Plaque unveiled in memory of heroic Gorleston lifeboatman William Fleming
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
The second most decorated Norfolk lifeboatman has been honoured with the unveiling of a blue plaque in his memory.
More than 60 people, including many with family connections, gathered outside the former home of Coxswain William Fleming in Pavilion Road, Gorleston to witness the unveiling by the current Coxswain of the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston RNLI lifeboat, Paddy Lee.
The plaque was provided by Gorleston on Sea Heritage Group.
Mr Lee said: 'What a fantastic turnout for a great man, 34 years as a lifeboatman. I am proud and honoured to follow in his footsteps.'
William Fleming was presented with what was later to become the George Cross for bravery in 1923 for one of the greatest rescues in the history of the service.
You may also want to watch:
In a howling gale and 40ft high waves he took the Gorleston lifeboat no fewer than four times out to the vessel Hopelyn which was stuck hard and fast on Scroby Sands, her crew of 24 and the ship's pet cat in peril as they huddled from the raging seas that persistently swept over them.
After several rescue attempts, the lifeboatmen were exhausted and their boat damaged. Undaunted, Fleming and some of his colleagues volunteered to join the Lowestoft motor powered lifeboat as she launched to continue the rescue.
- 1 Tax inspectors probe 240 furlough fraud cases in Norfolk and Suffolk
- 2 Norfolk campsite voted third best in UK
- 3 Driver in hospital after BMW car ends up in ditch
- 4 'Very small' number of Indian Covid variant cases in Norfolk
- 5 Lorry driver admits causing deaths of two people in A47 crash
- 6 Social distancing stops fish and chip shop's restaurant opening on May 17
- 7 Norfolk lorry drivers clocked for nearly 200 traffic offences in three days
- 8 9 pubs and restaurants which have had lockdown makeovers
- 9 Indian variant could hamper roadmap, Norfolk health expert says
- 10 Hospital opens new £625,000 cancer wellbeing and support centre
The mission was a success with everybody plucked to safety – even the cat and 18 Gorleston and Lowestoft lifeboatmen were decorated for their bravery by the RNLI.
A seaman and fisherman, Fleming had been in his late 50s when he became coxswain in 1922, a post he held until 1934. Over his 49 years of service he helped rescue 1,188 people.
He lived to the age of 89, dying in 1954, and is buried in the Gorleston old cemetery.
A plaque to his memory was erected in the Gorleston Lifeboat Shed after his death in 1954.
Henry Blogg of Cromer was the county's most decorated lifeboatman.