Legendary lifeboatman Henry Blogg to be celebrated around Britain

An impression of the Fernebo disaster by artist Mick Bensley.

The heroism of legendary lifeboatman Henry Blogg will be told across the country in an exhibition celebrating gallant RNLI rescues during the first world war.

Henry Blogg.

It will start in the coxswain's home town, Cromer, around March next year at the Henry Blogg Museum.

The exhibition, which will involve communities from around the country, has been funded by a £78,200 grant from the Arts Council.

It was the idea of organisers at the Cromer attraction and will travel around museums and venues across Britain revealing stories of coastal rescues from around the country during the Great War.

Jacqui Palmer, Henry Blogg Museum manager, said: 'The idea was to join in with the centenary of the Great War. It was a good opportunity for us as a museum to think a bit wider.


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'We have had specialised exhibitions about Henry Blogg in the past but we thought we could pull together stories from around the time of the Great War from the coast.

'The first world war was a time of great horror and our stories gave that little bit of hope to people.'

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As well as using archive material and objects from the country's six different RNLI museums, organisers want to hear tales from communities about lifeboat rescues during the first world war period.

'We are hoping it is going to be a collaboration between the RNLI and local people,' Mrs Palmer added.

She said she wanted the display to be as interactive as possible and welcomed ideas in which the rescues could be recalled.

Mrs Palmer added: 'It could be an animation, a story quilt, a drama or a podcast.'

One of the main features of the exhibition will be the rescue which earned Mr Blogg, who died in 1954, his first of three RNLI gold medals for gallantry.

On January 9, 1917 Mr Blogg and his Cromer lifeboat crew rescued all 11 men from the Swedish steamship Fernebo.

Fernebo had struck a mine during a gale and was blown in half.

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 and on to Cromer East Beach after the rescue boat capsized.

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

Mrs Palmer said: 'Henry Blogg is still the most decorated crewman ever and that is something that has to be remembered. He is an example for the next generation.'

If you have any rescue stories or memorabilia, ring the museum on 01263 511294 or email Blogg_Museum@RNLI.org.uk.

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