The Welly Trail Henry ‘Rent’ HOCKINGS

Henry ‘Rent’ HOCKINGS

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 

Sea Shore Ice Creamery

Queens Drive, Exmouth EX82AY




Henry ‘Rent’ Hockings 

Coxswain 1939 – 43

Coxswain on Lifeboat:

Catherine Harriet Eaton



Owner of ‘Harriet II’ a 21 foot yawl, with auxiliary motor, net, line and trawl, based at Exmouth

With the outbreak of the Second World War, many RNLI volunteers were on War Service.  The Exmouth crew often consisted of Coastgaurd, Royal Naval ratings on leave, and local fishermen.  

At this time, there were more vessels than normal moving along the South Devon Coast, including warships.  In many instances, these assisted other vessels in distress, which  caused some confusion and many ‘false alarms’ for the Lifeboat.

There are accounts of flares being sighted at Orcombe Point, the red cliffs you will see as you walk towards Exmouth RNLI Station.

Between 1939 and 1945, RNLI Lifeboat crews saved 6,376 lives, and not only went to the aid of ships in distress, but also:

  • towed vessels loaded with explosives and top secret information 
  • navigated minefields
  • rescued downed aircrew
  • ferried food to remote villages
  • brought doctors to the injured and priests to the dying.

Being wartime, reporting restrictions were in place, so there’s very little information  available.  However, we know that on 11th August 1940, the crew were alerted by the Coastguard and launched to search for an aircraft which had entered the water between  Exmouth and Teignmouth

Lifeboat crews are always brave at sea, but in Exmouth, were also recognised for their bravery on land.  

On the morning of 12th February 1942, there were unexploded bombs where you are walking, on the Esplanade.  Two bombs were very close to the Lifeboat  Station.  The crew were summoned to move the Lifeboat to safety. 

However, the Chief Constable would not allow the boat to be pulled across the road to launch as normal, because the launchers and the carriage would be so close to the bombs, he feared vibrations might cause an explosion.

The Military were called to help, and the Lifeboat was taken to safety in the river Exe.  

As the bombs were so close to the boathouse the crew showed great courage in staying in the boat whilst about to be launched.”

Henry’s RNLI heritage has continued in the family, his Great, Great Granddaughter Louise  organises fund raising events in aid of Exmouth RNLI and is the wife of current Coxswain Steve Hockings-Thompson.


Write the letter G from HOCKINGS in space 7 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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