WILLIAM GAMMON was originally called the MANCHESTER AND DISTRICT XXX, being the 30th lifeboat provided by the fund. The name was changed to commemorate the courage of the coxswain who was lost together with his crew in April 1947 when the Mumbles lifeboat EDWARD PRINCE OF WALES capsized off Sker Point.
WILLIAM GAMMON is unsinkable, rather than being self-righting and this is why she was withdrawn from service. Since 1970, all RNLI lifeboats over 30ft long have been self-righting. There has also been a trend to replace post war classes such as the Watsons, Liverpools and Barnetts by more powerful lifeboats.
WILLIAM GAMMON's first service launch was 11 November 1947 when she went to the assistance of the Barnstaple ketch ENID which had run aground at Aberavon. Its most famous rescue was of the motor vessel KILO after which the lifeboat required extensive repairs to stanchions, stern and belting. KILO had caught fire when her deck cargo of sodium drums had been damaged in a hurricane and the sodium exploded on contact with water.
Other services included Christmas parcels to the crew of the Scarweather Lightship and saving horses. WILLIAM GAMMON was replaced on the Mumbles station by the PENTLAND - Civil Service 31 which was a 17 year old 47ft Watson Class boat which had been converted to self-righting. WILLIAM GAMMON could not be easily converted and entered the reserve fleet. Finally the lifeboat was stored at the RNLI headquarters in Poole and it was from there that she sailed to Swansea in 1984.<
Brouwer, Norman J, International Register of Historic Ships, Anthony Nelson, Edition 2, 1993
The Watson Class Lifeboat WILLIAM GAMMON, Swansea Maritime and Ind. Museum
Teachers Notes: The Development of Lifeboats and the Lifeboat Services, Swansea Maritime and Ind. Museum
Built by Groves & Gutteridge of Cowes and served as the Mumbles lifeboat
Served as Relief Lifeboat
Purchased by Swansea Council and exhibited afloat at the Industrial & Maritime Museum
Became an indoor exhibit at The Swansea Museum
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