Remembering those in peril . . .

13 December 2006

by Margaret Duggan

THE Caister Lifeboat on the Norfolk coast is said to have rescued more people over the past 160 years than any other lifeboat station. It is also the only lifeboat station that operates independently of the RNLI, which means it has to provide and maintain its own boats.

Last month, the lifeboatmen invited the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, to join them on Remembrance Sunday, when they especially remember the many ships lost in nearby waters during the two World Wars.

Bishop James celebrated the eucharist in Caister Parish Church before going to the lifeboat shed, where the Anglican and Methodist churches shared the leadership of the Remembrance Service. The shed was so packed with local people, members of the British Legion, and other uniformed organisations, that half of them had to stand.

The lessons were read by members of the lifeboat committee, the Bishop preached, and the names on the Caister roll of honour were read out. A bugler played the last post before a two minutes’ silence, ended by reveille.

After the service, and tea and coffee provided by the Women’s Institute, the Bishop and the Rector of Caister, the Revd Tim Thompson, who is vice-chairman of the lifeboat committee, put on yellow waterproofs (pictured) to go out in a heavy swell in the aluminium-hulled lifeboat (which, with water-jet engines, can reach a speed of 37 knots) to lay a wreath on the site of the trawler Charles Boyes.

The trawler was sunk by a mine only a mile off Caister beach while on naval war service in 1940. Two of its crew were Caister men, one also a member of the lifeboat crew.

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