Introducing Lucy Lavers

Lucy Lavers © The Little Ships of Dunkirk by Christian Brann

   Lucy Lavers being recovered after service at Rhyl © Rhyl RNLI lifeboat station
Photo left: The Little Ships of Dunkirk by Christian Brann. Photo right: Rhyl RNLI lifeboat station

Lucy Lavers is a single-screw Liverpool type lifeboat. 

Built by Groves and Gutteridge on the Isle of Wight in 1939, Lucy Lavers was completed in 1940 for Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station. Her shallow draft - 2ft 3.5ins - made her suitable for her first service at the Dunkirk Rescue Operation in 1940. She is 35ft 6ins long, with a beam of 10ft 3ins; her construction is double diagonal mahogany; her displacement is 6 tons and her original engine was a 35hp Weyburn petrol engine. 

We understand she was named "Lucy Lavers" as part of a legacy from Lucy Lavers' widower. We have been in touch with her remaining family but unfortunately they have no family records or photographs so cannot tell us more than this. 

Lucy Lavers later served as a relief Lifeboat at Wells-next-the-Sea and elsewhere on the East Coast. She was donated to us for restoration by the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust.


Lucy Lavers postcard © Scott Photographic Services, Stalybridge, Cheshire    Lucy Lavers's hull after coats of marine gloss 06.03.2015 © George Hewitt

Photo left: Scott Photographic Services. Photo right: Rescue Wooden Boats.

Our first project was to restore Dunkirk Veteran Lucy Lavers to her former glory, and our second was to take her back to Dunkirk by sea in 2015, for the 75th Anniversary of Operation Dynamo, encouraging visitors and - we hope - inspiring young people's interest in her place in history on the way.

We are delighted to have been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant which helped to restore, film and tell the story of Lifeboat Lucy Lavers. She now is restored to her former glory and can be booked or chartered in Wells-next-the-Sea.

We have also liaised with Jack Lowe and his wonderful lifeboat station project.

Lucy Lavers was one of his subjects when he produced this wonderful image of her on the left below. Even more recently (2020 and 2021) he pasted a giant poster of this image on the end wall of our Maritime Heritage Centre - a big challenge being a corrugated wall. The resulting image, right below, was breath-taking.

The North Norfolk gale force winds and horizontal rain took their toll so the image was ephemeral. Jack's blog here describes the experience of doing it and losing it!