RNLB Louisa Heartwell (ON 495)

RNLB Louisa Heartwell (ON 495) was the sixth lifeboat to be stationed at Cromer[1] on the coast of the English county of Norfolk[2] She was launched from the beach station and was on station from 1902 to 1932.[1] During her period on station at Cromer the Louisa Heartwell had only two coxswains during her 29-year career. The coxswains were Matthew James Buttons Harrison until his retirement in 1909, and then Henry George Blogg.[3][4]

RNLB Louisa Heartwell (ON 495)
Name: Louisa Heartwell
Owner: Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)
Builder: Thames Iron Works, Leamouth, London
Official Number:ON 495
Donor:Legacy of £700 bequeathed to the RNLI by Miss Emily Heartwell[1] of Upper Holloway, London
Cost: £981 12s 0d
Laid down: 1901
Christened: 9 September 1902, by Lady Suffield
Completed: 1902
Fate: Sold out of service 20 May 1931, converted to a motor cruiser and renamed Waiora , Became a Houseboat in the 1990s on the Chichester canal.
General characteristics
Type: Liverpool-class boat (non self-righting)
Length: 38 ft 0 in (11.58 m) overall
Beam: 10 ft 9 in (3.28 m)
Propulsion: Sail and rowed by 14 oars

New lifeboat house

With the arrival of the new Liverpool-class lifeboat Louisa Heartwell, Cromer also got a new lifeboat house.[1] This was needed as the new lifeboat and her carriage were much larger than the previous lifeboat Benjamin Bond Cabbell (ON 12).[1] The new lifeboat house was opened in 1902 and remained in use until the 1960s, when it then became the lifeboat museum.[1] With the advent of the new Henry Blogg Museum, this building is once again a lifeboat house, and is used by Cromer's inshore lifeboat

Notable rescues

Steamship Fernebo

The Swedish cargo steamer was laden with timber when on 9 January 1917 an explosion in the ship's boiler broke the Fernebo in two.[1] The Cromer Lifeboat Louise Heartwell with coxswain Henry Blogg at the helm had been at sea for several hours in difficult conditions attending the Greek steamer Pyrin.[1] Blogg and his exhausted crew were now asked to attend the Fernebo. The sea conditions were so bad that the lifeboat was unable to clear the beach. Meanwhile, the crew of the Fernebo had managed to launch a small boat from the stricken vessel. Aboard were six crew members but the little boat was capsized in the surf. All six of the little boat's occupants were rescued from the waves through efforts of rescuers on the beach. In the late afternoon the Fernebo's two halves had grounded. One half was alongside a wooden groyne with the other, half a mile to the east. After failed attempts to make a further rescue with rocket apparatus the Louise Heartwell launched again at 9:30 pm. During this attempt the lifeboat lost three oars and five of her oars were smashed. Not to be beaten, once more with spare oars and after some rest, Blogg and his crew launched to the Fernebo. This time the lifeboat managed to get alongside the wreck long enough to rescue the eleven remaining crewmen.[1] The lifeboat returned to the shore at 1:00 am to a cheering crowd who had stayed to watch the rescue from the beach. Henry Blogg and his crew had been at sea for fourteen hours.[1] For this action Henry Blogg received a RNLI gold medal.[1] Acting second Coxswain William Davies[1] was awarded the Silver medal and twelve of the crew were awarded the Bronze medal.[1] This was the first time[1] this new medal had been awarded and had been specifically created because of the notable contribution made to this rescue by the crewmen of the Louisa Heartwell. Part of the wreck of the Fernebo remains and can sometimes be seen on Cromer beach at low tide opposite the Doctor's Steps.

Service and rescues

Date Casualty Lives saved
28–31 December Steamship Enriquetta of Grangemouth, stood by.
8–10 OctoberSteamship Rosalind of Newcastle, stood by & assisted to save vessel.17
8 DecemberFive fishing boats of Cromer, Stood by.
1 FebruarySteamship Newburn of Newcastle, stood by.
17–18 SeptemberSchooner Zuma of Wisbech, assisted to save vessel.9
11 FebruarySteamship Atbara of London, Saved.12
14 DecemberBarge Britisher of London,stood by and gave help.
1 MarchBarque Lodore of Liverpool, stood by and gave help.
24 OctoberLugger John Robert of Great Yarmouth, gave help.
23 NovemberBarque Alf of Larvik, saved.2
21 DecemberBarquentine Albatross of Lowestoft, saved.8
15 FebruaryBarge Resurga of London, gave help.
20 AprilSteamship Haakon of Arendal, stood by.
17 DecemberSchooner Desdemona of Thurso, assisted to save vessel.5
4-6 DecemberShip Walkure of Hamburg, gave help.
29 AugustTrawler Saint Antoine Dde Padoue of Nieuport, Landed 21 from Haisborough light-vessel.
27 NovemberHoveller James and Ellen of Great Yarmouth, stood by while beaching.
27 FebruaryKetch Industry of Hull, assisted to save vessel.
6 MayFishing boats Katie, Harriet and John & Mary of Sea Palling, saved boats.9
8–9 JanuarySteamship New Oporto of West Hartlepool, saved.7
18–20 JanuaryKetch Thomas Stratton of Maldon, assisted to save ketch.4
27–29 MarchSteamship Ida of Haugesund, assisted to save vessel.
27 MaySteamship BodilL of Esbjerg, Saved.14
17–19 SeptemberSteamship Mimona of Fredrikstad, assisted to save vessel.
14 JanuarySteamship Havfru of Christiania (Oslo), Saved.1
16–17 MarchSteamship Ladt Londonderry of Sunderland, assisted to save vessel.
28 MarchSchooner Ann of Goole, saved5
30 AugustSteamship Mitcham of London, saved.22
21 DecemberFishing lugger Chieftain of Cromer, saved.3
9 JanuarySteamship Pyrin of Piraeus, saved.16
9–10 JanuarySteamship Fernebo of Gothenburg, saved.11
27 NovemberSteamship Kronprinsessan Victoire of Haugesund, saved.6
21 DecemberMotor fishing boat Admiral Jellicoe of Great Yarmouth, stood by.
26 DecemberSteamship Pollcrea of London, gave help.
25–26 FebruaryMotor barge Innisberg of Glasgow, assisted to save barge.5
30 September - 1 OctoberSteamship Inna of Sunderland, assisted to save vessel.1
17–19 NovemberHM Hired steam trawler General Botha of Aberdeen, assisted to save vessel.
30 NovemberSteamship Refrigerant of Lorient (es War Coppice of London), rendered assistance.
24 JuneMotor schooner Danefolk of Copenhagen, assisted to save vessel.23
20–21 AugustSteamship Bavaria of Cologne, rendered assistance.
Motor launch Dot, saved launch.2
Steamship Inverawe of Leith, stood by and assisted to save vessel.
14 JanuarySteam trawler Lord Cecil of Grimsby, assisted to save vessel.
21 AprilSteamship Nystrand of Skien, stood by.

Notes and references

  1. Cromer Lifeboat, A Pictorial History, by Nicholas Leach & Paul Russell, Pub; Landmark Collector's Library, ISBN 978-1-84306-363-6
  2. OS Explorer Map 252 - Norfolk Coast East. ISBN 978-0-319-23815-8.
  3. Henry Blogg, the Greatest of the Lifeboatmen, Jolly, C., Pub: Poppyland Publishing, new edition 2002, ISBN 0-946148-59-7
  4. pdf of Henry Blogg, the Greatest of the Lifeboatmen
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