Honouring 100 years since Salcombe’s Lifeboat Disaster

Panoramic view over the Salcombe estuary towards Rickham Common and Portlemouth Down, Devon

On October 27 1916, the lifeboat 'William and Emma' capsized on Salcombe Bar as it attempted to return to harbour, leading to 13 of the crew losing their lives.

The ill-fated trip came after the 15-strong crew departed in heavy storms to assist the Western Lass. They reached the wreck and discovered that its crew had already been rescued, and so made their way back to harbour.

But this time, the storm was too strong. The lifeboat capsized, sparing only two lives.

This event was a tragic blow to the small community of Salcombe, and one of the worst incidents recorded in RNLI history.

The Memorial Stone overlooks the Salcombe Estuary from the coast path.
The Memorial Stone overlooks the Salcombe Estuary from the coast path.
The Memorial Stone overlooks the Salcombe Estuary from the coast path.

Remembering the brave crew

2016 marks the 100th year since the disaster occurred, and so Salcombe RNLI prepared a number of commemorations to honour the victims.

Thursday 27 October 2016 brought the community of Salcombe together in a day of remembrance, including a Service of Commemoration, Wreath laying at sea, and a 13-gun salute.

Two large Memorial Stones have been placed on the coastal path either side of the estuary, overlooking the scene of the disaster.

Holy Trinity Church, Salcombe marked the centenary by creating a lasting Lifeboat corner, including a plaque naming the victims.

The headstones on the graves in Shadycombe cemetery have also been restored and marked.

For more about the disaster take a look at www.salcombelifeboat.co.uk/lifeboat-disaster-centenary


Enjoy sweeping views of Salcombe Estuary
The view over the Salcombe estuary from the house and garden at Overbeck's, Devon
Enjoy sweeping views of Salcombe Estuary

Walking through history

In support of the local community and the Centenary celebrations, the Memorial Stones have been placed along the coastal path in places that we look after.

The first is in place along the East Soar to Overbeck’s route, overlooking the estuary with an outstanding view to admire.

The second had been displayed in Salcombe town for visitors to see, especially those who may be less mobile or have difficulty accessing the coast path.

Now it is part of the landscape after being installed on Rickham Common, standing opposite its twin across the estuary. You will be able to stop by the Memorial Stone on the Mill Bay walk.