Station history

The station was established in1875 at the request of the local residents as a result of the wreck of the Brig Wild Wave on 23 January 1875.

The name Dyke has long been associated with the lifeboat service at Swanage and since 1889 there have been very few occasions when the lifeboat has gone to sea without at least one member of the Dyke family on board.

1839

Silver Medal awarded to Lt W Parsons RN of the Coastguard for the rescue of the crew of seven of the ship L'Aimable Mere on 8 April 1839.

Silver Medals awarded to Lt G Davies RN, Edward Leggett and Charles Stubbs of the Revenue Cutter Tartar for the rescue of the crew of eight of the French Brig Le Jean Marie on 11 March 1939.

1875

Silver Medal awarded to Mr John Lose, Chief Officer of Coastguard for the rescue of the crew of six of the Brig Wild Wave of Exeter which was wrecked on Peveril Ledge in a gale of wind and heavy sea on 23 January 1875.

Original house cost £350 and slipway £175.

1890

Slipway lengthened.

1895

Two men were washed out of the lifeboat whilst on service to the Barque Brilliant on 12 January.  One was rescued but Coxswain William Brown was drowned.  Committee voted £275 to local fund in aid of dependants.

1897

Water laid on to lifeboat house.

1902

Gas laid on to lifeboat house.

1928

Motor lifeboat first sent to station.

1934

Bronze Medal awarded to Assistant Motor Mechanic Robert C Brown for gallantry going overboard in his oilskins, life belt and sea boots, and holding on to an unconscious man who had been flung into the sea from the yacht Hally Lise until the lifeboat was able to pick them up on 19 March 1934.

1936

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to the Coxswain, Robert C Brown for the rescue of one man from a barge which had broken adrift from her tow and was driving ashore in a near gale and rough sea on 12 December.

1965

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded collectively to the crew of the lifeboat for the rescue of a man stranded on a cliff near Worbarrow Head on 8 May.

1966

Thanks of the Committee of Management inscribed on a Vellum certificate accorded to Dr D I Aitken in connection with the service on 1 December to the motor vessel Maya of Beirut.

1970

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Ronald Hardy and the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Second Coxswain D Dyke and crew member P Dorey for the rescue of a youth cut off by the tide on 12 September 1970.

Due to the rapidly rising tide there was urgent need of help for the stranded youth.  Sea conditions were moderate with a heavy south westerly swell.  At the foot of the cliff, the swell was breaking heavily and the backwash from the cliffs produced very confused conditions.  The lifeboat anchored off the mouth of the cave and Second Coxswain D Dyke and crew member P Dory, using the rubber dinghy on the end of a veering line, made their way into the cave.  Having picked up the youth, they were then hauled back, through the surf, and taken aboard the lifeboat.

1971

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Alec Edmonds, a member of the Swanage lifeboat crew for rescuing a man from the sea on 17 January.  The coxswain and remaining members of the crew received letters of thanks signed by the Secretary of the RNLI.

A man had fallen over the cliff near Anvil Point lighthouse and, although weather conditions were not severe, the sea was rough with a very heavy south westerly swell and visibility was only moderate.  The coxswain sighted the man floating in the water and a line was thrown to him.  It became obvious that the man was unconscious, and Alec Edmonds went over the side in full protective clothing and life jacket to support the man while the lifeboat manoeuvred to pick them both up.  The casualty was revived by artificial respiration and was found not to be the man who had fallen over the cliff but a volunteer who had gone to his assistance.  The man over the cliff was subsequently rescued by helicopter.

1975

Centenary Vellum awarded to station.

1976

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain Ronald Hardy and Emergency Mechanic Philip Dorey in recognition of their meritorious service on the night of 24/25 September when a yacht and her crew of three were saved in a strong south easterly wind and a rough sea.

1977

The Bronze Second-Service Clasp awarded to Coxswain Ronald Hardy and Bronze Medal awarded to Second Coxswain/Mechanic Victor Albert Marsh in recognition of their courage and determination when assistance was given to the yacht Campscharles in tow of the Russian trawler Topaz in a south-south-westerly storm and a rough sea on 14 October 1976.

1978

Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Victor Marsh, Second Assistant Mechanic George Bishop and crew member Thomas Haw in recognition of their thoroughly capable and seamanlike manner during the service carried out on 13 July when the crew of six of the yacht Carillion of Wight were rescued after she went aground on the rocks in fog just below the St Albans Head coastguard lookout.  Letters of appreciation signed by the Director were sent to the other members of the crew.

1981

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Acting Coxswain Philip Dorey in recognition of his leadership, judgement and seamanship when the lifeboat rescued the sole occupant of the motor fishing vessel Outlaw which had gone aground on the western end of Kimmeridge Ledges in a strong south-south-easterly gale and very rough seas on 19 September.

