Station History


DateInformation Detail
1825Partly due to the efforts of William Ogilvie, a wealthy Scot, who was much involved with the enlargement and improvement of the port of Ardglass, the first lifeboat station on the County Down coast was established at Rossglass in 1825 by the County Down District Association.

Rossglass, is located in the north-west corner of Dundrum Bay, between Tyrella and St John's Point. The lifeboat was reported to be just over 18 feet in length and was equipped with 8 oars. In 1835 she was moved to the coastguard station at St John's Point at the request of Coastguard Captain, R H Browne, where she remained in service until the late 1840's.

The reference above in the RNLI records of the Ballywalter Lifeboat in 1866 to a lifeboat station existing at Tyrella rather than at Newcastle tends to support some evidence that a secondary RNLI associated lifeboat may have been operational again for a short period in the Rossglass/Tyrella area during 1866. It is also possible that an error was made in referring to Tyrella rather than Newcastle in the RNLI 'Lifeboat Journal' of 1866.

(above info courtesy of Portaferry Lifeboat Station)

Twelve Silver Medals and three Gold Medals were awarded between 1826 and 1852 for rescues to the many wrecks which occurred in severe weather conditions.
1854The RNLI’s Newcastle Lifeboat Station was opened in 1854 following numerous wrecks (including the stranding of the Great Britian in 1846). The Earl of Annesley MP paid for the boathouse.
1860A Silver Medal was awarded to Henry Boyd for rescuing the eight crew from the brigantine Water Lily. A Silver Medal was awarded to Captain G Ridge RN for wading into the surf to rescue a man from a capsized boat.
1874Silver Medals were awarded to Captain C Grey Jones and Coxswain James Hill for rescuing four crew from the schooner Rose.
1877A Silver Medal was awarded to Commander OS Cameron RN for rescuing four crew from the brigantine Fame.
1881A new lifeboat house was built at Downs Road.
1906The French Government awarded Coxswain Foland a Gold Medal for rescuing 10 people from the barque Cannebiere.
1936A new boathouse was built for the station’s first motor lifeboat.
1941A Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Patrick Murphy for a service to the Hoperidge. Bronze Medals were awarded to Coxswain Patrick Murphy and Mechanic Robert Agnew for rescuing 14 men from the Sandhill, which had been badly damaged by a mine off the English coast and had been carried across the Irish Sea by the weather.
1942A Gold Medal was awarded to Coxswain Patrick Murphy; Silver Medals to Second Coxswain William Murphy and Mechanic Robert Agnew; and Bronze Medals to William Leneghan, Thomas McClelland, Patrick McClelland and Patrick Rooney for rescuing 39 people from the Browning, one of seven ships of a convoy that had been blown ashore. The British Empire Medal was also awarded to Coxswain Murphy for this service.
1955The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Coxswain Patrick McClelland when the lifeboat rescued four crew from the sinking fishing boat Georgina Hutton.
1966A Royal Humane Society bravery award was presented to Mechanic Gerald Murphy for saving a boy who had fallen into Newcastle Harbour.
1975A celebration 150th Anniversary Vellum was awarded to the station.
1993A new boathouse and slipway were completed for the station’s new Mersey class lifeboat, Eleanor & Bryant Girling, which arrived at the station in September.
1995An inshore lifeboat (ILB) station was permanently established with a new D class lifeboat.
1998The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Helmsman John Lowry and Framed Letters of Thanks were awarded to Crew Members Mark Poland and Brendan Rooney for rescuing five people off Maggy’s Leap. Ian Williamson, who had entered the water to assist one of the anglers who was drowning, also received a Framed Letter of Thanks.
2005A collective Framed Letter of Thanks was presented to the crew of the ILB and shore helpers for long and complex searches carried out over two days in January 2004 for a teenage boy who had fallen into the water at Killough. The new D class lifeboat Aldergrove II arrived on station.
2006Boathouse Manager Hugh Paul was awarded the title of MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
2010John Francis Morgan (Francie), RNLI lifeboat coxswain at Newcastle lifeboat station in County Down is to receive an MBE for voluntary services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). The announcement was made in the New Years Honours List and the award recognises outstanding achievement and service in the community
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