RNLB H F Bailey (ON 670)

RNLB H F Bailey (ON 670) was the first Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat powered by a motor, that served from Cromer Lifeboat Station.

H.F. Bailey ON670
Owner: Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)
Builder: J. Samuel White at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Official Number:ON 670
Donor:Legacy of Henry Francis Bailey, Brockenhurst, Surrey.
Laid down: 1923
Fate: Moved to Great Yarmouth & Gorleston on 5 May 1924, where she served until 1939
General characteristics
Type: ‘Norfolk & Suffolk’ type
Length: 46 ft 6 in (14.17 m) overall
Beam: 12 ft 9 in (3.89 m)
Installed power: Single Weyburn Diesel engine of 80 bhp (60 kW)


The lifeboat was built in 1923 by J. Samuel White at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The lifeboat was powered by an 80 bhp Weyburn DE6 engine and was a Norfolk and Suffolk-class lifeboat. She was 46 feet (14 m) and 6 inches (150 mm) long with a breadth of 12 feet 9 inches (3.89 m)


The Cromer station had four motor-powered lifeboats all called H F Bailey, after the donor, a Mr Henry Francis Bailey of Brockenhurst,[1] a London merchant who was born in Norfolk and had died in 1916.

New boathouse

To accommodate this new motor lifeboat a new lifeboat house and slipway were built on the end of the Cromer Pier.[2] The planning and building of this new boathouse was carried out three years before the arrival of H F Bailey and was ready[2] on the day that the new lifeboat arrived in the town. The new house was 60 feet (18 m) long and 21 feet (6.4 m) wide.[2] The house had a solid concrete[2] floor. The placing of this house at the end of the towns pier allowed the new lifeboat to be launched at all states and conditions of the tide, and with the pier itself 500 feet (150 m) from the shore line plus the 60 feet (18 m) of the boathouse and a further 165 feet (50 m) of slipway meant that the lifeboat when launched would be well clear of the rocks and groynes along Cromer’s beach front.[2] The new lifeboat house cost £32,000.[2] This boathouse remained in constant use until 1995 finally being replaced with a new station in 1999.[2] The 1923 station now resides at Southwold.

Service and rescues

H F Bailey (ON 670) was the Cromer No. 1 boat on station for just one year but due to problems with her launch and recovery, on the slipway, she was transferred to Great Yarmouth & Gorleston on 5 May 1924, where she served until 1939

H F Bailey (ON 670), rescues at Cromer
Year Date Casualty Lives saved
1923 19 July Smack Hepatica of Lowestoft, assisted to save vessel
1924 1 January Steamship Nephrite of Glasgow, assisted to save vessel 12

See also


  1. Cromer Lifeboats 1804–2004, page 54. ISBN 0-7524-3197-8
  2. Cromer Lifeboat, Apictorial history, By Nicholas Leach & Paul Russell, Pub; Landmark Collector’s Library, ISBN 978-1-84306-363-6
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