A Lifesaving History…

Rotary Service in rough seas, Travelling L to R. Waves breaking in the foreground, Black & White.

“Rotary Service” was the first Thames Class Lifeboat, built in 1973 by Brooke Marine, Lowestoft. Based upon the successful Waveney Class Lifeboat, of Which 6 were built in Lowestoft. The money for the initial purchase of the vessel was raised by the Rotary International of Great Britain & Ireland. In 1974 she was delivered to the RNLI lifeboat station at Falmouth for testing, where she was called out on service 45 times and saved 17 lives. The most meritorious of these in November 1977 when Coxswain Arthur West was awarded an RNLI Bronze Medal for outstanding bravery and seamanship, saving six men from a 110ft storm-lashed barge.

She was then redeployed to the Dover lifeboat station and was officially named by Her Majesty the Queen Mother in 1978. She was involved in two further medal services, including in 1987 acting coxswain Roy Couzens was awarded the RNLI Silver medal and six of the lifeboat crew received RNLI Bronze medals. By the end of her service life the vessel was attributed with launching 411 times, and saving 177 lives, before being sold out of service for use as a pilot boat in Cornwall and latterly Ireland.