Lifeboat Centenary Celebrations





The Centenary of the Lifeboat Service at Skegness was celebrated on Monday last, when the Centenary Vellum of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was presented to the town in recognition of the many services rendered by Skegness Coxswains and crews during the maintenance of a lifeboat station at Skegness since 1825.

The presentation was made on behalf of the Institution by the Earl of Yarborough, P.C., Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, and the Vellum was received on behalf of the Town by Coun. G. E. Holmes, J.P., Chairman of the Skegness Urban District Council, and Coun. Samuel Moody, J.P., Deputy Chairman of the Skegness Lifeboat Committee, whose great-uncle Samuel Moody was the first coxswain of the Skegness lifeboat, and held the coxswainship for 41 years.

Lord Yarborough, in giving a brief resume of the history of the Skegness Lifeboat Service, referred feelingly to the wonderful acts of heroism performed by Skegness lifeboatmen during the past hundred years, during which period they had received no less than four silver medals from the Institution and two from a foreign king.

A further presentation, consisting of a handsome framed print of a lifeboat setting out to the rescue of the crew of a stranded vessel, was also made, on behalf of the Institution, to Mr. C. H. Major, proprietor and publisher of the ” Skegness News,” as an acknowledgment of his valuable co-operation with and assistance to the lifeboat service of Skegness.


The presentation ceremony took place at the Pier Entrance, and was attended by a large crowd of visitors. For the first time at a Skegness presentation, a microphone and loud speakers were installed, this excellent provision by Mr. George Cooper enabling every member of the large audience to hear every word. Mr. F. Acton, C.B.E., presided, and was supported by the Earl of Yarborough (Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire), Mr. H. C. Haslam, M.P the Horncastle Division. Coun. G. E. Holmes (Chairman of the Skegness Urban District Council) and other members and officials of the Council. Coun. G. G. Dunkley, C.C., Cols. Hardstaff and Druce, Mrs. J. IVI. Grantham, M.B.E., J.P., Mrs. Jessap,. Coxswain Matthew Grunnill, Ex-Coxswain J. S. Moody, Coun. S. Moody, J.P., Coun. B. Sweeten (Chairman of the Skegness Branch of the R.N.L.I.), Mr. C. H. Major and others.


The Chairman said he heartily sympathised with the excellent work of the Lifeboat Institution, and he hoped the residents and visitors would send a message of encouragement to all lifeboatmen throughout the country, indicating their sympathy with the excellent work on which they were engaged. Lord Yarborough had for many years been the chief representative of H.M. the King in Lincolnshire, and therefore needed no words of introduction to a Lincolnshire audience. He discharged those duties daily and nightly for the good of their county, and they welcomed him very heartily in their midst. (Applause).


Lord Yarborough expressed appreciation of the kind manor in which his old friend, Mr. Acton, had introduced him. It was now the practice of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to present a Vellum to those lifeboat stations which had been in existence one hundred years, and a few months ago he was requested to come and make the prentation and accepted at once with the greatest pleasure. In former days there were public-spirited associations formed in the maritime counties to carry on lifeboat work.

The Lincolnshire Shipwreck Association started in the year 1827 and carried on its work for many years. In 1864 it became amalgamated with the present great Institution, and it was a curious fact that the first President of the Lincolnshire Association bore the name of Yarborough. (Applause),


There were now only two lifeboat stations on the Lincolnshire coast, these being Skegness and Donna Nook Until recently there were nine stations, and since 1850, those nine lifeboats had saved 400 lives. (Applause). Owing to there now being motor lifeboats at Spurn Point and Cromer it was considered that out coast was sufficiently protected by the lifeboat, at Skegness and Donna Nook.


The Skegness lifeboat station was established in 1825, end in the 103 years which had passed. Skegness had had five lifeboats.

The first one in 1825 was much smaller than the one before him that evening, having only ten oars. It did service from 1825 and rescued 500 lives. The present lifeboat was a much larger one, and was named the Liverpool type because the original one was built by the Liverpool Dock Trustees for that port in 1840. It was supposed to be a very good type, and nine of those boats had in the ten years saved 1,100 lives.


Skegness lifeboatmen had performed some wonderful acts of heroism, and in 1851 Coxswain Samuel Moody received the Institutions Silver Medal because he had been out on service 50 times. In 1854, the same Samuel Moody was awarded two silver clasps for saving eleven lives from the brig, ‘*Atalanta.’ In 1875 another Samuel Moody, a fisherman was awarded a silver medal, along with Coastguard George Chesnutt. These two men rendered assistance to the “Star,” a barge from Colchester. They could not get the master on the lifeboat and entered a very high sea with a life-line, bringing him safely ashore.



