RNLB H F Bailey III (ON 777)

Owner: Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)
Builder: Groves and Guttridge Ltd, Isle of Wight
Official Number: ON 777
Donor: Legacy of Henry Francis Bailey, Brockenhurst, Surrey.
Station Cromer
Cost: £7,307 14s 0d
Christened: 27th August 1937
In service: 1935
Fate: On display at the Henry Blogg Museum in Cromer
General characteristics
Type: Watson Cabin motor
Tonnage: 18.78 gross tonnage
Length: 31 ft 9 in (9.68 m) overall
Draught: 9 ft 5 in (2.87 m)
Installed power: Two Weyburn CE4 four-cylinder Diesel engines of 40 BHP (30 kW)
Speed: 8 knots (15 km/h)
Complement: 12 crew plus 95 rescues

H F Bailey III (ON. 777) is the most famous Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat to have served from Cromer, because she was used by Coxswain Henry Blogg to perform many of his most famous lifesaving exploits. The lifeboat was on station for the ten years between 1935 and 1945.[1] She is now on the British National Register of Historic Ships[2] and has been preserved in the RNLI Henry Blogg Lifeboat Museum in Cromer.[3]

From 1923 to the end of the Second World War in 1945 the Cromer station had four motor-powered lifeboats all called H F Bailey after the donor, Mr Henry Francis Bailey a London merchant who had been born in Brockenhurst, Norfolk and had died in 1916.[4]


H F Bailey was built at the yard of Groves and Guttridge Ltd on the Isle of Wight. Her hull is constructed using double diagonal planking of Honduras Mahogany on a framework of Teak ribs and beams with the stem and stern posts and her keel of English Oak. The stern and stem posts are grown to the required shape to give the lifeboat its strength and sturdiness. She is 46 feet (14 m) long and 12 feet 9 inches (3.89 m) wide. The hull is divided into seven watertight compartments, of which the engine room is one. The hull is fitted with 142 mahogany air cases, all individually made to fit into its allocated position in the hull. Her equipment included the latest innovations of the time which included a line throwing gun and an electrically powered searchlight.[5]

FURTHER USE: RNLB HF Bailey went on to serve Helvick Head Lifeboat Station in Co Waterford Republic of Ireland Until 1969 when the station was closed. Helvick lifeboat station remained closed until 1994 when it was reopened by the RNLI. The Lifeboat stationed here today is an Atlantic 75 and provides cover in the area Between Youghal and Tramore Lifeboat Stations.

Rescues and service

Rescues by H F Bailey III (ON 777)
Date Casualty Lives saved
March 26 Steamship Boree of Caen, landed 7 from steamship Cadeuceus
April 2 Fishing boat Little Madge of Sheringham, in tow of Lifeboat J C Madge of Sheringham and fishing boats John Roberts and White Rose of Cromer, stood by boats
April 20 Barge Will Everard of London, stood by vessel
August 7–11 Steamship San Francisco of Le Havre, rendered assistance
November 16–18 Steamship Nesttun of Tvedestrand, rendered assistance
November 18 Steam drifter Pitagaveny of Banff, saved 10
November 19 Steamship Yew Forest of Glasgow, took out a doctor
November 19 Steamship Lindisfarne of Newcastle on Tyne, rendered assistance
November 9 Spritsail barge Hibernia of London 3
February 10 Fishing boat 'Urgent of Cromer, stood by boat
May 30 Fishing boat G V H of Great Yarmouth, saved boat 2
August 7 Motor vessel John M of London, stood by vessel
November 2 Steamship Cantabria of Santander, saved 5
December 27 Steamship Otto H of Pori, rendered assistance
June 18 Rowing boat of Cromer, Landed 5
October 9 Steamship Mount Ida of Piraeus, saved 29
December 1 Steamship Realf of Moss, Landed 32 and 10 navel ratings fron Santa Gata
December 8 Steamship Goole, saved 7
December 12 Steamship Corbrook of London, stood by vessel
December 21 Motor vessel Dosinia of London, assisted to save vessel 51
January 9 Steamship Upminster of London, stood by vessel
January 11 Steamship Traviata of Genoa, landed 30 and saved 1
January 11 HMT Holyrood, gave help
January 12 Light Vessel No 58, saved a ships boat 3
January 18 Steamship Asteria of Piraeus, saved 11
January 18 Light vessel No 58, saved a ships boat 4
January 30 Steam trawler Pelton of Grimsby, gave help
August 27 Aircraft, Salvaged wreckage and gear
October 3 MV Actuosity of London, saved 8
November 15 HMT Dungeness, saved 11
November 25 HMT Dungeness, salvaged gear
December 7 Steamship Royston of Newcastle on Tyne, stood by
December 12 Steamship Royston of Newcastle on Tyne, gave help
January 15 Steamship Lieutenant Robert Mory of Belfast, landed 19 and gave help
January 25 Steamship Meriones of Liverpool, saved 101
March 8 Boat from steamship Corduff of London, saved 13
March 8 Steamship Kenton of Newcastle, saved two boats
March 13 Steamship Essex Lance of London, gave help
March 14 Steamship Essex Lance of London, gave help
March 26 Steamship Kentwood of London, stood by
July 24 Aircraft, saved dinghy and picked up a body
August 6 (CONVOY FS 559) Steamship Oxshott of London, saved 16
August 6 (CONVOY FS 559) Steamship SS Gallois of Rouen, saved 31
August 6 (CONVOY FS 559) Steamship Deerwood of London, saved 19
August 6 (CONVOY FS 559) Steamship Betty Hindley, saved 22
September 15 Motor vessel Pontfield' of Newcastle, gave help
September 23 Steamship J B Paddon of London, landed an injured man
Between Sept 17 – Nov 6 Steamship Teddington of London, gave help on 22 occasions
October 16 British aircraft, landed a body
October 26 Steamship English Trader of London, saved 44
January 29 Aeroplane dinghy seven miles north of Cley next the Sea, saved 1
February 2 Motor vessel Sedulity of London, landed an injured man
March 15 HMS Vortigern, picked up 11 bodies after Torpedo attack
April 11 British aeroplane, landed 6
May 25 Yacht Betty of Gorleston, gave help
July 20 Aeroplane, gave help
November 18 Motor fishing boat Silver Queen of Lowestoft, saved vessel 2
March 12 Barrage balloon, salvaged balloon
July 26 Wellington Bomber aeroplane, saved 5
June 20 Aeroplane, salvaged wreckage
July 29 Aeroplane, salvaged gear
December 7–10 Steamship Samnethy of London, saved
February 4 Motor vessel Valder of Hartlepool, gave help


See also

  • Cromer Lifeboat H F Bailey ON 694


  • Cromer Lifeboats 1804–2004, Leach, Nicholas & Russell, Paul, Pub: Tempus Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-7524-3197-8.

Further reading

  • The History of Cromer Lifeboats and Crew; H.F. Bailey 777 1935 - 1945 Cromer, Kitty Lee, 1991, ISBN 0-9518530-0-7
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