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“Lassie was here ...” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Pilot Boat Inn

Pilot Boat Inn
Ranked #1 of 3 Nightlife in Lyme Regis
Attraction details
Roland, Iowa
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Lassie was here ...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 January 2013

A Little-Known Story Behind Lassie

Less than ten years ago, British author Nigel Clarke was at work on a book about shipwrecks, when he came upon a story about an incident that occurred in Dorset during World War I. Clarke believes that the inspiration for Knight’s story came from the real-life collie, named Lassie, who saved the life of a British seaman in the First World War.

On New Year’s Day in 1915 the Royal Navy battleship Formidable was torpedoed by a German submarine off Start Point in South Devon, with the loss of more than 500 men. In a storm that followed the accident, a life raft containing bodies was blown along the coast to Lyme Regis. In helping to deal with the crisis, the local pub in Lyme Regis, called the Pilot Boat, offered its cellar as a mortuary.

When the bodies had been laid out on the stone floor, Lassie, a crossbred collie owned by the pub owner, found her way down amongst the bodies, and she began to lick the face of one of the victims, Able Seaman John Cowan. She stayed beside him for more than half an hour, nuzzling him and keeping him warm with her fur.

To everyone’s astonishment, Cowan eventually stirred. He was taken to hospital and went on to make a full recovery. He visited Lassie again when he returned to thank all who saved his life.

The sinking of the ship was a severe blow to Britain during these early years of the war. When the officers heard the story of Lassie and what she did to rescue Cowan, they told it again and again to any reporter who would listen as it was inspirational and heart-warming.

Because the story was widely reported, Clarke feels that the odds are that Eric Knight read the story during the war years, or came upon the story later on. While Knight had moved from Yorkshire to the United States and served in the U.S. military, Clarke’s suspicion seems well-founded. In addition to both dogs being named Lassie, the story of her rescue of the sailor also bore a resemblance to the Lassie rescue stories.

Visited January 2013
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2 Thank Davilance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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69 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Chippenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Nice Quiet Pub”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 November 2012

We stopped in the pub for a quick bite to eat for lunch and were well pleased. This pub was child friendly and had plenty of space. We also noticed that this pub was dog friendly so we will keep that in mind for return visits. It was really clean and the staff were friendly. Add the good food and you good food and you got an equation that can't go wrong.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank Wiltshire_Matthew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Great service & food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 September 2012

The friendly but professional welcome was followed by good service of delicious freshly cooked meals - including the biggest & tastiest trout I've ever had on a plate!

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank Emily M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St Albans, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Relaxed, dog friendly evening meal..”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 September 2012

The 3 of us went into Lyme Regis with our 3 dogs looking for somewhere to eat dinner that would be both dog friendly and vegetarian friendly. This place fit the bill perfectly - they were welcoming to our dogs and had water bowl readily available. The decor and atmosphere was very relaxed and the menu had several appealing home-made vegetarian options, including Blue Cheese, mushroom and walnut pie which I had and was great, and a vegetarian crumble which my wife had and was very tasty. For desert they had a golden syrup sponge pudding which was excellent. They also had many great looking fresh fish options and the menu was varied and appealing. Staff were friendly and service was great. Overall a relaxed, dog/vegetarian friendly venue serving fresh and home-made comfort food. Will definitely visit again next time we are in the area :)

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank SausageDogHotel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kettering, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
192 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Nice pub grub but a bit pricey for drinks”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 September 2012

Popped in for a meal one evening - friendly pub and the meal we ordered was quite tasty - fish and chips. The fish was tasty and batter crisp and light. No complaints with food however the drinks menu was pricey with wine in particular being very expensive.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank cockneyjohn504022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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