The Welly Trail Thomas HORN

Thomas HORN

Welcome to the Exmouth RNLI Yellow Welly Trail.

If you have a leaflet, enjoy the trail.

If not, click on

 where you will find all the information you need to enable you to join in!

Sponsored by: 

Volunteer Watchkeepers of Exmouth NCI

The Lookout, 70 Queens Drive, Exmouth EX82AY 

  • We look out to the sea, eyes along the coast, watching for people in difficulty. 365 days a year, during day light hours.
  • We monitor the emergency radio channels.
  • We report any concerns to the coastguard for action.
  • Visitors to the lookout are always welcome.
  • We also offer talks about us and coastal safety, to interested parties, organisations or schools




Located at Harbour View Cafe

Queen’s Dr, Exmouth EX8 2AY







Thomas Moore Horn  

Coxswain 1928-38

Coxswain of two Lifeboats:

Joseph Somes 2

Catherine Harriet Eaton

Crewman on Joseph Somes from 1899

Shore signalman from 1908 – 1919

2nd Coxswain 1920 – 28  

Retired after 40 years RNLI Service on 28th December 1938 aged 67 (even though RNLI regulation age was 60)



A Builder from Exmouth

The last launch of the ‘Joseph Somes 2’ was on 2nd October 1930.  Coastguards telephoned to raise the alarm that the ‘Ben Johnson’ carrying a cargo of Benzyl Oil was stranded on Pole Sands with waves breaking over the ship.

Coxswain Horn launched the lifeboat four times over a period of 3 days, but the crew refused to leave the ship, and it remained grounded until a change in the weather allowed it to be re floated by tugs.   

In 1932, the RNLI carried out a review, reorganising the service, and closing the station in Lyme Regis.  As the Exmouth Lifeboat was now responsible for a larger area, it was announced that we would be given a new lifeboat …. with a motor! 

If capsized, it could self-right in 4 seconds. 

Having a motor, this new lifeboat only needed a crew of 7, so it could carry 30 survivors.  It also meant that Exmouth RNLI had its first Mechanic, William A Mann. 

This was a big event for Exmouth.  The Inaugural Ceremony of the ‘Catherine Harriet Eaton’ was held on Tuesday 29th August 1933 on the beach in front of this NCI Lookout and was attended by around 8,000 people.  The official programme stated the RNLI had recorded:

63,363 Lives rescued from shipwreck round the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland.  

11 Lives rescued every week for 109 years’

In very heavy seas on 15th November 1936, Coxswain Horn went to the aid of a trawler ‘Crystal’ whose trawl net had tangled in the propeller off West Bay.  Huge seas were washing over the vessel making it unsafe for the crew to leave, so the lifeboat stood by all night, until it was safe to tow her to Lyme Regis in the morning. 

On it’s return, the lifeboat’s engine failed, and the crew found themselves being rescued by a passing trawler, returning home 25 hours after launch, ‘all their clothes white with salt’.

On 15th January, 1938, Coxswain Horn won the Institution’s thanks inscribed on vellum for his courage and determination.  He retired on 28th December 1938, when a large crowd gathered to watch his last training launch.  His crew presented him with a case of pipes.

Write the letter N from HORN in space 6 of your answer box.  


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We have made every effort to ensure all the information about the Coxswains is accurate. However, we are always happy to be corrected or updated and, if you can add to our knowledge base, please email us at

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