Lifeboat William Gammon



This lifeboat was being commissioned when the 1947 disaster occured. During her sea trials she carried the name Manchester and Salford XXX being the thirtieth boat provided by the Manchester branch of the RNLI. In order to commemorate the sacrifice of Coxswain William Gammon and his crew in their attempt to rescue the crew of the Samtampa, she was then named    William Gammon - Manchester and District XXX.



I believe this photo was taken as the  lifeboat William Gammon - Manchester and District XXX  arrived at the station for the naming ceremony which took place on Saturday 20 September 1947.


Here are two photographs from 35 mm slides which I purchased in 2010. They must have been taken sometime between 1960 and 1967 and show the William Gammon in her original condition. In 1968 she underwent a year-long refit and returned to the station with a wheelhouse fitted.


The William Gammon towing a yacht back to the moorings at Mumbles. Swansea pilot cutter Seamark escorting.


Launching the lifeboat was the easy part - rehousing was a little more difficult. The boat was reversed into the shoe (the steel lined channel down the centre of the slipway - which had been well greased). Lines had already been run to the bow and stern of the boat from the white buoy - these aided the coxswain in getting the boat in line with the shoe. The winch cable, to which a wire strop was attached, was drawn down the slip by two men and a heaving line attached. When the coxswain was satisfied that he had run the keel into the shoe, a man threw the line onto the stern of the boat and the strop hauled aboard. The loops in the strop were placed over hooks in the deck and the boat hauled clear of the sea. Then grass warps were hooked into the slipway and wound tightly around the bits. The winch cable was eased off and the boat held by the warps. The wire strop was removed from the winch cable which was then pulled further down and fixed to the aft end of the keel abaft the rudder. Notice that the William Gammon's rudder is inside the stern post. Once the boat was being held on the winch cable the grass warps could be removed and the boat hauled into the house. Once in the house a heavy chain bolted into the boathouse floor held the boat securely in position without putting weight on the winch.

To launch the boat the boathouse doors were opened, the chain was released and the jaws at the end of the winch cable struck with a hammer. The engines had already run up and with her props turning the boat ran down the slipway to enter the sea with a very pleasing splash which ran up over her bow and along the deck!