Moelfre lifeboat station – Richard Evans
Near the Wales Coast Path at Moelfre is a statue of a stocky man in oilskins and a sou-wester with his hands firmly grasping a ship’s wheel – this is a tribute to perhaps one of the most remarkable of Wales’ many brave lifeboatmen, Richard Evans of Moelfre.
Since the early nineteenth century, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has been intimately concerned with the safety and rescue of those in difficulty off our coasts.
The tenacity and bravery of the lifeboat crews is legendary, and those operating from the Welsh lifeboat stations have proved themselves more than equal to their difficult task upon scores of occasions since the first Welsh station was established at Fishguard in 1822.
Anglesey has an honourable place in this history. The ‘Anglesey Association for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck’ was established by Frances Williams and her husband the Rev. James Williams, vicar of Llanfairyngnghornwy, after she had witnessed the tragic loss of the Parkgate - Howth sailing packet Alert near the Skerries in 1823. They established a station at Cemlyn in 1828 and the Rev. Williams was a regular volunteer crew member.
In the best traditions of his native village, Richard Evans of Moelfre went straight from school to sea on a coaster aged sixteen in 1921 but he later returned home where he joined the local lifeboat crew. Eventually appointed coxswain in 1954, he is remembered for his exceptionally bold rescues of the crews of two ships driven ashore on the Anglesey coast – the Cardiff coaster Hindlea in 1959 and the Greek motor vessel Nafsiporos in 1966.
On both occasions he brought his lifeboat alongside the stricken vessels, urging crew members to jump aboard and returning repeatedly until he had rescued them all. For each of these rescues he was awarded the RNLI’s gold medal.
After retirement in 1967 he became a noted ambassador for the service; with typical modesty, he used to claim that the dangers of the sea were as nothing compared with the stresses of public speaking!
The seas near Moelfre can still be stormy, but a walk along the Wales Coast Path along this area of Anglesey is the perfect way to see a typically traditional little fishing village up close. This area in north-east Anglesey is known for its excellent beaches and wildlife, and you can often see grey seals and their pups dotted around the coastline.
To plan a trip and enjoy a walk on the Wales Coast Path in this area visit our Isle of Anglesey page.