Exmouth RNLI mourns loss of ‘dedicated lifeboatman’
Exmouth RNLI mourns the loss of retired lifeboat mechanic, Mr Bernard Bradford who had worked for the lifesaving charity for 38 years.
Joining his father, Trinity House Chief Pilot, Percy Bradford, Bernard enrolled for the crew of Exmouth’s first motor lifeboat Catherine Harriet Eaton in 1946. It is considered a unique achievement within the RNLI for one man to have worked alongside each of the full-time lifeboat mechanics employed at a station. Bernard did just that – before taking up the role of mechanic himself in 1970.
His 38 years service included 4 years as bowman, 14 years as assistant mechanic and 13 years as full-time mechanic on the Solent class City of Birmingham in 1970. Upon his retirement from the RNLI in 1983, Tim Mock was appointed to the full-time position.
Tim commented; “As a young lad, long before I joined the lifeboat crew, I had the privilege of often accompanying Bernard aboard the lifeboat, and helping him carry out the maintenance, including polishing the numerous copper and brass pipes. I only had to ask, and he would show me how to tie knots, coil ropes and how all the equipment aboard worked.
“During this time Bernard was the Trinity House Buoy keeper and had a motor launch that he used in his duties. He would allow me to helm the boat, whilst passing on his extensive maritime expertise, which over the years I have found invaluable.
“He was a dedicated lifeboatman, and a good teacher, and I am pleased that Bernard was able to visit our new station, go aboard the lifeboat and enjoy an afternoon of nostalgia reminiscing.”