The Mary Stanford

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Mary Stanford lifeboat

November 15 – this is the day when we remember not only the brave and courageous crew of the lifeboat at Rye Harbour but their families too, who will never forget the devastating impact that that fateful day had on the village.

On November 15 1928, the Mary Stanford capsized, drowning the entire 17-man crew. The lifeboat was launched in a torrential south-west gale with heavy rain squalls and heavy seas to the vessel Alice of Riga.

News was received that the crew of the Alice had been rescued by another vessel and the recall signal was fired three times. The lifeboat crew had not seen it because the storm was so intense and the roar of the waves blocked out any sounds or sights.

A young boy on Camber beach raised the alarm as he saw the lifeboat capsize and all 17 of the crew perished.

This is the worst lifeboat disaster in the entire history of the RNLI and there is a memorial service in the harbour each year to pay tribute to the gallant crew.

Image Credits: Local archives .

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