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Courtmacsherry RNLI Seek Memorabilia for Lusitania Centenary Exhibition

2nd August 2013
Courtmacsherry RNLI Seek Memorabilia for Lusitania Centenary Exhibition

#lusitania – Courtmacsherry RNLI Lusitania Centenary Committee is appealing for artefacts, stories and memorabilia to be part of a major exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania off the Cork coast in 1915. They are also calling on any family members of those lost or saved in the Lusitania tragedy to contact them to share their stories, which will then be compiled and included in the exhibition.

The commemoration will be held on the May Bank holiday weekend 2015 with the centrepiece being a Lusitania Exhibition in Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station and other local venues. Courtmacsherry lifeboat responded to the tragedy in 1915 and to coincide with the exhibition, the lifeboat crew will re-enact the call to service and row out to the site of the disaster.

Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Brian O Dwyer said "This is an important event in our stations history. On the centenary of the tragic sinking of the Lusitania, the lifeboat crew will lay a wreath at the site of the disaster to commemorate the event and to remember those who lost their lives. The planned exhibition will be a special one for Courtmacsherry RNLI, as it is the sole remaining lifeboat station that responded to the sinking (Queenstown lifeboat crew also responded but the station was since closed). We are making this call early so that people can see if they have any Lusitania memorabilia or stories that they would like to be part of this exhibition."

The Lusitania was a British ocean liner, launched in 1907 by the Cunard line, a holder of the Blue Riband and briefly the world's biggest ship. On May 7th 1915 on passage from New York, she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat South of Courtmacsherry Bay, West Cork, Ireland with the loss of over 1200 lives. Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat, Ketzia Gwilt, which was then stationed at Barry's Point under the command of Coxswain Timothy Keohane (father of Antarctic explorer Patrick Keohane) and his crew of 14 men was tasked to respond to reports of a large four funnel steamer in distress South West of the Seven Heads. Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat was launched, but in calm conditions, the sails were of no use so the entire distance of over 12 nautical miles to the casualty had to be rowed.

Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat station has taken part in a major BBC documentary to be presented by renowned journalist, author and broadcaster Jeremy Paxman which will commemorate the centenary of World War 1. The sinking of the Lusitania was a significant event in drawing America into the war. The documentary is due to be aired in spring 2014.

Anyone with information or memorabilia for the exhibition is requested to please contact the Coxswain at Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station at [email protected] All memorabilia loaned for the exhibition will be returned.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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