In 1913 the King of Norway presented a silver medal, and diploma, to the present Coxswain, Matthew Grunnill, and the second Coxswain, Montague Grunnill. In 1916, Coxswain Matthew Grunnill received the thanks of the Institution, recorded on vellum, and medal, for great work in rescuing the crew from a Danish vessel. Thus in 100 years Skegness lifeboatmen had received four silver medals, from the Institution and two from a “foreign” king—a fine record of which Skegness people could be justly proud.

The British people had an instinctive regard for all those associated with the sea, because they were a maritime nation with 5,000 miles of coast line. The Merchant Service and Fisherman were hardy men brought up in an atmosphere of danger. In that atmosphere they had gained the qualities of courage, endurance, comradeship end humanity, which had made their lifeboat crews a model for the whole world. They were men who were always ready to go out, no matter how high the sea, or what was the hour of the night. It surely made them take off their hats to them, but there was another way of showing their appreciation, and that was by putting their hand, in their pockets and giving something to the Lifeboat Institution. He hoped that the Flag Day had been very satisfactory, behaving as he did that so long a Britain maintained its great maritime position the British people would always be ready to support the Lifeboat Institution, the lifeboats connected with which had saved 65,000 persons. The majority of these were the very valuable lives of sailors in the prime of life, healthy young men of vigour, whose safety meant the rescue of their home, from shipwreck. He had great pleasure in presenting the Vellum to Coun. Holmes, Chairman of the Skegness Council, and to Coun. Moody, Chairman of the Skegness branch of the Institution, to guard carefully as a record of what had been done at this thriving resort. (Applause).


Lord Yarborough also presented a picture on behalf of the Institution to Mr. C. H. Major as some recognition of the great support he had given to the lifeboat service of the town, and an acknowledgement of his valuable co-operation and assistance .The picture was a representation of a lifeboat going out — its work of deliverance.

The Chairman said that unfortunately the Vellum could not be taken care of in the Skegness Council Chamber because it was recently demolished by fire, and he believed that there was little likelihood of another being built in the present century. (Laughter)

However, they all lived in hopes, and he had no doubt that it would be carefully preserved somewhere.

Coun. Holmes moved a vote of thanks to Lord Yarborough and Mr. Acton for taking part in the ceremony. Skegness was very proud of its lifeboat and crew and believe that they were second to none. They had rendered splendid service over a long period, and their voluntary work was highly ap. preciated both by residents and visitors. The local branch were also grateful to the visitors for the help rendered during the day.


Coun. Samuel Moody, seconding, said that before 1825 there was a lifeboat stationed at Gibraltar Point, the coxswain being Mr. Thomas Scupholm, the licensee of the hotel at Gibraltar Point. It was retained there for 15 months and was then brought to Skegness because most of the crew lived there. In 1875 the total population of Skegness was Only 315, and as many of its people were associated with agriculture it would be understood that their resources for lifeboatmen were very limited. However, they were never short of anybody to man the boat, and it was the proud hope of every lifeboatman’s son to take his father’s place in the boat. There was present at his side an 80-yearold ex-coxswain, J. S. Moody, who looked 40 (Cheers) and they were the last of their family to take their place in the Skegness lifeboat. For a period of 60 years one of their family had been coxswain. His great-uncle became coxswain when the lifeboat was moved to Skegness and held the post for 41 uninterrupted years.

The Earl of Yarborough, P.C., presenting the Centenary Vellum of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to Coun. G. E. Holmes, J.P., Chairman of the Skegness Urban District Council, and Coun. Samuel Moody, J.P. (nearest camera), Deputy Chairman of the Skegness Lifeboat Committee, on the occasion of the celebration of the Centenary of the Skegness Lifeboat Station, last Monday. On the extreme left, wearing oilskins, is Dr. B. Sweeten, honorary secretary of the Skegness Lifeboat Committee.

Dr. B. Sweeten, honorary secretary of the Skegness Lifeboat, speaking at the Centenary Celebration of the Skegness Lifeboat Station. Seated (left to right) : Coun. Samuel Moody, J.P. (Deputy Chairman of the Skegness Lifeboat Committee), Coun. G. E. Holmes, J.P. (Chairman of the Skegness Council), the Earl of Yarborough, P.C. (Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire), Mr.Frederick. Acton, C.B.E., J.P., Mr. Henry Haslam, M.P., and Mrs. C. F. Grantham, M.B.E., J.P. Standing behind His Lordship are Coxswain Matthew Grunnill and ex-Coxswain John Smith Moody.


Note: The article continues with a description of a lifesaving demonstration, after which many people complained as the launch was not heralded by the usual mortar fire.


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