Tribute paid to veteran Ramsgate RNLI volunteer Ron Cannon

Ron Cannon

Tribute has been paid to veteran Ramsgate RNLI lifeboat man Ron Cannon who died last night (January 7)

Ron, 73, had been an active RNLI volunteer for more than 53 years and was former coxswain of Ramsgate lifeboat.

Ron’s son Paul posted to the RNLI facebook page to notify people of his dad’s passing, saying: “It’s with a broken heart to inform you that my dad has passed away last night 07-01-18. He was the biggest influence in my life, my best friend and my hero. I’ll miss you so much it will hurt forever and always in my memories and my heart.”

An RNLI spokesman said: “All at Ramsgate RNLI lifeboat station are very sorry to learn of the death of Ron Cannon MBE on January 7, after a period of illness.

“He will be sorely missed both as a friend and a ready source of information about the RNLI and local maritime history.”


Ron was a crew member of Ramsgate RNLI – one of the busiest stations in Britain- for 37 years – and the coxswain for 25 of those. During his time at the helm of Ramsgate lifeboat he was awarded two Silver Gallantry medals – the RNLI’s second-highest honour.

Following family tradition, Ron joined Ramsgate lifeboat crew in 1964 and was appointed the station’s coxswain/mechanic in 1976, at the time the RNLI’s youngest cox’n.

This was shortly before the arrival at the station of the RNLI’s Waveney class lifeboat Ralph and Joy Swann, a new and advanced lifeboat design based upon a vessel proven by the US Coastguard.


He was twice awarded the RNLI’s Silver Medal for his ‘truly outstanding seamanship and tremendous courage’ for rescues. The first was during the evening of Boxing Day 1985 when he and his volunteer lifeboat crew members managed to save a French trawler and its seven-man crew when the trawler had run aground in Ramsgate’s Pegwell Bay.

The second was in November 1999, when he led his crew to rescue the three-person crew of a yacht aground on the Goodwin Sands in difficult and dangerous conditions

For each of these rescues he was also presented with The Maud Smith Award for that year’s bravest act of lifesaving by a lifeboat crew member.

Ron Cannon was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen

Ron retired as coxswain in 2001 and was succeeded by his eldest son Ian. He maintained his association with Ramsgate lifeboat station firstly as a Deputy Launching Authority (DLA) and subsequently as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) until he reached the RNLI’s required retirement age.

Last October he went to Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE awarded to him in Her Majesty the Queen’s 2017 Birthday Honours.


  1. RIP Ron my memories go back a long time when your father had a cafe at the bottom of Artillery Rd you have been a great man

  2. I first met Ron when I was stationed at Ramsgate in 1983. He was providing mooring and safety boat cover to the ferries. A great seaman,and a character. RIP Ron

  3. RIP Ron, I remember working on the Sally Star and Ron would meet the ship in his small boat and take the line
    For us to tie up. So sad my thoughts go out to his family and friends. He was a lovely person.

  4. Happy memories of Ron when we came down to start Hoverlloyd in 1966. Ron was a Champion with our short lived football team.Will miss him on daily walk round harbour.A good & honestman. Thoughts are with the family

  5. So very sad to hear of Ron’s passing. The harbour certainly won’t be the same. Had the privilege of knowing him for many years. What a loss to everyone inovlved with the Harbour. A wonderful Coxswain. A canny businessman and a true gent. God Bless you Ron – no doubt you’ll be rescuing we lesser mortals in your celestial lifeboat. God Bless you and all your family. Rest in peace. Jane

  6. Very sad to hear this news.After working on cranes, in and around the harbour since the 60s,I had worked with Ron many times… End of an Era

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