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Bravery medals found 100 years on

14 February 08 16:03 GMT

A lifeboat crew say they have been overwhelmed by the response to an appeal to locate bravery medals awarded a century ago.

The RNLI at Holyhead have traced six of 11 gallantry medals given to volunteers who rescued the nine crew from a steamer off Anglesey in 1908.

Holyhead's steam lifeboat, the Duke of Northumberland, battled hurricane force winds to reach the SS Harold.

People from across the UK with links to the rescue have contacted the RNLI.

Among the medals found is the gold medal awarded to Holyhead RNLI coxswain William Owen by the Prince of Wales, for his courage and skill.

It took two hours for the Holyhead crew to reach the Liverpool-based steamer, anchored off rocks in treacherous seas.

In total, one gold and 10 silver gallantry medals were awarded following the rescue.

The charity will mark the centenary on 22 February with relatives from around the country returning the memorabilia to Holyhead.

'Famous rescues'

RNLI Holyhead coxswain Brian Thomson said: "The response to the appeal has been fantastic, having the medals on station will make this anniversary even more special and will make today's volunteer RNLI crew incredibly proud.

"The gold medal was with William Owen's great-great grandson in London, who also has the silver medal awarded to William Owen (Junior) and a silver medal awarded to the coxswain from the Royal Humane Society.

"It will be a real honour to welcome the family to Holyhead to mark the anniversary of one of the most famous rescues in Welsh RNLI history."

A silver medal given to Samuel Jones, which is with relatives in London, and James Lee's medal which is now in Leeds will be brought back to Holyhead for the anniversary.

A further medal, belonging to Richard Jones has remained in the Holyhead area and will be displayed at the lifeboat station.

One of the commemorative events will see the current lifeboat will return to the location of the rescue.

They will say a prayer for all maritime users at the spot where the nine crew were saved. Artist Tim Thompson had painted an image of the Duke of Northumberland during the rescue and 50 copies will be sold to raise funds for the charity.

There will also be a maritime talk by former RNLI volunteer and model maker Les Jones at Holyhead's Ucheldre centre.

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