Dunleary' Civil Service No. 7

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The first motor-lifeboat provided by the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund


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Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Station

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A brief history of Lifeboats in Dun Laoghaire.


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Watson Class 45ft

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The 45 ft Watson-class was a non self-righting displacement hull lifeboat.


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Dunleary in Lytham St Anne's

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The Dunleary depart Ireland for Lytham St Anne's, UK in 1939.


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A Note from Pat Jopling

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The Dunleary was kindly donated to us by Pat Jopling & Jack (Bud) Belfield.

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Brian's Blog

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Brian Comerford keeps us up-to-date on all the latest news and events.


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'Dunleary' Civil Service No. 7

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45ft. Watson(motor)(ON658).

Built by S.E.Saunders.

Cost £6,074.

Powered by one 60 BHP Tylor petrol engine.

Stationed at Kingstown, December 1919 to July 1938; Lytham 1939 to April 1951

At Kingstown:- 23 service launches, 55 lives saved.

At Lytham:- 58 service launches, 30 lives saved.

The Civil Service, Post Office and British Telecom Lifeboat Fund (1866-1991) built the ‘Dunleary’ in 1919 at a cost of £8000 and to accommodate her the boathouse and slipway at Kingstown had to be altered, at a cost of £1,550, which was also met by the Fund.

She was built in 1919 and was named by the Countess of Fingall in honour of her launching place. She remained stationed in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, until 1939 and made a total of 81 launches, saving 85 lives. Her war service was at Lytham and in those years alone she made 34 launches, rescuing 28 people.

The first of the many effective services came on 7th. February 1923 when she was launched at 8-15 a.m. and saved the local fishing boat "Katie" and her crew of 3. On 29th. October 1925. the 2,000 ton. Ship "Hamburg" came ashore near the Coastguard Station, the lifeboat being launched at 3-45 p.m. and eventually rescuing all 46 people on board. What proved to be the last service by this lifeboat at Kingstown, took place on 2nd. June 1936 when, in rough seas and a north-easterly gale, she was launched at 11-00 a.m. and towed the disabled yacht "Vixen", with just the owner on board, to safety.

In July 1938, a new lifeboat was sent to Kingstown and the "Dunleary (C.S. No. 7)" was re-allocated to Lytham. On 25th. November 1939, this lifeboat rescued the crew of 15 from H.M. Trawler "Gaul", landing them at 2-45 a.m. At 7-15 a.m. that same morning, the lifeboat was called out again, after distress flares had been sighted. These had come from the Pilot Boat "Charles Livingstone" the casualty eventually being found ashore on Ainsdale Beach. With great skill and tremendous courage, the lifeboat was eventually taken alongside, but the only 2 men still on board refused to leave and so the lifeboat was forced to back away and she returned to Lytham for this service. Coxswain John Parkinson was awarded the Silver Medal by the RNLI with Motor Mechanic G. Harrison being awarded the Bronze Medal. When the fishing vessel "Gipsy", with a crew of 5, was reported to be in distress, near the Wall End Buoy, on July 9th. 1944. the "Dunleary (C.S. No. 7)" slipped her moorings at 2-20 p.m. and headed out into rough seas and a SSE gale. Two lifeboatmen were put aboard and the "Gipsy" was towed to Lytham, arriving at 4-00 p.m.


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History of Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Station

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1803 - The first lifeboat for the area was placed at Sandycove by the Dublin Ballast Board

1817 - A lifeboat was placed at Old Dunleary by the Dublin Ballast Board.

Before the RNLI took over the lifeboat station, many rescues took place off the coast. One Gold (1829) and seven Silver (1844 and 1861[six]) Medals for Gallantry were awarded.

1861 - The RNLI took over the lifeboat station.

1868 - Silver Medals were awarded to Mr Edmund Gray and to Mr John Freeney for saving five men from the schooner Blue Vein.

1876 - Second Coxswain Thomas White died after the lifeboat capsized.

1881 - A Silver Medal was awarded to Coxswain H Williams for a rescue to the wreck of the George H Oulton.

1890 - A second lifeboat (No.2) was placed at moorings in the harbour.

1892 - Crew Member Patrick Hammond died when the lifeboat was wrecked whilst on night exercise.

1895 - On 24 December, 15 lifeboat crew tragically lost their lives when the No.2 lifeboat capsized on service to the steamship Palme. The No.1 lifeboat also capsized but fortunately all the crew were able to get safely back to shore. There is a memorial to the 15 lifeboatmen overlooking the harbour, close to the lifeboat moorings. A Gold Medal was awarded to Thomas McCombie, Captain of the steamship Tearaght, for rescuing the 20 crew of the Palme the next day.

