Station history

The lifeboat E.M.E.D. which had been named by HRH the late Duke of Kent when he was Prince George, was one of the nineteen boats of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution which took part in the evacuation from Dunkirk in May 1940, but she was manned by naval ratings and not by her own crew. She went over to Dunkirk in a little company of boats in tow of a tug. Off Gravelines, German aeroplanes attacked them three times. The blast broke the two ropes and threw men into the sea. One boat was sunk, others turned back but the Walton and Frinton lifeboat went on. The officer in command was killed by a shell, and she returned to Dover with a rope round her propeller. A diver went down and cut it away, then she sailed again for Dunkirk. The crew were bitterly disappointed that they were not allowed to sail with her.

There were two private lifeboats, both named True to the Core at Walton-on-the-Naze from 1894 until about 1911 (launched 35 times, saved 216 lives). From 1901 to 1917, two private lifeboats, both named Sailors Friend were in service at Frinton.

1884

Estimate for construction of lifeboat house and slipway by Messrs Everett & Sons £487 10 0d. Estimate for roadway from lifeboat house to slipway £57 10 0d.

1889

Committee of Management voted £25 to local fund for widow of Frederick Batchelor, member of the crew, who died on 27 March whilst hurrying to the station to man the lifeboat.

1890

Slipway widened at a cost of £260.

1892

Committee of Management voted £150 to dependants of John Downes, member of the crew, who died from the effects of injuries received whilst assisting to launch the lifeboat on service on 10 December.

1900

Larger type of lifeboat supplied to the station to lie afloat.

1902

Haul-in-warp of lifeboat found to be cut when lifeboat required for service. Four men were presented with aneroid barometers for swimming out to the lifeboat and bringing her back to the pier.

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Henry Britton for gallant services as coxswain since 1884.

1906

Motor installed in the pulling and sailing lifeboat.

1906

A crew member from the Frinton Independent Lifeboat was knocked overboard during a service on 5 April 1911 in severe weather. His body was subsequently washed ashore on the Isle of Grain in Kent.

1918

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain W Hammond and Bronze Medal to Second Coxswain J C Byford for the rescue of 92 people, many of them women and children, in a service lasting all night, from the ss Peregrine wrecked on Long Sand in an east by north gale and tempestuous seas on 29/30 December 1917. The vessel stranded at 2230 and after a long and difficult search in darkness and sleet the lifeboat got alongside at the sixth attempt. All 59 passengers and the chief steward were taken off and transferred to a patrol vessel before the lifeboat returned to the wreck, now in two parts, and took off the remaining 32 crew members. The lifeboat was severely damaged during this service.

1939

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain T H Bloom and Bronze Medals to crew members Walter Oxley, Fraser Bacon, and Frederick Williams for the rescue of three people and a dog from the barge Esterel aground on Cork Sands, in a gale on 14 October 1939. The coxswain took the lifeboat alongside the vessel and in about six feet of water took off the master and his wife, the mate and a dog, then by superb seamanship got the lifeboat clear and landed the survivors before making for a second casualty but, in a protracted search in very heavy seas, no survivors could be found.

1941

Bronze Medals awarded to Coxswain T H Bloom and Mechanic T C Brookes for the rescue of the crew of three from the barge Martha that went aground in a south-easterly gale half a mile north of Walton Pier close to the shore on 19 January 1941. Amid squalls of sleet and with a heavy breaking sea the coxswain took the lifeboat alongside the barge and took off, in six feet of water, the three man crew and brought them safely ashore.

1946

Bronze Second-Service clasp awarded to Coxswain T H Bloom for the rescue of 11 naval ratings from two motor fishing vessels that went aground in a strong south-easterly wind, intense darkness, and rain on the night of 21/22 December 1945. There was no direction from which either vessel could be approached in deep water and as the tide had started to flow the lifeboat was driven over the sands and 11 men were taken off. In spite of the lifeboats rudder being put out of action the survivors were landed safely an Brightlingsea.

1964

Bronze Second-Service clasp awarded to Coxswain Walter Jonas Oxley for the rescue of nine people from the Dutch motor vessel Merak that ran aground in a gale and very rough seas with visibility less than half a mile due to heavy rain on 15 March 1964 (first Bronze awarded for Esterel service in 1939).

1966

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum awarded to Coxswain Frank Bloom and to each of his crew in recognition of the courage, determination and skill displayed in boarding the lifeboat in hazardous conditions to go to the assistance of the mv Mi Amigo (Radio Caroline) on 20 January.

