They did the same at Dunkirk...
But Britain has apparently forgotten.
From the Daily Mail
When Andy Hibbs isn’t hauling lobster pots aboard his fishing boat Matauri Bay, he devotes himself to helping those who, as the hymn goes, find themselves in peril on the sea.
The son of a lifeboatman, he joined the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) at the age of 21 and has spent his adult life serving at its station in his hometown St Helier, the capital of Jersey.
For doing this skilled, time-consuming, and often dangerous job, the 45-year-old father of one hasn’t earned a penny (like almost all RNLI crew members, he’s an unpaid volunteer). But it offers other
The entire crew of an RNLI station in Jersey has quit after coxswain Andy Hibbs, 50, left. Friends claim he was 'bullied into resignation' after he allegedly launched a lifeboat without permission from the RNLI
His crew have saved countless lives, becoming pillars of their seafaring community.
One morning in 1995, to cite perhaps their greatest triumph, Hibbs was part of a team which helped a catamaran carrying 300 passengers that had hit rocks off the coast of Jersey, and was sinking.
With disregard for their safety, they got alongside the vessel, which was listing dangerously, and plucked off men, women and children.
‘It was a real eye-opener,’ he recalls. ‘It brought home how serious the job was, and the responsibility in our hands.’
More recently, Hibbs was coxswain (the effective captain of a lifeboat) when his 25-strong crew featured in an ITV News item about the ‘brilliant’ and ‘capable’ RNLI teams in the Channel Islands.
Yet this summer, one aspect of their job will be different.
When they motor out of St Helier harbour to save lives, they won’t fly the RNLI flag. They are no longer associated with the famous charity.
It follows an extraordinarily bitter row, initially centring on an alleged breach of a health and safety procedure, which has placed the island’s lifeboatmen in conflict with the wealthy maritime charity’s headquarters in Poole.
The dispute — which led to allegations of bullying, intimidation and mendacity on both sides — rumbled on for more than a year. It has seen public demonstrations and rumours of corruption and cover-ups.
Matters culminated before Christmas with the entire St Helier lifeboat crew resigning.
Hibbs and his team have relaunched as an independent operation, the Jersey Lifeboat Association, and will soon take delivery of their first vessel.
‘I’m sad that it has come to this, but the RNLI caused this mess,’ Hibbs says. ‘They have been unpleasant and confrontational, and treated us volunteers with contempt.’