Cyril and Lilian Bishop

From Historical Hastings
Cyril and Lilian Bishop
Type of VesselRNLI Lifeboat
Physical Details
Length35ft 6ins
Beam8ft 10ins
Displacement9 tons
Propulsion35hp Weyburn Ford petrol engine
Construction Details
ShipyardJ. S. White, Cowes, Isle of Wight
Date Built1931
Cyril and Lillian Bishop

The Cyril and Lilian Bishop was the RNLI lifeboat stationed at Hastings from 1931 till 1950, during which time she is known to have been launched 99 times and to have saved at least 34 lives. In addition, crewed by a naval crew[1] (although some sources state that this was with coxswain George Moon at the helm, [2]), she may have saved possibly hundreds more lives while taking part in the evacuation of British and allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940 as part of the Dunkirk Rescue, Operation Dynamo [3]
The cost of ​building​ this lifeboat was met from a £20,000 legacy left to the RNLI in the Will of Sarah Frances Constance Lilian Philpott in 1931. It was named after her and her first husband Cyril Duvall Bishop. The keel was laid down at J. S. White & Co. Shipbuilders, Cowes, Isle of Wight in 1930 and became the Hastings lifeboat the following year.[4] Whilst being utilised for the evacuation of Dunkirk, she proved her self-righting capability after capsizing.[5]

Vessel Details

Vessel Name Cyril and Lilian Bishop

Boat Name: Cyril and Lilian Bishop Boat Type: R.N.L.I. Lifeboat Boat Length: 35ft 6ins Boat Beam: 8ft 10ins Boat Draft: 2ft Boat Displacement: 9 tons Boat Engine: 35hp Weyburn Ford petrol Boat Construction: Double diagonal Boat Builder: J. S. White, Cowes, I o W Boat Year: 1931


In 1950 the lifeboat underwent a conversion to a fishing vessel, being transported to Scotland before being sold to Arra Fletcher in 1976. Mr Fletcher re-named the vessel Lindy Lou after his daughter and moved her to the Isle of Islay.[5]

She lay in Askaig harbour for a period before being discovered and rescued by the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust. She was then acquired by Simon Evans before being moved again to a shipyard in France.[5]

Dee-Day and Beverley White subsequently purchased her, and following an extensive refit, she returned to her home town on the 17th June 2017. On the 26th May 2018 a civic ceremony and parade was held to bring her back into membership of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships[5]. She is currently on display near the Market Cross off Old London Road. A number of events feature the boat's history annually organised by local man Dee-Day White


References & Notes

  1. Wrecks and rescues off the Romney Marsh coast Paperback – 1 Jan. 1985 via Historical Hastings Facebook
  2. Hastings Old Town stalwart dies | Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, accessdate: 24 August 2020
  3. Hastings Chronicle
  4. Diary of ‘Cyril and Lilian Bishop’ Hastings RNLI Lifeboat 1931-1950 – ‘The Ghost of Dunkirk’ (David Renno) ISBN: 9780956866967
  5. a b c d Association of Dunkirk Little Ships: Cyril and Lilian Bishop | Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, accessdate: 2 December 2019