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Lest we forget.

The first 'Rohilla', the 7 ton steamship HMHS Rohilla, was a hospital troop ship which became the focus of the most famous RNLI rescue in the North East.

At 4am on 29th October 1914 in heavy seas and gale force winds the HMHS Rohilla carrying 229 passengers and crew struck rocks near to Whitby and began to break up. The RNLI Henry Vernon based at Tynemouth, one of 6 lifeboats but the only motorboat, was launched in worsening gale force winds in a last ditch effort to rescue the final 50 people from the sinking ship.

Click 'read more' to read the full story and to see a list of those people who are going to attend the Rohilla day this year.

Henry Vernon - The Rohilla


The Henry Vernon battled for 48 miles to the site of the incident. When 40 people had been rescued two massive waves swamped the boat but it recovered and rescued the last 10.

In the end only 84 of the 229 people died. Major Burton of the Henry Vernon was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal (later changed to the George Cross). Robert Smith, Coxswain of the Henry Vernon was awarded the RNLI's highest award The Gold Medal (he won this an incredible 8 times serving in the RNLI). 5 other lifeboats took part during the 50 hour rescue and many of the RNLI crew were awarded high honours for their part. Remarkably one of the rescued was Mary K Roberts who had survived the sinking of the Titanic two years previously.

When the Henry Vernon was sold to a private buyer in 1936 it was renamed "Rohilla" in remembrance of the gallant efforts of the RNLI crew for their part in the epic rescue of those final 50 people.

In 1959 the Rohilla was chartered by KHS for 2 trips to the Channel Islands. The Skipper was Colin Noble (scout master and math tutor) and was helped to crew by his friend John Clewett. In September the second of 2 sailing trips began with 5 KHS boys aboard - David Earle (16 - Norwich), Peter Knight (15 - Clyde), Robin Green (15 - Bradford), Anthony Gould (15 - Clyde) and Matthew Rudman (14 - Durham). After a few days on the Isle of Sark the Rohilla began its return to the Cornish coast on the 19th of September.

When the boat was declared overdue a massive combined Anglo / French search began. Despite great efforts by the military and civilian shipping very little wreckage was found and only 3 bodies (Mr Noble, Peter Knight and Robin Green) were ever recovered.

Some have speculated the weather was to blame, others that a collision with another ship was possible. Whatever the reason it is a sad irony that a boat which had saved so many lives, weathering so many storms, should end in such a way. 

God's peace be with them.

Special thanks to John Thompson for pointing us to relevant research


 

Please note this is an interim list, you are still able to book and come, however time is short so get on with it!

Attendee’s 

House: 

Years:

Mr. & Mrs. Stewart Brindley

Staff:

1948 - 1958 

Mr. & Mrs Basil & Judith Benson

Staff:

1954- 1962

     
     

Bruce Arnold OBE. + Guest

Bradford

1945 - 1950 

Mr. Joe Bumford

Bradford

1958 - 1962 

Mr. Frank Foster

Bradford

1958 - 1962 

Mr. Tim Hildesley OBE

Bradford

1956 - 1962 

Mr. & Mrs. Mike Kent

Bradford

1951 - 1959 

     
     

Elizabeth Fuller    (Staff)

Clyde

1948 – 1956 

Chris Hooper & Jenny Woolnough

Clyde

1940’s – 1950’s 

Ray & John Radford

Clyde

1948 – 1956 

Michael Mallorie

Clyde

1953 – 1958 

Michael James

Clyde

1948 – 1956 

Rex Humphrey

Clyde

1951 - 1957 

Mr. Andrew Worsley

Clyde

1954 - 1960 

Mr.  Lloyd Silverthorne

Clyde

1961- 1965

Mr. John Bennett

Clyde

1961- 1965

     
     

Mr. Eddie B. White

Durham

1942 - 1950 

Leo & David Smith

Durham

1948 – 1956 

Mr. & Mrs. Melvin James

Durham

1956 - 1961 

Mr. & Mrs. Iain Helstrip

Durham

1961 - 1965 

Mr. & Mrs. Simon Howlett

Durham

1979 - 1984

Mr. Michael J. West.

Durham

1962 - 1966 

Mr. John Thompson

Durham

Late 1960’s

     
     

Mr. & Mrs. Tony Middleton

Greenwich

1963 -  1967 

Mr & Mrs. Nigel Jackson MBE

Greenwich

1964 - 1971 

     

Mr. Peter Worsley

Norwich

1954 – 1961 

Mr. Matt Huber

Norwich

1955 – 1961 

Mr. Neil Lakeman

Norwich

1957 -  1962 

Mr. Robert Latham

Norwich

1957 - 1962 

     
     

Mr & Mrs. Brian Dean

Sheffield

1948 - 1952 

Mr Nigel Dunning

Sheffield

1960 - 1965 

MR. Philip Hildesley

Sheffield

1956 - 1962

Mr. Richard Mullarkey

Sheffield

1957 - 1964

Mr.  Tony Thompson

Sheffield

1961 - 1965 

Mr. & Mrs. John Timmins

Sheffield

1957 - 1962 

Mr. John Dalton Sheffield 1937 - 1944
     
     

Mr. William Collett

Stratford

1940’s 1950’s

     
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