Sunday, 29 November 2009

Model Lifeboatman

On page 28 of the Isle of Thanet Gazette (27/11/09) there is a very interesting article on a Lifeboatman figurine. Following on from a previous article on the subject another figure has come to light and there is a suggestion that it may have been produced in conjunction with the memorial of the Nayland Surfboat disaster of 1897.
Some years ago over a period of time I found three lead lifeboat figure with my metal detector at three different locations following the storm of 1978. All of a different design and manufacture but in the same pose as the Nayland memorial but none had the cork life jacket similar to the Nayland Rock memorial. One was produced by W.Britain the famous lead toy manufacturer and following research was found to be sold from a gift shop at Buenos Ayres in Margate many years after the surfboat disaster. The design was a classic lifeboat man in oilskins and sou'wester but no lifejacket which is the only clue to dated the figure .
The one featured in the article does have a later version lifejacket, which is a pointer that it may be associated with the Rye lifeboat disaster of 15th November 1928 in which 17 lifeboat men lost their lives. Bearing in mind that all lifeboat men are"brothers" at heart, members of the Margate and Ramsgate crews would have attended the funerals and memorial services, and I believe they would have brought something back from Rye as memento. The figure featured in the Gazette could be one such momento. Well worth further research.

Tony Beachcomber

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