Website of the Friends of the Jersey Maritime Museum

Association of Jersey Charities Number: 167

Maritime Jersey

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ex-RNLB Howard D.

was a Liverpool class lifeboat (RNLI Fleet Number ON 797) built by Saunders Roe where her yard Number was S64.  Her Official Number on the British Registry in London is ON 165425.  She was originally fitted with a 35hp Weyburn AE6 petrol engine which could be used with or instead of her three sails to drive her at a top speed of 7¼ knots. She had a range of 100 miles at top speed. Manned by a crew of seven, she could carry up to 30 survivors

  • LOA: 35ft 6ins (10.82m)

  • Beam: 10ft 3ins  (3.12m)

  • Draft: 2ft 3ins  (0.69m)

  • Displacement: 6 tons 1cwt


The Howard D. was the first motorised lifeboat to be stationed at St Helier. It was purchased by the yachtsman and philanthropist TB Davis at a cost of £3,623 in memory of the son he lost in the First World War, she arrived at the St Helier station in August, 1937.


She remained on service in Jersey during the Occupation, despite RNLI plans to move her to the UK which were over-ruled by the Bailiff just before the Germans landed.


She was replaced by the Elizabeth Rippon in 1948. The Howard D. served for some years as a relief lifeboat before being sold out of the service. Renamed the Spero II she was used as a fishing boat on the coast of Norfolk.  It would have given Davis much pleasure to know that in her time as a RNLI lifeboat the Howard D. was launched on 70 occasions and saved 66 lives.   While on station in St Helier (1937-48) she was launched on 23 occasions and saved 46 lives, in Flamborough (1948-53) she was launched 25 times and saved 16 lives and while in Arbroath (1953-56) she was launched nine times and saved one life.  While in the reserve fleet she was launched on 13 occasions and saved three lives.


In 1995 the Jersey Heritage Trust bought the Spero II with the view of restoring her to her original appearance.  Work on her was difficult because of her size but in late 2006 we were able to get her into a warehouse at la Collette and get a lot of work done on her.  She was finally rededicated in May 2008 at a ceremony attended by members of the Davis family.  Some of whom had flown up from South Africa.


In 2009 Howard D was entered on the National Small Boats Register as NSBR 1563 but was later transferred onto the National Register of Historic Vessels as NRHV 2255.



There is an associated archive with the Jersey Archive and additional information can be found in The history of Jersey's lifeboats by Ian Le Moignard (pgs 19-26).

howard d 40 Howard D April 22 Howard D 1937 1937 Howard D crew RNLI RNLI header_box National Historic ships logo