History of the James & Mary Walker
Considerable deliberation took place before the James & Mary Walker lifeboat was deemed to be a worthy successor to Royal Stuart. A public enquiry was held in Cellardyke Town Hall on 21st March, 1903, at which the whole matter of boat suitability and crew confidence therein was given a thorough airing.
She arrived in Anstruther on 30 July 1904 on a horse drawn carriage, having travelled by rail from London. The current Lifeboat Station was constructed for the James & Mary Walker from where she was first launched at a naming ceremony on 10 September 1904.
The Anstruther Crew saved 46 lives between 1904 and 1933 and they became known as the “wooden boat with the iron men”
The first recorded service during which lives were saved by the ‘James and Mary Walker’ was that to the Danish vessel “Ansgar” on the 14th February, 1910. This vessel, a steamer of some 1300 tons gross, was bound, light, from London to Methil. Unfortunately her course across the Firth of forth was too far east, and the voyage ended not in Methil harbour but rather abruptly on the rocky shore between St. Monans and Elie…..the crew were alerted at 2345hrs and after a dramatic exit from the harbour Coxswain Sutherland got the lifeboat to the distress position about 0300hrs and relieved the ‘Ansgar’ of her 18 crew and a dog after dropping down on the weather side of the steamer. Anstruther harbour was regained at 0400hrs the same morning!