100 Years of Service
Happisburgh was best known for the Happisburgh Sands which
run parallel to the coast for nine miles. Over the centuries they
have been a grave yard for many ships.
However, today Happisburgh is better known for the collapsing
cliffs and houses falling into the sea.
In 1886 a Silver Medal was awarded to Coxswain John Cannon,
on his retirement, for his long and valuable service.
In 1926 the station closed and the Lifeboat was withdrawn.
In the 60 years of the all-weather Lifeboats at Happisburgh there
were 3 different Lifeboats: Huddersfield x 2 and Jacob and Rachel Valentine.
There were also 4 Coxswains during that time.
In 1965 the RNLI established an Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) one of
the first “D” class inflatable Lifeboat and this was placed on
service in June. The first ILB was paid for by the people of
Leicester. The Lifeboat was in service each summer, from April
to October, going to the aid of everything from fishing trawlers,
fishing boats, swimmers, and as time went on windsurfers,
divers, jet skies and kite boarders.
In 1994 the D class Lifeboat had the service time extended from summer daylight only to 24/7 all year round
One of the largest rescues the station was involved in, working with many other Lifeboats Helicopters and other agencies was on 11th November 1996, when the tug “Beaver 2” capsized with
one crewman being recovered and transferred ashore to a
waiting Ambulance but there was unfortunately the loss of one
The crew and supporters have always worked hard to raise funds to operate the station; the first Lifeboat crew’s non-traditional calendar “Happisburgh’s Life Buoys” was successfully published for the Millennium with more of the crew seen than ever before!
December 2002 saw the lifeboat launching ramp washed away
overnight by massive erosion, which meant the Lifeboat had to
move to Cart Gap. This site was fully operational within three
months and the boat was still in-service throughout the change
October 2003 saw the latest “D Class” (IB1) Lifeboat arrive at
Happisburgh named “Spirit of Berkhamsted”. The naming
ceremony was held in Berkhamsted as that RNLI branch had
raised the funds for this boat and won awards for doing so in
such sort time.
The largest rescue of people happened on 18th August 2007 when 9 divers were over due 3.5 miles off Happisburgh, Cromer and Sheringham Lifeboats as well as a Helicopter were also called, Happisbugh found the 9 divers returning 7 ashore with Sheringham landing the other 2.
2009 will see Happisburgh Lifeboat move forward again with a
two-year trial of an “Atlantic 75 B Class” Lifeboat working with
our present “D Class” boat; this will mean new buildings to
house the boat and tractor plus improvements to the ramp. The
crew are preparing well, going to RNLI college on training
Courses for the new boat.
We are looking for new crewmembers and shore helpers to help
launch and recover both boats. Anyone interested can visit the station any Sunday morning between 10am and 12noon as the crew will be there and willing to give more information