He was just as comfortable saving lives at sea as he was on dry land - a daring doctor from a bygone age. 

And now Wells harbourmaster Robert Smith has penned a book about town legend E.W. Hicks - known as Willy Hicks - to share his story with a modern audience. 

Doctor at Sea recounts Dr Hicks as a working doctor, lifeboat crewmember and later, an honorary secretary of the Wells RNLI station. 

Mr Smith said he was inspired to write the book after being handed Dr Hicks' memoirs and some of his mementoes. 

He said: "I always knew from the first day I was handed the memoirs that they were something special.

North Norfolk News: Wells Harbour Master, Robert SmithWells Harbour Master, Robert Smith (Image: Ian Burt)

"As soon as I read them, they transported me back to a different time, a time in my life of being a small boy sitting in my grandfather's kitchen, listening to stories of his exploits about him serving at sea on the Arctic convoys."

Doctor at Sea also recounts the story of fellow Wells lifeboatmen who put to sea in small boats for the evacuation of Dunkirk.

Mr Smith said: "Hearing the stories of bravery, drama and rescues by the Wells Lifeboat crews and fishermen who answered the call to Dunkirk, enthralled and excited me."

The book covers the years between 1941 and 1969 and also marks the 360th anniversary of the Wells Harbour Commissioners' formation.

North Norfolk News: Wells Harbour Master, Robert Smith, has published a new book titled, Doctor at SeaWells Harbour Master, Robert Smith, has published a new book titled, Doctor at Sea (Image: Robert Smith)

One story told is how a mother brought her sick daughter to a public meeting after she had swallowed bleach, and how Dr Hicks used a saltwater drink to make the child vomit - saving her life.

Mr Smith said: “I needed to refresh my own memories of that man I remembered and was always in awe of, then I had to find out how the local community had thought of him and what he was really like.

“This feedback confirmed that I was not the only person in awe of him.”

Dr Hicks was also the doctor attending when Mr Smith was born.

North Norfolk News: A page from Robert Smith's book, Doctor at SeaA page from Robert Smith's book, Doctor at Sea (Image: Robert Smith)

The book has been published by Barnwell of Alysham, and proceeds will go to local charities and good causes.

It is available in shops across north Norfolk as well as the Wells Harbour office.