Aldeburgh Lifeboat

Suffolk High Sheriff, William Kendal, meeting Coxswain Steve Saint, Lifeboat Operations Manager Charles Walker and honorary crew member George the Labrador on 3 August 2016


Aldeburgh Lifeboat Stations

Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station 9 April 2008. © Bob Jones and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.


The Inshore Lifeboat Station 26 August 2005. © John Winfield and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.

2016: Aldeburgh Lifeboat ‘Freddie Cooper’ Goes for Refit

As published by Aldeburgh Lifeboat, 10 October 2016


Aldeburgh Lifeboat, the Freddie Cooper

Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station’s All Weather Lifeboat, the Freddie Cooper, is heading down to Poole for a refit.

Some of the crew went down to Ramsgate, earlier in the week, as the station will have a relief lifeboat, another Mersey called Margaret Jean. The crew brought the relief boat to Aldeburgh from Ramsgate on Tuesday 11th October, arriving at the beach at approximately 1pm.

Crew then sailed the Freddie Cooper down to Levington Marina on Thursday 13th October, where she was lifted out and then driven down to Poole by road.  The refit is expected to take about 2 months.

2016: Aldeburgh lifeboat charity signals call for help to fill volunteer shortage

As published by East Anglian Daily Times, 4 May 2016

A lifesaving charity has signalled its own call for help in finding new volunteers.


54th AGM of the Aldeburgh and District Lifeboat Guild. The guild is currently experiencing difficulties in recruiting volunteers. Veda Crane (left) is standing down as chairman and there is no one to take her place. Rosemary Trigg (right), who has managed the lifeboat shop for eight years in a voluntary capacity, is also retiring.

The Aldeburgh and District Lifeboat Guild was founded 54 years ago – but it now faces a recruitment challenge.


The Lifeboat Guild in Aldeburgh is looking for more volunteers for the shop.

In 2015, more than £91,000 was raised at the lifeboat shop, run for the last eight years by Rosemary Trigg.

Following her retirement, the guild launched a search for someone to take over. Meanwhile, no one was found to take the place of Veda Crane, who recently stood down as acting guild chairman after two years. Following the 54th AGM, she said: “Of more immediate importance is the lifeboat shop. Rosemary Trigg, who has run the shop for eight years in an entirely voluntary capacity, has now retired and we are seeking someone to take her place. This position would ideally suit someone who has recently retired and would like to help raise funds for the lifeboats. Our shop is eighth in the countrywide league table and last year raised £91,286. We urgently need someone with the commitment and dedication to take over the reins.”

Annie Groves, RNLI visitor experience manager for the east region, said the fundraising activities of the guild and retail element of the RNLI were essential to the service. She added: “Why not come and join a fun and friendly team doing something worthwhile for your community? You will receive first class training in whatever role you take, with ongoing guidance and support, while learning new skills, meeting new people and helping save lives at sea.”

Anyone interested in volunteering to run the shop should call 01728 452552 or email for further information.

To express an interest in joining the guild committee, contact secretary Viv Holt on 01728 688448.

1948: Lifeboat Turntable

A device which aids in the rapid turn-round of a lifeboat: the Aldeburgh Lifeboat, Abdy Beauclerk, on a special turntable on the new slipway.

On this slipway, the boat can be brought ashore at any tide and immediately and easily turned round for a fresh launching.

Illustrated London News, 11 September, 1948

1940: Florence Nightingale Of The Storm

“Dovey” is always ready! Seventy, but is she tough!

Miss Pettit

Aldeburgh, Suffolk, Saturday

The tempest whines. Huge breakers crash upon the shore. And all who can, seek shelter from the black-out and the storm. But one lone figure remains – the figure of Miss “Dovey” Pettit. Little Old Lady of the Wrecks.

Clad in man’s trilby, gum boots and sou’wester, this seventy-years-old woman stands waiting for the lifeboats to land their human salvage.

Then she gets busy. Steaming drinks, hot baths, dry clothes, she prepares them all, and soon the men who have looked death in the face begin to smile again.

