Pakefield Lifeboat

11th April 2010, 11:59
Hello to everyone, only joined the site yesterday and this is my first post.

I am currently researching the history of the Pakefield Lifeboat. I have spent numerous hours trawling through the net and various reference books to obtain facts and figures, albeit, to little avail. I’m truly amazed as to how difficult it has been trying to collate information.

My personal interest in this subject has arisen from family research. One of the crew members (my great grandfather) was awarded the Board of Trade, Gallantry At Sea Medal (Bronze) in recognition for an outstanding rescue attempt on the 7th October 1858. (Details of the rescue are below if you are interested). I have actually seen this medal many years ago. It was attached to the bottom of a photograph of my great granddad which hung up in the “scullery” of grandma’s two up, two down, fisherman’s cottage in Kessingland, Suffolk. Tragically, for some bizarre reason, the photo and more importantly, the bronze medal are no longer in the possession of our family.

If anybody has any information on the history of the Pakefield Lifeboat and/or the members of the crew, that they are willing to share, it would be most appreciated.




If anybody has acquired an old Board of Trade, Bronze Medal for Gallantry At Sea, awarded to George Robert White, please get in touch.


To all of those brave men!! God Bless Them.

On the 7th October 1858, at 11am, the barque Zemira, of Leghorn, with 12 Italians and an English pilot on board, ran aground on the Newcome Sands, near Lowestoft, the wind blowing a hard gale from the S.W. at the time; the Pakefield boatmen, as soon as possible, launched the life-boat; but the greater part of their number being absent in Lowestoft Harbour, they could not be on the spot immediately; she was however, afloat in about forty minutes, but the vessel had then broken up and disappeared. The life-boat's crew, nevertheless, determined to search the spot where she had been, with the chance of picking up any of her crew who might have been able to hold on by pieces of the wreck .On crossing the shoal, in a very heavy sea, the whole boat and crew were once completely immersed; but, nothing daunted, they prosecuted their search, and happily succeeded in picking up 8 of the crew floating about on pieces of the wreck at various distances from the spot, the last man picked up being 2 miles distant from where the main part of the vessel remained. The captain, 3 of the crew, and the English pilot, unfortunately perished. This service was considered to be altogether of so gallant and praiseworthy a character that the Board of Trade awarded medals to the coxswain and crew; and a considerable collection (60l) was raised by visitors at Lowestoft in testimony of their admiration of it, and given to the crew, who also received the highest scale of payment allowed by the National Life-Boat Institution, viz., 2l. to each man - 10s. each being the ordinary sum for day service in its life-boats.

11th April 2010, 12:13
quite a few RNLI men on this site. Hopefully one of them will know which direction to point you in Ian53

11th April 2010, 12:27
Thanks Billy,

I have quite a bit of info and a few photos, the main problem would seem that the Pakefield lifeboat was not associated with the RNLI at that time.

However, hopefully someone interested in lifeboat history my have some useful information.



17th April 2010, 23:45
have you tried contacting the public records office [i think at kew, london]. they charge, for their research, or you can do it free yourself by going to them and doing it yourself.
but they have all sorts of records on tap.

13th August 2012, 14:04
just spotted your post regarding the zemira we believe my great grandad william west also got the bronze medal my cousin found this out and last year was sold on the internet as we never knew this and are trying to confirm he is our great grandad there is still a picture in the rnli boat house on the wall in lowestoft which i am trying to get a picture
regards ian