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Lifeboat VC

  • £4.25
  • £0.00
  • Author: Ian Skidmore
  • Publication Date October 2001
  • Format: Paperback, 181x123 mm, 140 pages

A reprint of the fascinating account of the life of Coxwain Dick Evans of the Moelfre Lifeboat, Anglesey (1905-2001), comprising numerous stories of dramatic rescues carried out by this courageous man and his crew in the face of great perils at sea. 31 black-and-white photographs.

Gwales Review
You will never, and I repeat never, read a story of greater heroism and skilled seamanship than in the dramatic opening chapter of Ian Skidmore's biography of Coxswain Dick Evans of Moelfre in Anglesey. On an October night in 1959, when the storm equalled that which sank The Royal Charter almost precisely a hundred years before off Moelfre, Dick Evans and a skeleton crew plucked twelve men from certain death and diced with death themselves - a rescue enough for one lifetime; but that same night the lifeboat was summoned out twce more with the same commander and crew.

How Dick Evans acquired the skill to do what he did on 27th October 1959 - and on many other occasions - is related in the subsequent chapters, which also provide an interesting picture of life in Anglesey in the early part of the twentieth century. In Dick's childhood - he was born in 1905 - Moelfre Bay sometimes held up to sixty sailing vessels riding at anchor. He experienced the hard life of an ordinary seaman from the age of fourteen on a coasting vessel, and at twenty-three was master of the MV Colin. His family had a long tradition of lifeboat service - there had been a lifeboat at Moelfre since 1830 - and his uncle, John Matthews, was the coxswain for thirty-six years. Dick gave forty-nine years service to the lifeboat, seventeen and a half of them as coxswain, retiring at 65.

Ian Skidmore was a friend of Dick Evans and has been able to provide first-hand accounts of his experiences, vividly recreating many 'impossible' rescues. When Dick Evans began his lifeboat service, the boats were still 'pulling and sailing', with no engine, relying only on the strength and skill of the crew to row them in mountainous seas, as was the case with all lifeboats for the first century of their existence. When he retired, the station had long had the latest in motor lifeboats, but, as the book relates, life-saving was no less dangerous.

Ian Skidmore does not gloss over the physical or mental hazards: the enormous responsibility the coxswain carries for his crew and their families. Dick Evans freely admitted to experiencing nightmares after particularly dangerous rescues. This book is a worthy tribute not ony to the brave men of Moelfre but also to the whole lifeboat service.

Susan Passmore