Jane Hannah MacDonald

Boat Specification
Boat Name: 
Jane Hannah MacDonald
Boat Type: 
R.N.L.I. Lifeboat
Boat Length: 
35ft 6ins
Boat Beam: 
8ft 6ins
Boat Draft: 
2ft
Boat Displacement: 
Not known
Boat Engine: 
10 oars, lugsail ketch
Boat Construction: 
Mahogany on oak
Boat Builder: 
Thames Iron Works, Blackwall
Boat Year: 
1910

The third RNLI Lifeboat to bear this name, Jane Hannah MacDonald was the gift of Mrs. MacDonald of Brighton and was built at the Thames Iron Works in Blackwall in 1910 at a cost of ?931.

She was a self-righting pulling/sailing lifeboat equipped with 10 oars and a ketch rig of standing lugsails with two centreboards. She served at Appledore from 1910 to 1922 and was launched on service 22 times, saving 23 lives. In 1929 she became the number two Lifeboat at Eastbourne, where she was never called out, until 1930. She served at Flamborough from 1933 to 1938 as their number two and answered the call three times before being sold out of the service in 1939 for ?50 to Mr. J. Lister, a former crew member who re-named her Jane Hannah and used her as a fishing boat at Whitby. Then he donated her to the Sea Scouts.

Still before the war, schoolboy Graham Chase saw her advertised in a yachting magazine and persuaded his father Bernard to buy her. He remembered that she was 'in marvellous condition.' When she was called to go to Dunkirk, George and 'Fat Freddie' Long took Jane Hannah to Newhaven, where the Royal Navy took charge of her. It was reported that she was so heavily laden with troops at Dunkirk that the water came up through her valves. Afterwards, when Bernard Chase had given up all hope of getting his boat back, he discovered that she had been found floating in the English Channel and towed home. She was sold to Billy Long who used her for musselling and was later seen as a fishing boat on the NE Coast. Her end seemed to have come when she was left rotting, far from the sea, in the railway yard at Kidsgrove in the Midlands.

But the strangest things happen to Dunkirk Little Ships. Simon Evans, a British boatbuilder and lifeboat enthusiast who has settled in France, took pity on her and got someone to put her on a transporter and deliver her to his yard at St. Denis Les Sens. Now Jane Hannah MacDonald is being lovingly restored.

Source: 2, 3, 4, 5 & 19

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