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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Legendary lifeboatman dies
Henry
Henry "Shrimp" Davies appeared on This Is Your Life
One of East Anglia's best-known lifeboatmen has died.

Henry "Shrimp" Davies, coxswain of the Cromer lifeboat for almost 30 years, has died at his home. He was 88.

His role as a lifeboat crewman saving about 500 lives from 1931 to 1976 earned him a ribbon of medals and certificates - and an appearance on television's This is Your Life.

His career saw some of the most daring and dramatic rescues in lifeboat history.

Skilled seamanship

Mr Davies, who was born into a family entrenched in Cromer's fishing industry and the lifeboat, took over as coxswain from his uncle, Henry Blogg, in 1947.

For 29 years his skilled seamanship - learned through 20 years as crewman on the resort's crab boats - helped to maintain the renown of the Cromer crew.

Lifeboat stations in Norfolk lowered their flags to half mast to mark his death.

He was the youngest member of the crew in 1933 to help with a dramatic rescue close inshore of a wrecked sailing barge which made the front pages of national newspapers.

In his first major mission as coxswain in July 1948, Shrimp launched the Henry Blogg lifeboat - named after his uncle - into storms to help a leaking French collier off Sheringham.

They hauled nearly a dozen crewmen to safety with a breeches buoy. Another four were pulled from the water when the collier capsized.

Mr Davies was awarded the Maritime Medal, France's highest award for lifesaving at sea.

Highest traditions

In 1970, he was awarded the British Empire Medal for "maintaining the highest traditions of the lifeboat service".

He stepped down in 1976 but continued to run the family deckchair business on Cromer's west beach where he was a familiar and talkative figure.

It was also the year he was surprised by Eamon Andrews with his big red book for the This is Your Life show.

The funeral will be held at noon on 8 July at Cromer Parish Church.


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21 Jun 02 | England
02 May 02 | England
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