The RNLI in Salcombe and Kingsbridge is celebrating their 150th year, saving local lives at sea.
In September 1869, the first Salcombe Lifeboat, The Rescue, was launched at Dodbrooke Quay, Kingsbridge and rowed to her new home at South Sands.
Since then, the brave volunteers and their lifeboats have launched on service over 1,600 times, saved nearly 500 lives and brought a further 1,350 people to safety.
The culmination of the Salcombe 150th anniversary celebrations took place across the weekend of 20¬22 September with a Lifeboat Festival and the unveilng of two fantastic statues one in Kingsbridge and the other in Salcombe.
The RNLI will show the new celebration film at our club meeting on the 13th November.
Report by Norman Dilley
Some twenty KEBC members were warned by our Chair that we were in for a fairly hard walk. In practice this seemed less arduous than keeping up with and absorbing the huge knowledge imparted by our guide Mike Pearce, whose enthusiasm and experience kept us going for nearly two and a half hours!
We started at the college entrance overlooking the parade ground and the Captain’s garden where a certain Elizabeth met a certain Philip (now the Lord High Admiral) for the first time in 1939.
The college arrived in Dartmouth from the Solent aboard two old wooden ships in the 1863, following two rejected mooring sites along the way. Life would have been quite tough for the youngsters, some only just into their teens. Shore based activities, parades and sports were on land at Sand Quay. This was made available by the Raleigh family (of Walter fame).
The College employs approximately 200 people and is the largest single employer in Dartmouth. Standing high on the hill overlooking the town and harbour, the college building was completed in 1905 on land compulsorily purchased from the Raleigh family for around £25,000. The whole site extends to well over 100 acres.
To this day college entrants bound for the UK Navy must pass Admiralty Board mental and physical tests. Even well into the 20th Century, fees would be paid by the entrants’ families.
The BRNC produces officers, not just for HM Naval forces but also, some Middle Eastern countries. France, and Germany (the only nationality who do NOT wear swords at the Lord High Admirals Divisions, the passing out parades).
Our tour continued into the Chapel with its magnificent roof beams, did you know that on 21st October (The anniversary of Trafalgar) at approximately 1615 in the afternoon a shaft of sunlight falls onto the right hand of the statue of Christ behind the altar, from a window high on the west wall of the Chapel.
The time being around the Death of Nelson and the realisation of Victory during the battle? This was discovered by accident and maybe a little puzzle left by the architect. There are many magnificent displays, pictures and paintings of naval history throughout the college, one example being HMS Hood, sunk in the Battle of Denmark Strait by the Bismark with enormous loss of life. More was to be found in the college museum, worth a visit on its own.
With thanks to Mike Pearce, we returned home, an afternoon well spent.
Report by Steve Arblaster
On 16th October the Club’s winter lecture programme featured a fascinating talk by Alice Henderson about her exploration of Patagonia and Antarctica.
Clearly addicted to adventurous pursuits from an early age, Alice enthralled her audience with tales from her recent adventures in the deep South, enriched by a variety of photography.
After “warming up” with a solo exploration of the mountains and glaciers of Patagonia, Alice travelled to Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego and took passage for some three weeks in the tall ship “Europa” for a voyage to the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Passages in and out of the ice were interspersed with treks ashore, enlivened by encounters with a rich variety of wildlife, all brought to vivid life by Alice’s photography.
The variety of questions raised at the close of her enthusiastic presentation was testament to the interest it created.
An excellent evening!
Report by John Elliot