1967

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Frank Bloom and The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to the other nine members of the crew in recognition of the courage determination and good seamanship displayed when the lifeboat stood by the steam ship Ypapanti which had run aground on the Long Sand Head in a strong north-north-westerly wind, squalls and rough seas with a heavy ground swell on 17 November 1966, and subsequently rescued 11 members of her crew on the 18th and landed the remaining five on the 19th.

1973

Bronze Medals awarded to Assistant Mechanic Keith Richardson and crew member Jack Barrett, The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum, and Framed Certificates for the other members of the crew when the lifeboat went to assist five people from a speedboat aground on Pye Sands on a dark night with choppy seas on 15 August 1973. Keith Richardson and Jack Barrett went into the water taking a line with them; waded and swam to the speedboat to find two men, one with an artificial leg, two boys and a girl, all of whom needed reassurance, and took them aboard the lifeboat.

1976

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Frank Bloom and The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to the crew in recognition of their courage, good seamanship and determination when the yacht Tsunami and her crew of five were saved in a strong north-east by northerly gale and a very rough sea on 14/15 September 1975.

1983

Letters of Thanks signed by the Deputy Director was sent to Coxswain Dennis Finch and his crew for the efficient and arduous search operation for survivors conducted by the Walton and Frinton lifeboat over a period of 10 hours following the collision between the merchant vessels European Gateway and Speedlink Vanguard on 19/20 December 1982.

1984

A Centenary Vellum presented to the station.

1985

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, The Duke of Atholl, awarded to Coxswain D Finch, Second Coxswain R Kemp, Mechanic J Berry, Asst Mechanic M Richardson, crew members B Oxley, T Halls, B Ward, S Moore, G Edwards and shore helpers J Fletcher, A Davies, J Oxley, J Hatcher, R Peters, K Coleman, R Lacey and S Oxley in recognition of the determination displayed by the lifeboat crew during many hours of extreme discomfort at sea in severe weather conditions when the lifeboat stood by the radio ship Ross Revenge and for the considerable physical effort made by the shore helpers in operating the outhaul in such bad conditions and ensuring the safety of the lifeboat crew when aboard the boarding boat on 6 January.

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Dennis Finch in recognition of the leadership and skill displayed by him when the lifeboat rescued the crew of six of the Dutch trawler Lindfar that was sinking on the northern end of Gunfleet Sands in a strong north-north-easterly wind and a confused sea on 6/7 June.

1990

A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, Michael Vernon, was awarded to Coxswain Robert Thomas Kemp in recognition of his seamanship and boat handling skills when he bumped the lifeboat for 300 yards across the Gunfleet Sand and rescued the crew of four from the yacht Minstrel Boy, which was aground on the Sand and bumping heavily in an east-north-easterly near gale and moderate sea with a heavy ground swell in the early hours of 14 July. Later in the morning, the Minstrel Boy was reported adrift and the lifeboat launched again and brought her back to the Marina.

1993

Solent class lifeboat replaced by a Tyne class.

1995

A collective Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman was awarded to Coxswain Brian Oxley, Second Coxswain Gary Edwards, Mechanic James Berry, Assistant Mechanic Michael Richardson and crew members Russell Bettany, Roger Lacy and John Oxley for the service on 17 May 1994 when the lifeboat Sam and Joan Woods rescued the crew of two from the yacht Sadness which had run aground on the Longsands Banks in a Force 5 wind and moderate seas. During this service the yachts mizzen mast crashed down onto the lifeboats upper steering position, putting it out of action and the starboard propeller was also fouled.

Work was carried out on the construction of a small shelter on the pier in order to provide storage for the lifeboat launchers.

1998

Construction of an extension to the shore building in order to provide improved crew facilities, plus a fuel storage room was completed in April.

2005

Afloat berth/crew boarding completed January 2005 at a cost of £1,200,000.

WAR RECORD (1939-45)

Launches 57
Lives Saved 20

MEDAL RECORD

 Fifteen Medals have been awarded.  Four Silver and 11 Bronze, the last being voted in 1976.

FOREIGN AWARDS

An inscribed silver watch was awarded to Coxswain John Byford in recognition of his skill and courage in carrying out a very dangerous service to German aircraft on 29/30 October 1932.

A letter of thanks from the German government was received by the crew in respect of the service to German aircraft on 29/30 October 1932.