed 400 yards from high water mark and was the charge of a Mr Hockin.  There is no record of the services rendered by this boat.

It would appear that the station lapsed for a time as the first reference to the St Ives station in the Institution's service books, which date back to 1850, is the placing of the lifeboat Moses at St Ives in 1861 (the boat was built in 1860 by Forrestt of Limehouse).

1839

Silver Medals awarded to five pilots - Captain James Berriman, Captain Michael Welsh, Captain Richard Paynter, Captain Edward Richards and Captain Thomas Richards - for rescuing the master and four men from the schooner Rivals that ran aground at St Ives on 24 December 1838.

1861

New lifeboat house constructed at a cost of £142.

1865

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Nicholas Levett for his gallant and persevering services in rescuing four out of six of the crew of the French brig Providence which was wrecked on Hayle Bar during a strong wind and heavy ground sea on 28 October 1865.  In effecting this service the lifeboat capsized twice and it was only with great risk of life that the four men were saved.

1867

On 2 December the French brig Courier du Nord went ashore on the ridge outside St Ives Pier.  The lifeboat twice succeeded in grappling the rigging but the crew seemed afraid to trust themselves to the rope.  Eventually the lifeboat rescued one of the crew, the rest being drowned.  The lifeboat lost several oars and manned by four different crews in her attempts to rescue the men.

1868

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Paul Curnow in acknowledgement of his general gallant services, in particular for his highly meritorious conduct when saving the crew of six from the brig Queen which was wrecked during a strong gale on 11 February 1871. 

1871

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Paul Curnow in acknowledgement of his general gallant services, in particular for his highly meritorious conduct when saving the crew of six from the brig Queen which was wrecked during a strong gale on 11 February 1871.

1873

Silver Medals awarded to Mr Charles Martin and Mr James Murphy who in the lifeboat rescued 13 people from the schooners Rambler and Mary Ann and the brig Francis on 2 February 1873.  To effect these rescues the lifeboat was launched five times with different crews as the lifeboat crew became exhausted.

1875

Slipway constructed at Towan Head.

1880

Silver Second-Service Clasp awarded to Second Coxswain James Murphy for his skilful and intrepid services in connection with the rescue of the crews of the schooner Jane Smith on 15 September 1880 and schooner Boune Adele on 16 September 1880.

1889

Silver Second-Service Clasp awarded to Coxswain Paul Curnow who resigned after holding the post for 20 years, having previously been second coxswain for six and a half years.  In that time he had saved 52 lives.

1916

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain T Stevens for the rescue of the crew of nine of the s.s. Taunton which drove within a mile of the rocky shore in a whole north north westerly gale and a very heavy sea on 27 December 1915.  The boat had a difficult task in returning as she was three/four miles dead to leeward in a terrific wind and sea and a flood tide against her.

1919

Silver Medal awarded to Company Quarter Master Sgt Henry Escott for his efforts to rescue a sailor who was washed ashore in Clodgy Bay from one of the four HM motor launches which were in difficulties on 29 September 1918.  One launch struck a rock and blew up, only one of her crew of 11 being saved by assistance from the shore.  The lifeboat crew received an additional reward for their part in this service which took place in a whole north north easterly gale. 

1921

Vellum awarded to Coxswain Robert Wedge who took the lifeboat out five times on the morning of 29 July during rough weather and saved 40 people from 10 vessels.

1938

On 31 January the lifeboat had rescued the crew of 23 from the vessel Alba.  As the lifeboat was clearing the vessel a tremendous sea struck her and she capsized.  All were rescued except for five of the crew of the Alba.  Coxswain Thomas Cocking was awarded the Silver Medal and the eight crew Bronze Medals in recognition of their part in the heroic rescue of the crew of the Alba  This was the first occasion a motor lifeboat capsized. 

1939

Bronze Medals awarded to crew member William Freeman and posthumously to Coxswain Thomas Cocking, Matthew Barber, William Barber, Richard Stevens, John Cocking, John Thomas, and Edgar Bassett.  The lifeboat was launched in the early morning of 23 January in west-north-westerly gale of exceptional violence with a heavy sea, to the aid of an unknown vessel.  The lifeboat capsized to the north-north-east of Clodgy Point and when she righted four men were missing.  As the boat drifted she capsized again and another man was lost.  On the third time she capsized only W Freeman survived, and when she struck the rocks near Godrevy he managed to get ashore.  Pensions on the same scale as if the men had been killed in action were granted by the Institution to widows and dependants.  The Mayor opened a fund that amounted to £9,500. 