1901 - A boathouse for No.2 lifeboat was built.

1911 - The first lifeboat station closed.

1919 - The station¹s first motor lifeboat arrived at the station.

1930 - A Centenary Vellum was awarded to the station.

1947 - The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Acting Second Coxswain W Kelly for saving 45 from the Bolivar.

1956 - Captain R S Kearon, Honorary Secretary, who was also the Harbour Master, drowned when the harbour launch capsized.

1963 - The lifeboat was placed on moorings close to the Mail Boat Pier.

1969 - A Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Eric Offer for rescuing two men from their capsized dinghies. He was also presented with the Maud Smith Award.

1975 - A 150th Anniversary Vellum was presented to the station.

1980 - A special Vellum certificate was awarded to Dr Niall L Webb, honorary medical adviser, for attending an injured man.

1986 - An inshore lifeboat (ILB) station was established with a D class lifeboat.

1990 - The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Mr Eamon O¹Leary when he rescued, single-handedly, five men, one who had suffered a heart attack, and a young boy from a capsized dinghy.

1995 - The Trent class lifeboat Anna Livia arrived at the station in June. She was funded from proceeds of the Dublin Bay Lifeboat Fund and other gifts and legacies.

2001 - D class lifeboat, Tony Heard, was placed on service. She was funded by a legacy from Tony Heard.

2011 - D class lifeboat, Realt Na Mara was placed on service.

Station Honours

A day does not go by without a volunteer crew somewhere showing their selflessness, skill and courage to help save lives at sea. Occasionally, however, a rescue deserves special recognition and the RNLI rewards acts of skill and bravery with awards from a Framed Letter of Thanks from the Chairman to a Gold Medal for Gallantry. Awardees of a Gold Medal are invited to attend the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association.

At Dun Laoghaire lifeboat station the following awards have been made:

Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on

Vellum: 4

Bronze Medal: 1

Silver Medal: 10

Gold Medal: 2

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About the Watson Class 45ft

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The 45 ft Watson-class was a non self-righting displacement hull lifeboat built between 1919 and 1925 and operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution between 1919 and 1956.

In 1898 the first 45 ft Watson was built, one of the largest pulling and sailing lifeboats built for the RNLI. Only three of these 45 footers were built, the last in 1901. This third boat, Abert Edward ON 463, was based at Clacton-on-Sea and after eleven years of service was taken in hand for rebuilding with a motor. A 40 bhp Tylor C 4-cylinder petrol engine was fitted but little else was changed and, like all single engine lifeboats, a full sailing rig and drop keel was retained. The boat returned to service at Clacton in 1912 and served there until 1929. With the conversion of ON 463 deemed a success, plans were put in hand for the production of a series of 45 ft Watson motors, but due to the First World War, the first boat did not appear until 1919.

Like ON 463 the first eleven production boats were open decked and retained full sail plans and a drop keel. The first seven boats were powered by a 60 bhp Tylor D1 6-cylinder petrol engine, while the rest had an RNLI designed 80 bhp DE6 6-cylinder petrol engine, nine of which were built by Weyburn Engineering and five by J. Samuel White. Experience showed that the open deck layout was inadequate for the longer services operated by the motor lifeboats and from the late Twenties a shelter was added ahead of the steering position. The final ten boats, built from 1923(ON 684), were to a revised design with a cabin capable of taking twenty survivors ahead of the engine room.

ON is the RNLIs sequential Official Number.

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Dunleary in Lytham St Anne's

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In July 1938, a new lifeboat was sent to Kingstown and the "Dunleary (C.S. No. 7)" was re-allocated to Lytham. On 25th. November 1939, this lifeboat rescued the crew of 15 from H.M. Trawler "Gaul", landing them at 2-45 a.m. At 7-15 a.m. that same morning, the lifeboat was called out again, after distress flares had been sighted. These had come from the Pilot Boat "Charles Livingstone" the casualty eventually being found ashore on Ainsdale Beach. With great skill and tremendous courage, the lifeboat was eventually taken alongside, but the only 2 men still on board refused to leave and so the lifeboat was forced to back away and she returned to Lytham for this service. Coxswain John Parkinson was awarded the Silver Medal by the RNLI with Motor Mechanic G. Harrison being awarded the Bronze Medal. When the fishing vessel "Gipsy", with a crew of 5, was reported to be in distress, near the Wall End Buoy, on July 9th. 1944. the "Dunleary (C.S. No. 7)" slipped her moorings at 2-20 p.m. and headed out into rough seas and a SSE gale. Two lifeboatmen were put aboard and the "Gipsy" was towed to Lytham, arriving at 4-00 p.m.

