Fishguard's historic Charterhouse lifeboat is will soon set sail for a new home – the West Wales Maritime Heritage Museum in Pembroke Dock.
The Charterhouse Returns Trust – a group of local volunteers responsible for the boat’s care – have struggled to find a suitable exhibition space in her home port. Plans to make her the centrepiece of a new marina came to nothing when that project was abandoned. In the meantime, the boat has remained under wraps in a corner of Goodwick Quay provided by Stena Line.
Now, one hundred and ten years after the ground-breaking lifeboat was first launched, she will be prepared to be put on public view next spring.
“The Charterhouse is very much part of the maritime history of Fishguard and Goodwick. By moving her to the Maritime Heritage Museum she will able to be on display to the public with proper interpretation,” said Charterhouse Trust chairman Gwilym Price.
The boat’s move will coincide with the 99th anniversary of her most famous rescue – the doomed Dutch ship Hermina which foundered on Needle Rock on December 2, 1920. The intrepid lifeboat crew, led by coxswain John Howells, carried out a heroic operation, saving nearly all the crew with just one fatality. Their feat was honoured with the boat and crew being taken to London and receiving medals from the then Prince of Wales.
The Charterhouse will have a hero’s reception in Pembroke Dock with an official welcoming committee including the Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed Sara Edwards.
During her stay at the museum, restoration work will continue to be carried out by volunteers.
Meanwhile the Charterhouse Returns Trust is working on plans to commemorate the rescue’s centenary in December next year.
“We are pleased to be working with the Maritime Heritage Museum to ensure the Charterhouse continues to be looked after and cherished as an important part of west Wales’ maritime history,” said Mr Price. “We are also grateful to Stena Line for accommodating her for the past decade.”