Samuel and Marie Parkhouse

This lifeboat attended Falmouth RNLI’s event in 2017 celebrating the station’s 150th anniversary.
Samuel and Marie Parkhouse is a 46-foot Watson motor lifeboat. She was built in 1938 by J. S. White in Cowes on the Isle of Wight at a cost of £8,450 funded by a legacy from Mrs Marie Parkhouse of Cricklewood.

The Samuel and Marie Parkhouse served at Salcombe from 1938 to 1962.

The deck layout of this lifeboat was designed to suit local conditions at Salcombe, especially the notorious sandbar at the entrance to the estuary. The ‘turtle’ decks fore and aft were designed to throw off shipped water faster and she also had a shallower draught and strengthened stern frame to protect the rudders and propellers in the event of her striking the bottom.

The Samuel and Marie Parkhouse was originally fitted with two 40hp Ferry VE4 4 cylinder diesel engines giving a top speed of 8.25 knots and a range of 200 nautical miles She was capable of taking 95 persons on board.

The lifeboat’s first service occurred on 7 December 1939 when she saved 62 people from Dutch passenger liner Tajandeon that had been torpedoed by enemy action. The Belgian steamer Louis Shield took off her crew and passengers before going aground herself in Bigbury Bay.

The Samuel and Marie Parkhouse launched at 7.45pm and safely negotiated the heavy seas breaking over the Salcombe Bar. Coxswain Edwin Distin made three attempts to rescue all 62 survivors from the Louis Shield and they were taken ashore, eight at a time, in a small pulling boat. The 45-man Belgian crew were then landed by rocket apparatus. The lifeboat returned to station at 11am the next day.
The RNLI’s Silver Medal was awarded to Coxswain Edwin Distin and the Bronze Medal to each of the seven crew.

Coxswain Distin was awarded the RNLI’s Bronze Medal for rescuing 11 people on 4 December 1943 from the Admiralty salvage craft LC18 aground on the Skerries, east of Start Point. In an easterly gale and a very heavy sea, Coxswain Distin took the Samuel and Marie Parkhouse alongside four times before the crew could be persuaded to jump onto the lifeboat.

In her time at Salcombe, the Samuel and Marie Parkhouse launched 100 times saving 126 lives. She was sold out of service in 1963 and renamed Oniros

The Samuel and Marie Parkhouse was bought by her current owners, Mike and Julia Wrigley, in 2009 and since then they have done quite a bit of work on her, the most obvious being the return to more or less ‘in service’ appearance, including a new funnel. They regularly attend RNLI fundraising events along the south coast as well as using her for holidays, cruising the western half of the English Channel and as far south as Douarnenez and Ushant.

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