Dungeness lifeboat RNLB Charles Cooper Henderson was one of the 'Little Ships' that served in the 1940 wartime evacuation of Dunkirk (Code-named 'Operation Dynamo').
Click here to read a recently-found document which provides the coxswain's harrowing first hand account of how the Charles Cooper Henderson and her brave crew were responsible for rescuing an estimated 2000-plus troops from Dunkirk Harbour and beach and ferried them out to the larger ships waiting to receive and repatriate them to England.
After the Providence was moved to New Romney in 1861 there were several shipwrecks. These were mostly dealt with by the lifeboats of Rye and Romney. In 1873 a dreadful collision occurred just off Dungeness, when the ship 'Northfleet' was lost. The public attention which this tragedy attracted because of the heavy loss of life resulted in the reopening of the Dungeness Lifeboat Station in 1874.
The lifeboat 'David Hullet' came on station in that year. During its period of service, it was launched fifteen times, saving twenty-seven lives. It was decided to replace the 'David Hullet', and in 1887 a new self-righting lifeboat, the 'R.A.O.B. 130' arrived at Dungeness.
Because of the number of shipwrecks in the vicinity of Dungeness, the R.N.L.I. decided to send one of its largest self-righting lifeboats to be kept moored afloat to supplement the services of the 'R.A.O.B.'. This was done in 1892 and was called the 'Number 2' boat. The new boat was called 'Thomas Simcox'.
The 'R.A.O.B.' was replaced in 1912 by the 'Mary Teresa Boileau'. The replacement for the number two lifeboat, 'Thomas Simcox', in 1915, had been the 'David Barclay'. It was decided in 1929 to close the number one lifeboat station, which left the number two lifeboat, 'David Barclay', to become known as Dungeness Lifeboat Station.
The 'David Barclay' was succeeded by the 'Charles Cooper Henderson' in 1933. Altogether tthe 'Charles Cooper Henderson' was launched one hundred and seventy-one times and saved sixty-three lives.
The 'Charles Cooper Henderson' was replaced in 1957 by the 'Mabel E. Holland'. In 1977 the 'Rother Class' lifeboat, 'Alice Upjohn' arrived at Dungeness.
She was replaced by the 'Mersey Class' lifeboat, 'Pride and Spirit' in 1992 which was a generous gift from Eric and Jean Cass of Virginia Water, Surrey, and cost £658,000 to build and equip.
On Saturday 8 March at 08.30 hours, the Mersey class lifeboat "Pride and Spirit", Dungeness Lifeboat from 1992 to March 5 2014 left the station for Lymington and a re-fit, she is now stationed at Clifden in Ireland.
Pride and Spirit was replaced by the 'Shannon Class' lifeboat 'The Morrell' which with its launch and recovery system were entirely funded by an extremely generous legacy left by Mrs Barbara Morrell, from Bromley in Kent.