Children's - Completed 2020

This story is based on real events and the true courage, determination and extraordinary spirit of ordinary people. January 1899 saw the worst storm at sea in living memory and the most astonishing lifeboat rescue attempt of the century. The coxswain of the Louisa lifeboat and his daughter must stru

    • Year of production
    • 2020
    • Genres
    • Children's, Historical, Animation
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Director(s)
    • Ken BLAKEY
    • Writer(s)
    • Adrian J TYSON
    • Synopsis
    • The animated film shows a simplified, fictionalised, story, concentrating upon the central characters. The true history is, however, just as interesting, and thoroughly epic in nature.

      In 1899 a sailing ship, the Forrest Hall, was in danger off the northern coast of Exmoor, England. It had left Bristol on the 12th of January on a journey to Liverpool where it was to be refitted.

      There was only a skeleton crew including apprentices on board. A tug boat, the Jane Joliffe, was towing the ship as the worst storm of the year was beginning to batter the coast. The line from the tug snapped, causing the two vessels to collide.

      The rudder of the Forrest hall was damaged and the ship could no longer control its course. The tug had also been damaged in the collision and returned to port in Wales.

      The Forrest Hall dropped its anchors but was still swept east along the Exmoor coast towards Porlock Bay. Distress flares were fired, but the nearest lifeboat at Watchet was unable to launch due to the storm. A telegram was sent asking for the Lynmouth lifeboat to launch. It proved impossible to launch at Lynmouth too, but the telegraph wires failed preventing the coxswain, Jack Crocombe, from reporting this. The Lynmouth boat had no choice but to launch.

      Jack knew Porlock Bay was more sheltered and took the decision to take the Louisa over the 13 miles of exposed moor and try once more to launch. This journey required 18 horses and one hundred volunteers from Lynmouth and Lynton to help the 14 members of the crew of the lifeboat. At about 7pm they began to haul the ten ton boat up the 1,400 foot high, one in four slope to Countisbury. This part of the journey, covering about a mile and a half, took almost five hours.

      Once in Porlock the road was blocked by a cottage which protruded into the road. A wall and a corner of the cottage had to be demolished to allow the Louisa through. The road from Porlock to Porlock Weir, where Jack Crocombe intended to launch, had been washed away by the storm, so the boat had to be taken via a longer, inland route. A fallen tree had to be cleared from the road with axes. Once at the beach the Louisa was launched at about 6am.

      The crew were away from their families for forty hours during the journey and rescue. The rescue itself was fairly straightforward, a task the crew were used to performing. The journey across Exmoor, though, was an epic adventure.