Previous names

  • 1904 Charles Burton
  • 1942 Silver Queen
Certificate no 2786
Status Archived


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Lifeboat
Location NONE
Vessel type Liverpool Class Lifeboat
Archive reason Disposed
Current use Unknown
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company, Blackwall
Built in 1904
Hull material Wood
Rig Square
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Towed
Number of engines 2
Primary engine type Diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Length: Overall
38.00 feet (11.58 m)
Breadth: Beam
10.75 feet (3.28 m)
4.33 feet (1.32 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



Built by the Thames Ironworks Shipbuilding Co, Blackwall, London. Originally named Charles Burton, she is a classic pulling and sailing lifeboat  launched at Grimsby in 1904. Charles Burton was transferred to Caister in 1929 replacing the James Leath where she resided until 1941, becoming the last pulling and sailing lifeboat to save a life from the trawler Charles Boyes, on 25 May 1940. Following the loss of a large number of fishing craft during Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Dunkirk, in 1940 the Charles Burton was sold in 1942, and renamed the Silver Queen, for service as a fishing boat with twin screw conversion,

After surviving two World Wars, the Silver Queen (ex-Charles Burton) was in the 1960s converted to a houseboat on the English waterways. ln 1980 she was lying in Skipton in need of extensive works which were subsequently carried out by Mr Paul Dunphy, a  former employee of Rolls Royce. The boat was restored to a seaworthy state during the 1980s and later came to the Isle of Man sometime in the 1990s. Unfortunately the crossing was very rough when a gale blew up and one passenger suffered a heart attack. A call for help followed, and a Manx ferry attempted to transfer the passenger, without success. The ensuing swell caused the ferry's fender to break the lifeboat's mast. Later a helicopter arrived and evacuated the two passengers from the Charles Burton and both boats continued their journey to the Island. Without waiting assistance the Isle of Man, Douglas lifeboat met the Charles Burton on route and tethered a line from the stem this had unwelcome results as the choppiness of the water caused the boat to be violently jerked by the leash causing the stem to loosen and allowing the boat to take on water. Dunphy managed to plug the leak with woollen items and lead strips, allowing him to reach the safety of Douglas Harbour. Only then was the boat allowed to submerge with its injuries.

Mr Dunphy re-stemmed the boat where she lay in the harbour between tides, and refloating her to perform the task of cleaning her. Sometime in the mid-late 1990s he sailed the boat around to the west coast of the Island, landing in Peel, looking to carry out further works in what was once a large boat park but was then semi-derelict. Fortunately the original boat itself is made of hardy stuff comprising Black Indian Oak, Canadian Rock Elm, Honduras Mahogany, Lignum vitae.


Update, April 2020: FREELANCE reported broken up in Peel Harbour in 2019.

Key dates

  • 1904

    Built by Thames Ironworks of Blackwall

  • 1929-1941

    Served as the Caister lifeboat

  • 1942

    Sold out of service and became a fishing boat

  • 1960s

    Converted for use as a house boat

  • 1990s

    Now based in the Isle of Man

  • 2019

    Broken up in Peel Harbour, Isle of Man.

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