1946

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain William Peters in recognition of his courage and seamanship when he rescued two people from the auxiliary ketch Minnie Flossie, that was sinking near Godrevy Point, in a west-south-westerly gale on 24 October 1945.  In view of the extreme urgency Coxswain Peters drove straight in, despite heavy seas and the owner and his wife were snatched off just before another sea swept over the lifeboat and sank the ketch.

1946

Centenary Vellum awarded.

1958

Silver Medal awarded to Motor Mechanic Michael Peters and Bronze Medals to Coxswain Dan Roach and Signalman Dan Paynter Jnr for the rescue of two girls, a man and a boy who were marooned in a cave on 9 August 1958.  Manned by Signalman Paynter and three others a dinghy proceeded into the cave where four explorers were found in the dark.  In the cave the dinghy was holed and sank, therefore the signalman swam out to the lifeboat but on reaching it was too weak to seize the line thrown to him.  Michael Peters jumped overboard and brought him aboard.  Peters then swam into the cave with a line attached and once there was successful in bringing in a heavier line and with it a breeches buoy and lifejackets.  Everyone was hauled to safety.  The Maud Smith award for the bravest act of life-saving in 1958 was awarded to Motor Mechanic Peters for this service.

1958

Motor Mechanic Peters awarded Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificate for a bathing incident on 15 August. 

1963

D Class lifeboat sent to the station on temporary duty in connection with the St Ives Live-Saving Association.  In April 1964 Inshore lifeboat station permanently established.

1968

In June it was announced that the St Ives ILB was to be equipped with VHF Radio Telephone Set.

Whilst on service on 6 September the ILB capsized, throwing the crew of three into the surf.  Fortunately they managed to reach the shore.  A man who had previously been rescued by the ILB was also thrown out.  He too reached the shore safely.  A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman was awarded to the helmsman and crew for this service when the lives of three men were saved from two speedboats.

1972

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, Commander F R H Swann OBE, RNVR, was sent to Coxswain Thomas Cocking in recognition of his action on 26 July when he dived overboard from the motor launch Silver Star and swam 120 yards to assist a boy clinging to a rock off St Ives Head.

1975

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Thomas Cocking in recognition of his great determination and excellent seamanship when the lifeboat escorted the trawler Enfant de Bretagne whose engine room was flooded and was in tow of another trawler in a strong north-north-westerly gale and heavy seas on 2 December.

1977

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Thomas Cocking in recognition of his skill and determination when the lifeboat carried out a search in a north westerly storm and a very heavy sea for the coaster Union Crystal which was listing and in difficulties off Cape Cornwall on 16/17 November.  The coaster subsequently sank and one survivor was picked up by helicopter.

1978

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Thomas Cocking in recognition of his courage and seamanship on the occasion when the lifeboat nearly capsized whilst proceeding to the assistance of the coaster Lady Kamilla which was in distress 20 miles due north of St Ives in a west-south-westerly storm and a very heavy sea on 24 December 1977.  The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to the remainder of the crew.

1979

A special framed certificate awarded to the coxswain and crew for display at the station in recognition of their service in connection with numerous yachts in difficulties during the Fastnet Race on 14 August.

1980

Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman, the Duke of Atholl, awarded to tractor driver J Tanner and head launcher J Benney when they successfully launched the lifeboat for a service on 17 October to the French fishing vessel Floralie in very difficult conditions, although there was a malfunction of a track on the tractor.  A Letter of Appreciation was sent to Coxswain T Cocking from the Director for his judgement and high standard of seamanship in dealing so successfully with the problem caused by the tractor fault.

1981

Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman, the Duke of Atholl, awarded to Helmsman P Allen in recognition of the diligence and skill he displayed when he swam from the D Class inflatable lifeboat into a rock-strewn cove to assist a helicopter winchman to put a very badly injured man, who had fallen from cliffs near the Western Carricks on 26 August, into a stretcher and later put out in the lifeboat again and recovered a camera case after a meticulous search which contained sufficient information to assist the hospital in saving the man's life.  Letters of appreciation signed by the Director, Rear Admiral W J Graham were sent to crew members I Lowe and I Tanner and the Commanding Officer of the Royal Naval Air Station at Culdrose.

