Shouts from the Stornoway RNLI chest  1887-2012: 125 years of Stornoway RNLI

Lifeboat 'William and Harriot' attended this shout in 1946.
Lifeboat 'William and Harriot' attended this shout in 1946.

Established in 1887, the Stornoway RNLI Station welcomed Lewis’ first lifeboat  the ‘Isabella’, before she was replaced for the faster and self-righting vessel ‘Sarah Pilkington’ in 1901.

The ‘James Marsh’ lifeboat took over duties in 1924 and then five years later, in 1929, the Stornoway station made RNLI history when its first motor boat – the ‘William and Harriot’ – was the first in the charity’s fleet to be equipped with radio-telephone. 

Since then there have been three other RNLI lifeboats stationed at Stornoway before the town’s current vessel the ‘Tom Sanderson’ – the ‘James and Margaret Boyd’ (1955- 1975); the ‘Hugh William Viscount Gough (1975-1984), and the ‘Sir Max Aitken II’ . 

Here we look back at the service records from the Stornoway RNLI Branch chest remembering the rescues and brave deeds undertaken by those vessels and their volunteer life-saving crew members over the decades. 

Report of Service on the 6th day of April 1946

Lifeboat William and Harriot stationed at Stornoway

Case of the Fishing boats “Boy Jim” and “White Heather” of Stornoway

Please give an account of the Service from the first time of receiving first news of vessel in distress to Life-Boat’s return to Station

About 3.15pm the Skipper of the fishing boat “Fairmorn” reported that he saw the fishing boat “Boy Jim” drifting in the Minch before the wind as if she was disabled. The fishing boat “White Heather” was also at sea and her whereabouts not known. As it was blowing hard from the SW at the time it was decided to send the Life-Boat to the assistance of these small craft.

On the arrival of the Life-Boat at Tuimpan Head they found the “Boy Jim” sheltering and moored to the shore in a cave to leeward of Tiumpan Head Lighthouse. Her crew had landed safely.

The Life-Boat was then informed that the “White Heather” was seen to disappear round Gress Head a few miles to the northwards. On investigation the Life-Boat found the “White Heather sunk close inshore in the bay of Gress Head. Her crew had also landed safely.

Read the remainder of this RNLI record in the April issue of Back in the Day, out now.