1988

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain/Mechanic Victor Marsh and Emergency Mechanic Martin Steeden in recognition of their skill and determination when the J Reginald Corah lifeboat assisted the crew of the motor vessel Renee, which was in difficulties approximately three miles south-south-west of Anvil Point in a strong south-westerly gale and heavy seas on 22 January.

1990

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Christopher Haw in recognition of the determination and seamanship displayed by him when on 28/29 October 1989, the Horace Clarkson lifeboat, on temporary duty, stood by the RoRo cargo vessel Al Kwather 1 which was in difficulties three and a half miles east of Peveril Point in a south-westerly storm and very heavy seas.  This was a joint service with the Yarmouth (IoW) lifeboat, whose coxswain, David Kennett, was awarded the Bronze Medal.

1992

Adaptation work was carried out on the boat house in order to accommodate the station's new Mersey class lifeboat.  This work comprised of an extension to the side of the boathouse, an increase in the height of the roof and the provision of improved crew facilities.  Following completion of the boathouse, work was undertaken on the refurbishment and adaptation of the slipway.

A collective Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman was awarded to crew members Malcolm Turnbull, Anthony Byron and Christopher Coe for the rescue of a man who had fallen from Durlston Head on 11 April.  The men were returning to station in the boarding boat when a young man was found submerged under a rucksack attached by a rope with severe injuries to his head, neck and face.

The station's new Mersey class lifeboat ON1182 was officially named Robet Charles Brown on 3 September by Robert Brown, the son, and known by many as M in the James Bond movies.  Robert Charles Brown BEM was a much respected lifeboatman at Swanage for over fifty years.

For a week in June BBC South Today broadcast a nightly series of films on their 6.30 pm programme following the progress of the new Mersey class lifeboat, her construction, self-righting trial, crew training and her arrival on station.

1993

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to the Coxswain, Christopher Haw in recognition of his skill and seamanship when the lifeboat Robert Charles Brown approached the stricken yacht Aeolian on six separate occasions to rescue four of the crew in gale force winds and very rough seas south of St Catherines Point, Isle of Wight, on 25 October 1992.

BBC TV South was presented a special Public Relations Award on 13 January by Ronald Neil, the Managing Director of BBC Regional Broadcasting and a member of the RNLI's Committee, for the showing of nightly films in June last year.

A D class lifeboat sent to station for one season's operational evaluation as of 3 April.

1994

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman was awarded to Coxswain Christopher Haw in recognition of his seamanship and professional manner when on the 22 January the Robert Charles Brown lifeboat rescued two cliff climbers stranded on a ledge at the bottom of a cave known as the Chimney.  Positioning the lifeboat 15 feet from the entrance, the X boat was launched on veering line into the cave, but first attempt failed because of the height of the swell and water breaking into the boat.  By timing the motion of the sea the X boat successfully entered the cave, and on two trips brought the survivors back to the lifeboat.  A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman was also awarded to crew member Terry Pond in recognition of his courage and seamanship when he manned the X boat.

In order to accommodate the station's new Inshore lifeboat a lean-to building was constructed on the port side of the main building, together with a dedicated slipway.  ILB sent to station.

1995

Inshore lifeboat permanently station at Swanage and the new D class lifeboat D475 Phyl Clare 2 was placed on service on 8 April.

1996

Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Christopher Haw when the crew of five was rescued from the 29 metre yacht Be Happy which was in difficulties 20 miles south of St Albans Head in winds gusting to hurricane force, very rough seas and darkness on the night of 28 October 1996.

The Maude Smith bequest for the most outstanding act of lifesaving during 1996 was awarded to Coxswain Christopher Haw for this service.

2002

Shoreworks project, extra parking, completed in July at a cost of £13,333.

2003

The new station D class lifeboat D613 Jack Cleare was placed on service on 27 August.  Lifeboat D475 Phyl Clare 2 was withdrawn.

2012

The new station D class lifeboat D752 Phyl & Jack was placed on service 12 July 2012. This lifeboat was funded part by gift from Mrs Phyl Cleare and part by her legacy as she sadly passed away before the lifeboat came on service.  Lifeboat D613 Jack Cleare has been withdrawn.

MEDAL RECORD 

Ten medals have been awarded, five Silver, five Bronze, the last being voted in 1996.

FOREIGN AWARDS

In 1944 a Letter of Thanks from the Commander in Chief French Naval Forces in UK received in respect of services to the motor launch Chasseur 5 of the French Naval Forces on 21 December 1943.
Awarded in 1946, medals to each of the crew from the French Government for the same service and also medals from the French Lifeboat Society to the coxswain, mechanic and bowman.

The Chairman of the Institution, Sir Godfrey Baring, was awarded the medal of the Berthault Foundation whilst a prize of 1,000 francs each was awarded to coxswain, mechanic and bowman by the Academy of Political and Moral Service, Institute de France, Paris.