One Crew: The RNLI's Official 200-Year History
- Helen Doe
- Foreword by HRH The Duke of Kent
15th February 2024
In the 200 years since it was founded, the RNLI has saved more than 144,000 lives.
It all began with a meeting in London in 1824 to act on a proposal by Sir William Hillary: the formation of a National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck. It is his vision that still drives the RNLI today. The vast majority of its crews are volunteers, backed up by large numbers of fundraisers from every walk of life. And the charity today saves lives in more ways, in more places – through lifeguards, water safety and international work. But, since the RNLI’s foundation, it has not always been plain sailing. In April 1852, the Lifeboat Journal observed that ‘lifeboats have been too few in number, of imperfect form and construction, and often unsuited to the nature of the locality where stationed’. This book takes a fresh look at the creation of the Institution and its early founders, and examines how it has responded over 200 years to the inevitable stresses and external pressures. It provides information on many hitherto unsung heroes and heroines and lesser-known rescues, as well as the well-known events.
The RNLI has overcome many obstacles and is now one of the UK and Ireland’s most respected organisations. How it became so is a story of determination, acumen, skill and bravery. More than 700 names are inscribed on the RNLI Memorial at RNLI Support Centre in Poole, Dorset. The author and publishers hope that this book is a fitting tribute to such self-sacrifice.