Today I met this Florence Nightingale of the Storm and, helped by local fishermen pieced together the story of her years of service to seafaring men.

Eighteen years ago the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Society sought for a local agent. But no one would take on the unpaid post. Then a fisherman said jokingly: “Why not try Miss Pettit? She’ll take on any job if it is for a good cause.”

Since then hundreds of seamen from dozens of foundered vessels have had cause to thank the kindly, white-haired soul who has come to their aid. I can’t report what she has done during this war. Censorship forbids. But many a night the old lady has risen from her bed and made her way through the inky black-out to the look-out station in answer to the alarm.

Not even the blinding flurry of a snowstorm kept her from her post. Take one wreck that occurred within the past 12 months. From Aldeburgh’s two lifeboats 80 men, soaked to the skin, some of them fainting from exposure, were landed. The old lady met them all and in no time escorted them to a local hall. Baths were provided; food, too. But clothes. That was the problem. Miss Pettit only had clothes for seven or eight men, that being the number for which she usually had to cater.

Somewhat varied

But the Florence Nightingale of the Storms was not going to be beaten. She has powerful lungs and marched through every street shouting:-

“Anybody got any clothes for the shipwrecked me? If so, please take them to the Jubilee Hall.”

Aldeburgh answered her call and within an hour she had more than enough garments.

“Although they had undergone a terrible experience, the sailors just had to laugh at themselves when they were dressed,” she told me. “One man wore a straw hat, white flannels and a dinner jacket; another evening dress trousers and a fisherman’s blue sweater.”

The old lady is regarded by tough local fisherman as one of themselves. They all call her “Dovey”, her childhood nickname.

The People, 3 March 1940

1928: Saved 413 Lives – Family’s Proud Record

Among the lifeboat families of England, the Cables, of Aldeburgh, In the County of Suffolk, are outstanding. For over a hundred years five generations have given practically unbroken service, and have helped to save 413 lives.

There was a Cable in the very first crew of the Aldeburgh lifeboat in 1824. and there are four to-day, with others, on the waiting list. The first two Cables, father and son, were drowned on service, one of them while swimming through rough seas with a line to a grounded ship. Although he lost his life, he was able to get the line on board, and by means of it seven men were saved.

Perhaps the most famous of the family was James Cable, coxswain from 1887 to 1917. and still alive, despite his many thrilling adventures in stormy seas. Three times he was awarded the silver medal of the Lifeboat Institution for his gallant services, and in addition, received awards from the ex-Kaiser and the Norwegian and Finnish Governments. Apart from his lifeboat rescues (says the London “Daily Chronicle”), he has been instrumental single-handed in saving eleven people from drowning, and holds the Royal Humane Society’s medal and certificates for these services. One of his greatest feats – though it did not result in his saving any lives – was on January 5, 1881. when he took his boat through 90 miles of a raging winter storm in search of two wrecked ships. In each case lifeboats from stations nearer at hand succeeded in rescuing the crews before he arrived.

Another Cable, Robert, retired last year after 45½ years’ service, during which he had a share in the saving of 170 lives.

Three members of the fourth generation .are in the crew to-day. “Already one of the fifth generation (one of James Cable’s three grandsons) is serving, and another, 12 years of age, is only waiting till he is old enough.

Queensland Times, Wednesday 8 February 1928

1905: Aldeburgh’s Lifeboat Hero

It was to Coxswain Cable and two others that the governing body of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution entrusted some years ago the very responsible duty of selecting the best type of boat for service during the 17 year he has been coxswain of the Aldeburgh lifeboat, having taken part in saving 300 lives from shipwrecks. This total was reached on Whit-Monday, when, during the regatta, Cable saved four men who were capsized from one of the sailing boats taking part in the racing. The Mayor, appreciating his prompt action, made a presentation to Cable, who already possessed a medal with two clasps from the National Lifeboat Institution, another from the King of Sweden, and a third from the Royal Humane Society, whose parchment he also holds. His other presentations include a watch from the German Emperor.

Framlingham Weekly News, 12 August 1905