R.N.L.B. Kenneth James Pierpoint is Fleetwoods all-weather Shannon class lifeboat.
Funded by a generous bequest from Kathleen Pierpoint, who’s brother, Kenneth, died in a accident in 1942,
whilst training with 605 Squadron of the RAF.
Who was Kenneth James Pierpoint;
Born in Altrincham in 1922, Ken attended local schools before going on to study at Cambridge University. He gave up his degree course to join the Royal Air Force through the Volunteer Reserves. His aptitude for flying and commitment to the RAF, quickly earned him the rank of Pilot Officer and a posting to 605 Squadron, based at RAF Ford, in Sussex, in August 1942. But his career was short lived as he was tragically killed, a few days after arriving at Ford, in a flying accident on the 28 August, 1942, aged just 20.
It was reported that whilst undergoing night flight practice in a Boston aircraft, Pilot Officer Pierpoint was dazzled by searchlights and crashed between Ford and Bognor Regis.
The RNLI’s benefactor Kathleen and the sister of Ken Pierpoint, was 15 at the time and lived with this tragic memory for a further 70 years. The RNLI and Fleetwood Lifeboat Station are very grateful to Kathleen that she chose to honour her brother and ensure his memory would live on for many years.
It is fitting that the motto of 605 RAF Reserve Squadron was ‘’NUNQUAM DORMIO’’, translated as ‘I never sleep’. It perfectly fits the lifeboat that will be named after him.
Fleetwood RNLI volunteers welcomed a new era of lifesaving with the eagerly-anticipated arrival of their Shannon class all-weather lifeboat on Sunday 26 June 2016.
The £2.2M state-of-the-art lifeboat, named Kenneth James Pierpoint, arrived by sea at 1.14pm – or 13.14hr, which is the operational number of the new lifeboat. This followed a five day journey from the lifeboat charity’s headquarters in Poole, Dorset, which gave the Fleetwood RNLI crew on board time to familiarise themselves with the vessel.
Kenneth James Pierpoint
R.N.L.B. Kenneth James Pierpoint during her construction at the All-Weather Lifeboat Center at Poole
Fleetwoods All-Wether Lifeboat
Offical Number :- 1321
Operational Number:- 13 - 14
MMSI Number:- 235109051
Name:- Kenneth James Pierpoint
Builder:- All-Weather Lifeboat Center Poole
ALC Yard Number:- 002
Funded:- Bequest from Kathleen Pierpoint
Range:- 250 nautical miles
Fuel Capacity:- 2,740 litres
Engines:- 2x 13-litre 650hp Scania D13 engines, with twin Hamilton HJ364 waterjets.
Hull Construction:- Fiber-reinforced plastic
Survivor Capacity:- Self-righting 23
Non Self-righting 79
Date of Service:- July 2016 - to date
The naming ceremony and service of dedication of the Fleetwood lifeboat R.N.L.B. Kenneth James Pierpoint took place on 23rd July 2016.
Wing Commander Paul Bell, from 605 Squadron, was present to hand the lifeboat over to the RNLI, on behalf of the donors. Kenneth James Pierpoint was a Flight Officer with 605 Squadron when he crashed and was tragically killed in 1942. His sister, Kathleen, left a substantial legacy to the RNLI with a wish that a lifeboat be named after him. Following a service, led by Bishop of Lancaster, Right Reverend Geoffrey Pearson, Wing Commander Bell officially named the lifeboat and it was, as tradition has it, christened with champagne.
Charles Hunter-Pease OBE, Chairman of RNLI was hardly into his welcome speech, before the pagers went off and the inshore crew rushed off to a call out. A fitting reminder of the commitment the volunteer lifeboat crew give to the RNLI.
The large crowd, joined by High Sheriff of Lancashire, John Barnett OBE DL and Mayor of Wyre, Terry Rogers, were entertained by the Sea Cadets Old Boys Band.
Captain David Eccles, Lifeboat Operations Manager for RNLI Fleetwood said, ‘This has been a fantastic weekend for Fleetwood lifeboat. The amount of support we receive from the public never fails to impress us. We are so grateful for the legacies, donations and good will we receive. Without them, our work would be impossible. We can’t thank them enough.