Harwich Lifeboats: An Illustrated History
Harwich lifeboat station operates two modern, state-of-the-art lifeboats,operated by 28 volunteers and two full-time members of staff. The lifeboats work the coasts of Essex and Suffolk, as well as the rivers Stour, Orwell and Deben, the Walton Backwaters and the Thames estuary south of Harwich. Nicholas Leach, editor of Ships Monthly, tells the story of the various Harwich lifeboats, their crews and the daring rescues they have performed since the first lifeboat was established in the 1820s. Perhaps one of the most infamous of the wrecks was that of the German passenger liner Deutschland, which saw the founding of an RNLI station in Harwich in 1876. Unusually, for many years, Harwich did not have an operational lifeboat station, but when the lifeboat was active, it was always busy. Harwich was, though, the first RNLI station to have a steam lifeboat and one of the first motor lifeboats was sent to Harwich on its trials. The first 17m Severn lifeboat to see active service was allocated to Harwich too and its Severn vessel has seen service as far as Zeebrugge. Many notable rescues have been performed by Harwich lifeboat crews, and sixteen silver and four bronze medals have been awarded since 1829.