The above photo was taken on board the Dunleary in the late 1946 or early 1947, Coxswain Edward "Teddy" Rimmer is standing third from left (retired 09/1947). Future Coxswain Joseph "Little Joe" Parkinson (bronze medal in 1955) is standing 4th from left. Mechanic George "Ginger" Harrison (bronze medal on the DUNLEARY) is kneeling to the left and Matt Clarkson who lost his life out fishing in 1950 is kneeling to the right.

With thanks to David Forshaw - Lytham St Anne's.

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A Note from Pat Jopling

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Hi folks,

As current owner of the Dunleary I would like to thank everyone involved with the project to preserve the old boat. We have had her for nearly 50 years, (longer than the RNLI) and after Jack, my husband died there was not much interest in anyone taking her on as a restoration. The boat was the love of his life, he had looked for something like this for a long time and when he found her (10 years before we actually got her) that was it. We had intended to use her as a work/ pleasure boat for ourselves but unfortunately it was not to be.

After a lot of bitter disappointments trying to secure the future of RNLB Dunleary, I was absolutely thrilled when Brian(Comerford) contacted me with the venture of getting her back to her "home" station, as the prospect of the boat yard closing and cutting the boat up was not what I wanted to happen to her, she is a lovely old boat, not bad for her age, I've tried to keep her as tidy as I could manage, but now I will rest easy knowing that she will be in good caring hands again, and her future secured. We have at last been able to make arrangements to return her to Dun Laoghaire harbour to be restored to her original operating status.

I would like to thank Brian Comerford and the "Dunleary Lifeboat Project" restoration group for their enthusiasm and commitment to getting this project off the ground, and also Mr. Quentin Nelson, Lytham Lifeboat, & Dunleary Station for their help & support. It is early days but I wish them every success with the venture as the thought of breaking the boat up was an awful prospect for such a great old boat.

Please support the project if you can. This was one of the last photo's I have of Jack working on the boat on the Tyne I'm sure he will be so pleased she is going "home" & you can't believe how much it means to me to know that her future is safe.

Pat.

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Brian's Blog

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January 21st, 2018

Hi folks,

Hope you all got over the Christmas and New Year ok. January is usually the time of year you start thinking of what's to come, making plans and committing to things. Good luck with that. So far things are moving at good a pace with the project we have been approved for a heritage grant from the DLR County Council, this will help to start some essential work on web sites , publicity and boat covers so a big thank you to those people who were involved in securing that . If there are any good ideas in how to fund-raise, please step forward! We're also looking for sponsors. We're planning an information meeting in mid March but if there are any interested people who would like to get involved check out the web site and leave a message we will get back to you as soon as we can. Meanwhile work will continue., We will keep you informed . Thanks for your interest.
Brian

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October 24th, 2017

Evening all,

Just thought I should up date you all. There is trojan work going on behind the scenes. There was deadline a date for applications for grants that had to be met so a big hats off to Jenny and Fred for there work on that. Also we're working on a logo for publicity, it will be part of the campaign to tell everybody what we're about and what we would like to do, again we are asking for your help on this . We plan to hosting an information night and maybe a week end on the history of the Dunleary and the people involved , their work and equipment and the conditions that they would have encountered. We're thinking of hosting this in the Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire. The idea is to recreate the men and the way they would have dressed and compare it to the modern dress and their equipment. Anyway this is all part of the history of the Dunleary lifeboat. We will try and give you plenty of notice of the dates . Meanwhile thank you all for keeping watch, fair winds.
Brian

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September 28th, 2017

Evening all,

Forgive me for the late up date. This is my third attempt to submit this report, still trying to get the hang of this media . Anyway we were hard at it again on Saturday the 23rd working on the boat. We have completed the removal of the superstructure all the debris has been removed and the place looks neat and tidy. This will allow for an in dept Survey and we will know then the extent of the work to do . We had a visit from Fergal Keane of Seascapes , this interview will be aired on Friday evening RTE 1, please have a listen and give us feed back. We're looking at an easy way to cover the boat mostly to stop the rain from coming in and giving the boat time to breath and dry out. Post your ideas. Also we had a very good meeting on Tuesday in the NYC in DL and were actively seeking sponsorship and ways to do this so again ideas please. The most urgent thing is our constitution and who is who , that sort of boring thing . We will be at the boat this Saturday 10 to 1 Weather permitting and we would love to see you if only to talk! Spread the word. Fair winds.
Brian

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