Sidmothian John sheds new light on lifeboat research

Fresh light on Sidmouth lifeboat photo

SIDMOTHIAN John Mortimore, the town’s former cobbler, who lives in High Street, has offered an important piece of help to Richard Thurlow in his quest to write a history of Sidmouth Lifeboat.

The photograph in last week’s Sidmouth Herald, purporting to be of the Remington lifeboat, is, according to John’s records, the William and Francis lifeboat.

He writes: “The William and Francis arrived here in 1885 and was here until the station closed in 1912. The picture was taken about 1909.”

John even has a list of the names of the crew, listed from bow to stern (left to right):

Tom Wooley (bowman), Toby Smith, Tuzzie Harris, J Farrant, J Harris, F Bartlett, C Solomon, W Smallridge, R Cordey, B Harris, J Tapley, R Soloman (coxswain).

The fisherman standing in front of the lifeboat are (l-r): Tramer Carnell, Punch Wooley, R Tapley, Bill Ware.

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The eight coastguards with Captain Pearce in front are Dicky Bird Syres, Stretch Churchill, Dodger Smith, Gypsy Rugg, Bob Bagwell, H Bartlett and T Beavis.

John says: “I didn’t make these nicknames up – honest!

“The William and Francis was only launched once to save lives. That was on December 7, 1911 when it saved six lives from the schooner Maria of Geestemunde of Germany.”

*If anyone can help Richard Thurlow, who has taken on the voluntary job of support team leader, with his bid to research the history of Sidmouth Lifeboat, or have any old mementos or photographs he can copy for his records, they can contact him on (01395) 513171 or e-mail: