The Ann Letitia Russell Rescue Group


Saving Fleetwoods Historic Lifeboat

Registered Charity No:1166752


On 16 May 1948 at 19:55 Hoylake Coastguard requested that the Fleetwood Lifeboat was required to launch to search for a missing yacht, At 20:07 The RNLB Ann Letitia Russell was launched in to a force 4 easterly wind with Coxswain James Leadbetter, Bowman Richard Wright, Motor Mechanic Sydney Hill, & crew members William Houston, Albert Wright, Jeffrey Wright and H Salthouse on board, after searching for the missing yacht in a search area 3 miles north of Wyre Lighthouse at 21:55 a recall rocket was fired from the Wyre Lighthouse to recall to the Lifeboat house after it was reported that the yacht was safe.


When the Lighthouse keepers fired the recall rocket sparks from the rocket ignited a small fire on the veranda of lighthouse and soon spreading up the side of the wooden lighthouse.

As the Lifeboat was returning to Fleetwood the crew of the Lifeboat spotted the fire onboard The Wyre Lighthouse, Coxswain James Leadbetter proceeded at full speed towards the Lighthouse, on the Lifeboats arrival at the Lighthouse the crew found the fire well alight, 3 of the Lifeboat crew climbed aboard the Lighthouse to help the 3 Lighthouse Keepers put out the fire but soon after a loud explosion was heard when the fire reached the main 10 gallon paraffin tank, the fire had taken hold beyond the capabilities of the keepers and Lifeboat Crews efforts to get the fire under control, The 3 Keepers and the 3 Lifeboat Crew abandoned the burning Lighthouse leaving it to burn, The Lifeboat crew took the 3 Keepers Thomas Hornby, Joseph Cavender & George Consadine onboard the RNLB Ann Letitia Russell and took the them ashore arriving back at the boat house at 23.30.

Fireman from Fleetwood dock with the Fleetwood Harbour Master Capt C Wood went out to the Wyre Lighthouse on board the Tug Bispham with a trailer pump and chemical extinguishers but upon there arrival at the burning Lighthouse the tide was to low to get alongside and extinguish the fire, The wooden Lighthouse building was destroyed and then replaced with an automated electric light placed on the reaming frame work shortly after.


For a few days after the fire the local pleasure boats were packed with sightseers going to see the destroyed Lighthouse.


Wyre Light after fire

Wyre Lighthouse Before The Fire

Wyre Lighthouse a few days after the fire on 16 May 1948

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Registered Charitiy 1166752

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