© Burry Port RNLI 2015

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea

RNLI Lifeboat

Designed and created by Nick

Burry Port RNLI

Saving lives at sea

RNLI LifeboatRNLI Lifeboat

Operational since 1973

Home The Team Contact us Events Calendar Station History Vessels Tractor's Gallery Service Calls Donate
Breaking News

Before the advent of the current range of media, if you needed to show news, feats of courage or just informing people, the main platform for this was newsprint.

Below we have found a selection of newspaper cuttings.

Historical News

Picture insert transcript: Believed to be the only photographic record of the third lifeboat to serve Burry Port which was launched in June 1887. The 15-man crew of the “David Barclay of Tottenham” wore cork lifejackets and red caps. In the background is the base of the Copperworks stack. There was no Carmarthen Bay Power Station, for this was the Victorian era. But the lifeboat was following a fine tradition in Burry Port. The two previous lifecraft in the town had saved the lives of 34 people.

Transcript: The commissioning of the Burry Port Inshore Life-Boat Station on Saturday marks a full circle in the maritime history of Burry Port.

From the days of the wreckers, the men of the little hatchets, to the busy coal and tin trading Victorian era and on to the present boom in leisure persuits on the water, salt water has been the lifeblood of Burry Port.

It is fitting therefore that the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in their 150th year, should restore to Burry Port a lifecraft.

The commissioning ceremony is at Burry Port Harbour Boat House on Saturday at 3.30pm.

Burry Port Band will be in attendance and so too will be Burry Port Male Voice Choir, conducted by Mr D A Bowen and Mrs Madge Pryor respectively.

The order of service follows remarkably that of the last commissioning of a rescue boat in Burry Port in 1887, as is illustrated in the historical article on accompanying pages.

The R.N.L.I were approached by Coun. Herwood Phillips to establish a lifecraft in the town in 1965.

But Burry Port could at that time only be added to the priority list until it eventually came to the top.

The high incidence of tragedies in and around the town’s waters have heightened the need for a lifecraft in the town.


History Repeats itself but proves there have been four lifeboats in Burry Port

By Ron Cant.

Very little is known about the lifeboat’s that have served in the Burry Estuary. It is commonly believed that the boat to be launched on Saturday is the second for Burry Port. It is, in fact, it’s the fourth.

The new rubber inshore rescue boat is the second to be housed in the boathouse on the harbour side.

Another lifeboat was kept at the Pembury Old Harbour.

But the first boat for Pembury and Burry Port was housed in a boathouse situated in the plantation in the edge of the golf links between Burry Port and the Royal Ordnance Factory, Pembrey.

The following information on the former lifeboat to be stationed at Burry Port was researched by Mr John Williams, of Elkington Road, Burry Port. The old photographs of Lady Elkington, who performed the launching of the lifeboat, believed to be the only photographic record of the craft, are from a history collection gathered by Mr Brian Cripps of Pemberton Avenue, Burry Port.

The third lifeboat in Burry Port and the first to be housed on the harbour side was launched on Tuesday, June 16, 1887. It was christened by Lady G.B. Elkington.

The lifeboat, of wooden clatter board construction, was 37 feet long and 8 feet wide. It was manned by a crew of 15 men with accommodation for 12 oars and was built by Messrs, Forrest of London. The lifeboat was the fruit of a legacy bequeathed to the Royal Naval Lifeboat Institute by Mrs Stewart Barcley of Edmonton and the entire costs, including the boathouse, boat, equipment and the storage was about £1,000.

Representatives of the donor present at the launching included Mr. T. Kilsby, Miss Stantin and Miss Epworth. Captain Laprimandy represented by the R.N.L.I.

The ceremonies started at 2pm. On the opposite wall, where the Harbour View now is, was the old lifeboat “Stanton Merick of Pimlico” which was said in the following edition of the “Llanelli County Guardian” to be “looking ancient and obsolete in comparison with the new lifeboat”. The boathouse still the one that is being used today, after a face-lift by the Urban Council, was constructed by Messrs. Christopher and Griffiths.

The Pembrey Lifeboat Station was founded in 1863 with two lifeboats. In the 25 years before they were superseded by the Burry Port boats, they had gone to the rescue of eight wrecks saving the lives of 34 persons.

The Burry Port Lifeboat Committee set up for the new Burry Port boats were President, General Malcolm, Vice-president, Mr Charles Neville, Chairman, Capt. Luckraft R.N., and secretary, Mr Gerald B Elkington.

The following is a report of the launching ceremony lifted from the following week’s edition of the “Guardian”.

“Near the lifeboat house were Nessers Hugh Nevill, T Chivers, the Rev Henry Evans, Capt. Risley, Capt. Jones, Capt. Laprimandy and Lady Elkington.

