Legendary lifeboatman Henry Blogg and 1917 Fernebo rescue to be celebrated in Cromer exhibition

The heroism of RNLI crew and coastal communities during the First World War will be remembered at a free family exhibition.

Hope In The Great War will feature the 1917 Fernebo rescue off Cromer which was led by decorated coxswain Henry Blogg from the town.

The touring exhibition will feature five other rescues from across Britain and will be at the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum in Cromer between February 4-28.

Becky Fletcher, heritage project co-ordinator for the RNLI, said: 'With the centenary of the war coming up it was important to bring these stories to a greater crowd and show while people were going out to fight others were saving lives through the RNLI.

'We wanted to tell a number of different stories that connected to the war and show the breadth of coastline the RNLI covers. The coastal communities pulled together during the war to save lives.'

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Other rescues in the £78,200 interactive exhibition come from Whitby in 1914; Fraserburgh in Scotland during 1915; Port Eynon in Wales during 1916; Falmouth in 1916; and Baltimore in Ireland during 1916.

Miss Fletcher added: 'The Fernebo rescue was really important. It was a really long rescue and was the first time bronze medals for gallantry were given out by the RNLI. To have a Cromer story that is so dramatic, inspiring and courageous is brilliant. The stories highlight every life counts and are quite touching.'

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Between January 9-10, 1917, Mr Blogg and his Cromer lifeboat crew rescued all 11 men from the Swedish steamship Fernebo which struck a mine during a gale and was blown in half. The ship's engineer died.

As well as the lifeboat crew, private Stewart Holmes from the Seaforth Highlanders who was stationed near Cromer helped with the rescue.

Despite only being 5ft 3ins tall he waded out to sea to help get the Fernebo crew out of the water after the rescue boat capsized.

Before the Fernebo rescue, the Cromer lifeboat crew rescued 16 people from the Greek steamer Pyrin.

Mr Blogg, who died in 1954, won his first of three RNLI gold medals for gallantry during the Fernebo rescue.

The exhibition will be open between 10am-4pm on Tuesdays to Sundays. For more information visit http://rnli.org/ and search Hope in the Great War.

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