1982

Bronze Medal awarded to Helmsman Eric Thomas Ward in recognition of the courage and skill displayed by him when the D class inflatable lifeboat rescued the crew of four of a sailing dinghy that had capsized on the Hayle Bar in a strong northerly wind and a rough sea on 8 April 1982.  Crew members William Thomas and Philip Allen were each accorded the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum.

Bronze Second-Service Clasp awarded to Helmsman Eric Thomas Ward in recognition of the courage, tenacity and seamanship displayed by him when the D class lifeboat carried out a search close inshore amongst rocks for the sole occupant of the yacht Ladybird which was aground just west of Wicker Point in a gentle breeze and breaking surf on 15 July 1982.  The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to crew members Thomas Cocking Jnr and John Stevens.

 

1984

The Silver Second-Service Clasp awarded to Coxswain Thomas Cocking Snr in recognition of the courage, skill and determination displayed by him when the lifeboat rescued 14 people from the German tug Fairplay X and the Dutch coaster Orca in a strong north-north-westerly gale and very rough seas on 3 January 1984.  Reaching the tug Fairply X that was in danger of running aground, Coxswain Cocking made several runs and took off seven men whom he landed before putting out again at 2236 to the Orca.  It took seven approaches to rescue the seven men.  After a very rough return passage they were landed safely at 2345.  The Maud Smith Award for the most outstanding act of lifesaving by a lifeboat-man during 1984 was awarded to Coxswain Thomas Cocking Snr for this service.

1985

The memorial in stone to the coxswain and six crew who lost their lives when the lifeboat capsized on 23 January 1939 and which was situated in the middle of a cemetery was removed and cleaned with the restoration of certain lettering and re-sited on the external wall of the St Ives lifeboat house in April 1985.  The Chairman of the Institution, The Duke of Atholl, was present at the re-dedication ceremony.

1986

D class lifeboat was withdrawn on 17 April and replaced with a C class.

1989

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, The Duke of Atholl, was sent to the coxswain and crew members when the lifeboat stood by the cargo vessel Secil Japan which had grounded on rocks in Deadmans Cove in a storm force west-north-westerly wind and very rough seas on the night of 12/13 March.

1990

New station lifeboat ON1167 The Princess Royal (Civil Service No41) was placed on service October 1990. This lifeboat was funded by contributions from civil servants and employees of the Post Office and British Telecom through the civil service, Post office and British Telecom Lifeboat Fund (Cispotel)

1994

New boathouse and slipway constructed, as the previous boathouse was not able to accommodate the station's Mersey class lifeboat.  Facilities include a boatroom for housing the Mersey class lifeboat and launching tractor; an inshore lifeboat house; workshop, changing room, souvenir sales outlet and several stores, a crewroom and lifeboat boarding stairs.

1995

D class lifeboat placed on all year temporary station duty as of 11 April.  C class lifeboat withdrawn on 20 October.

1996

A 150th Anniversary Vellum awarded to station.

1997

New D class lifeboat D-515 Colin Bramley Parker placed on service on 8 May.

2002

Internal alteration to boathouse completed in June at a cost of £46,982.

2007

The new class of lifeboat IB1, D668 Colin Bramley Parker was placed on service on Monday 5 February.  Lifeboat D815 has been withdrawn to ILC.

2015

The new Shannon-class lifeboat Nora Stachura arrived at the station, replacing the Mersey-class The Princess Royal.

2016

The new D class lifeboat D-803 Donald Dean arrived on station and went into service. It replaced the previous D Class D-668 Colin Bramley Parker which was taken out of service.

MEDAL RECORD

Thirty-eight medals, 18 Silver and 20 Bronze have been awarded, the last being voted in 1984.

FOREIGN AWARDS 

The good work of the St Ives lifeboat-men to foreign vessels has been recognised by the award of a gold watch to Coxswain T Cocking and monetary awards to the crew for the rescue of 33 lives from the s.s. Bessemer City of New York in November 1936, and a letter of thanks was received from the Italian Government for the saving of 15 from the s.s. Aida Lauro of Naples in July 1936.  The Hungarian Government presented a Gold Cross of Merit to Coxswain T Cocking for the rescue in January 1938 of 18 people from the s.s. Alba of Panama; manned by Hungarians.

In 1865 the lifeboat rescued four people from the French brig Providence and the Emperor of France gave a Gold medal to the lifeboat coxswain and Silver medals to the crew.

In 1951 the French Government awarded the Chevalier du Merite Maritime to ex-Coxswain Peters for his service to the French Merchant Navy.