A photo taken in 1959 of the 4 in the dinghy awaiting rescue

Allen and Doreen Saunders visited Dungeness lifeboat station on Friday 26 August on their wedding anniversary to commemorate the RNLI rescuing them 63 years ago.

The lifeboat at the time was the Mabel E Holland and was coxswained by George Tart, a member of a local fishing family. Allen and Doreen, who were yet to be married at the time of the rescue, were swept out to sea in a dinghy along with two friends.

The four were very concerned for their fate whilst they were swept out to sea and the couple advised that one of them waved a red shirt at passing planes. Later, once they were rescued, Coxswain George Tart advised that that is how the RNLI were notified that they were in need of rescue.

A clipping taken from The Express newspaper in 1959

Allen and Doreen reflected on their memories of being taken back to the Coxswain’s house to await medical attention and stayed overnight until they travelled back home the next day.

Whilst at station, being guided by volunteer crew Natalie Adams, the couple were able to find their rescue information on the boards showing a ‘rubber dinghy’ rescue on 12th July 1959 – people rescued – 4.

The station were also lucky enough to be sent a photo that was taken by a Dungeness RNLI crew member in 1959 of the 4 people on the dinghy just before they boarded the lifeboat.

Allen and Doreen take a look at today’s lifeboat, a Shannon class Photo RNLI

Natalie Adams, volunteer crew at Dungeness RNLI says: ‘It was fantastic to have Allen and Doreen pop by the station today and share their story. Our station has an incredible history and to be able to speak to a couple whose lives were saved by our predecessors 60 + years ago has been very awe inspiring. Allen and Doreen would be welcome back any time.’

By Ed

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