Tributes to ‘brave man who loved what he did on the lifeboat’:
RNLI STALWART PLAYED LIFESAVING ROLE IN 1966 CARGO SHIP RESCUE
TRIBUTES have been paid to a lifeboat volunteer and hero who served with Holyhead RNLI for more than 30 years.
William Jones, a former lifeboat coxswain, died aged 91 on New Year’s Eve.
He was one of the five Nafsiporos rescue heroes from Anglesey who risked their lives in what has been described as one of the most remarkable rescues in the RNLI’s history.
Aged 39 at the time, he was the second coxswain on the Holyhead RNLI Lifeboat at the time and was later awarded a rare medal for gallantry for the part he played during the rescue of the stricken Greek cargo ship on December 2, 1966 that involved three lifeboats and lasted 24 hours.
The engine of the 1,287ton freighter had failed and was drifting towards the Anglesey coast in 100mph hurricane winds with 19 members on board.
Remembering the event on the RNLI’s 50th anniversary in an interview with our sister paper the Daily Post, Mr Jones said: “I suppose in many ways we were all reluctant to rush into the terrible sea, but refusing to launch the St Cybi never even crossed our minds.”
He also recalled how the “rise and fall between the ship and lifeboat was enormous” and how “one moment we were looking up at her and the next we were in line with her deck, a matter of around 20 feet or more.”
In the 1950’s, he joined the RNLI in Holyhead and served as coxswain between 1969 and 1987.
He received a number of other accolades during his service, including two bronze medals in 1967 and 1978.
Crews from Holyhead RNLI who paid tribute to Mr Jones, said: “We were very sad to hear that former coxswain of Holyhead lifeboat, Mr William (Will) Jones, had passed away on New Year’s Eve aged 91.”
A spokeswoman for Holyhead RNLI added: “He was a brave man who loved what he did on the life boat. He was such a lovely man. All of the younger crew members knew who he was and they all had a fondness towards him.”
Following the news of Mr Jones’ death, tributes have poured in on the Holyhead RNLI Facebook page.
His niece, Charmian Bancroft, wrote: “You will be missed by all of us Uncle Will. We are so proud of our family’s connection the RNLI and saving lives.”
A friend, David Lloyd Hughes, commented: “RIP Will my friend, I took him sailing on the Med a few years ago, sadly missed by all who new him.”
Richard Burnell added that he was a “lovely guy” who was “always up for a chat”.
A spokesman for Holyhead Maritime Museum, said: “Our condolences go to Will’s family. He was a real hero who risked his life to save others. We have lost another Holyhead great.” A former neighbour, Jenny Booth, added: “Will was such a lovely man we lived next door to him for years.”
Kevin Bennett, also wrote: “RIP Will Jones was a pleasure to know you, condolences to the Jones family.”
A longstanding supporter and fundraiser of Holyhead RNLI, John Marsh, also passed away over the Christmas period.
Writing on social media, a spokesman for the station added: “John was a longstanding supporter, fundraiser and committee member here, and we were very sad to hear the news of his passing.
“Our thoughts are with the families of both these men, both of whom contributed so much.”
William Jones, a surviving member of the Holyhead RNLI rescue of the Nafsiporos (below) has died, aged 91