Jamie Thompson explains the origins of the model of the Alfred Corry Lifeboat that has hung in the north aisle of St Edmunds Church in Southwold for almost 110 years:
“What follows is an extract from an article that was first published in the Southwold Parish Magazine in 1913. It describes the origins of the model of the Alfred Corry Lifeboat that has hung in the north aisle of St Edmunds Church Southwold for almost 110 years as gratitude for the safety and dedication of the crew of the Alfred Corry.”
Easter Monday, 1913
‘It is difficult to realise that 20 years have elapsed today since the Alfred Corry was christened, the Coxswain and Secretary who were in charge that day, and no doubt many others who assisted on that occasion have passed away, but their prayers and good wishes which accompanied the Boat on her first plunge from our beach into the waters of Sole Bay, have been amply fulfilled, and the lifeboat having for 20 years carried our men to and fro on their errands of mercy it may not be out of place to give a short account of the boat and her deeds.’
‘She has been off 22 times on service although only 15 effective services are recorded on the Board in the Boathouse, and she has saved 27 lives and 6 vessels besides rendering assistance to others.’
‘The crews have received medals from the French Government for the rescue of the crew of the Joseph et Yvonne sunk off Covehithe in November 1905, and from the Queen of Holland in respect of the rescue of the crew and Captains wife of the Voorwaarts in January 1912.
‘It is thought possible that on completion of 20 years the Alfred Corry would be condemned, but after careful survey and extensive repairs at Lowestoft she has been returned to her station apparently good for many years yet, and while she enjoys the confidence and admiration of the men who go afloat in her, she bears with her on her perilous missions the prayers and anxious thoughts of the whole Town.’
‘As a token of gratitude for her safe return from the many hazardous storm scenes and in intercession for her safety in the future the Secretary has had made by Mr John May and caused to be hung in the North Aisle of the Church, a faithful model of the fine boat bearing the following dedication:
Dedicated to the Eternal Father in gratitude for the safety of the “Alfred Corry” Lifeboat, during 20 years’ service at Southwold by E R Cooper, Lifeboat Secretary, 1893 – Easter – 1913.
It is hoped the Model will be allowed to remain in the Church in its present position for very many years and that it will serve as an incentive to future generations of Southwold men to follow their fathers wake and to maintain the traditions of the Lifeboat service in Southwold at their highest level.’
Ernest R Cooper
Secretary, Southwold Lifeboats,1913
The Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum is open to visitors during the winter months at weekends 10:30am to 3:30pm. Find out more on the museum’s website.