May, local lifeboat hero
If you visit the Alfred Corry Museum* at the Harbour car park, pause and wonder at the skill, strength and dedication of the men who crewed her in the harshest of conditions and the roughest weather to save lives.
Sam May was
one such local lifeboatman. Born in 1860 into a long-established Southwold
seafaring family, he spent much of his life as a fisherman. Between the
ages of 27 and 57, he crewed lifeboats , and served aboard the Alfred
Corry for the whole of its service life. He took charge as the boat’s
coxswain from 1898. In the whole of his service he never failed to get
the lifeboat launched and the lifeboat was never afloat without him.
There were many heroic stories: on 22nd December 1911, the Corry went to the assistance of a ship called the Beryl and, after many difficulties and nearly twenty-four hours at sea in gale conditions, got her safely to port in Faversham, Kent, nearly 70 miles from home.
William Fletcher Thomas, Drawing of Sam May,1923 - inscribed "in affectionate memory of Good Old Sam".
May died in 1923 having been a Town Councillor and benefactor of St Edmund’s Church, where a model of the Alfred Corry hangs above his seat.
*The Alfred Corry has its own website which you can visit here. You may wish to expand this window to view it comfortably.