At 3pm and after some delay the lifeboat crew, 15 in number, marched down the road, wearing their cork jackets and red caps. The following crew took their seats in the boat.

Chief Coxswain W Blair, Second Coxswain J. Gravell and crew Messrs: R Thomas, Edward Gravell, D Charles, W Gillard, J.N.O. James, T Jenkins, Isaac Arnold, Richard Arnold, David Gravell, Williams Francis, John Charles, George Groon, Richard Williams.

Large crowds gathered on the dock walls and photographer Mr McLucas was ready with camera poised.

In is opening address, Mr Hugh Nevill said this was the third boat which had been received at Pembrey and Burry Port and also the third boathouse. The first boat was called the “City of Bath” given by the gentlemen of Bath. The second boat was the “Stanton Merick of Pimlico” given by the gentlemen of that name and the third boat was the “David Barclay of Tottenham”

The first boathouse said Mr Nevill, had been washed away by the sea. The second was partially buried by sand. Because of these mishaps, the third boathouse has been situated at the new harbour.

The daughter of Coxswain Blair, presented Lady Elkington with a bouquet at St Mary’s Church. The Choir sang “Eternal Father Strong to save” and the Burry Port Town Band accompanied. The choir was led by Mr Jas S Bevan. The Vicar, The Rev. Henry Evans offered an appropriate prayer.

“History is repeating itself because the Vicar of Burry Port will bless the lifeboat on Saturday and the Burry Port Town Band, reformed two years ago, will play”.

Lady Elkington proceeded to name the boat and taking hold of a bottle of wine in her hands she drew it out and swung the bottle against the woodwork breaking the bottle and saying simultaneously in clear tones “I name this the ‘David Barcley of Tottenham’ May God bless and grant that she may be the means of saving lives”.

The cords attaching the boat to the launching carriage were suddenly loosened and the boat swiftly glided down the slipway into the sea amid the hearty cheers of the crowds gathered on the dock walls.

Three hearty cheers broke from the men who manned her and in token of the tribute, held their oars aloft. “Rule Britanie” was struck up by the band and the crowd joined in the singing. The lifeboat made a short cruise in the bay and returned to the dock where her self-righting capabilities were tested.

“The boat was heavily ballasted and then capsizes by means of a crane. But she immediately righted herself”.

“The masts were then put up and the sails unfurled and again the boat was upset by the crane. This time the boat righted with visible indications of having touched the bottom. Her masts and sails were bedaubed with mud. But all these achievements were cheered by the crowds on the dock walls.

“As a matter of interest in the same edition of the “Guardian” there appears shipping new in Burry Port. Names of the ships departing and unloading. In the same week, three vessels arrived in the harbour without cargoes, one had a shipment of copper ore. Four ships left the harbour full of coal and one with a cargo of tin.



Burry Ports Inshore Rescue service lost its inflatable rescue craft at the weekend.

But there is no cause for alarm. The craft will be overhauled and refitted before being returned to the Burry Port lifeboat house for the official opening of the rescue service in March.

The inflatable craft will be taken to Boreham Wood for overhaul.

But in the meantime the six coxswain and 14 crewmen will have a lot to occupy themselves over the winter months.

Some are studying radio telegraphy at the Royal Naval Lifeboat Institute in Swansea and others are studying navigation at Llanelli Technical College.

In the lifeboat House they have rope classes and they will be performing general maintenance.

Coxswains are Messrs. John Rees. Des Williams, Spencer Davies, Andrew Phillips, Buddy Guy and Leonard Cross.

Crewmen are Messrs. Bernard Rees, Nigal Sinclair, John Ford, Brian Davies, Hugh Owen, Leslie Williams, Jeffery Williams, Derek Jones, Marcus Owen, Keith Mitchel, Robert Campbell, Hywel Davies, Lyndon Morgan and John Williams.

Mr Reginald Sinclair has been appointed boathouse attendant.

And the rescue service has been recognised already. The first donation was made by Mr R Church and Fricker Metals Ltd. Rio Tinto Zinc have made over a cheque for £50.

The crewmen staged an exercise on Saturday morning. Because of the high seas a helicopter that was to have taken part returned to its Chivenor, Devon base.

But the inflatable craft defied the adverse conditions and made the most from the thrashing seas in Carmarthen Bay.

The crew also practiced changing a propeller at sea and practiced beach landings.

The boathouse will be officially opened on March 9th next year and dedicated by the vicar of Burry Port.

The ceremony coincides with the 150th year of the institute.

But the rescue service is not new to Burry Port. The boathouse on Burry Port Harbour was first opened in 1887.

Anyone who can help piece together the history of the towns sea rescue service of old or can provide photographs, for copying, of the old Burry Port and Pembrey lifeboats are asked to contact Mr Herbert Phillips.