#426 theoldmortuary ponders

©Steve Blake

Those of us who live by the sea or large rivers know the debt of gratitude that is owed to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Britain, a volunteer service of water-born rescuers who keep our island nation as safe as possible while on our coastal waters and rivers. 41 years ago 8 lifeboat men lost their lives while trying to rescue the crew of the Union Star, a ship whose engines had failed in Mounts Bay off the South Coast of Cornwall. The Soloman Browne lifeboat was launched from Penlee Lifeboat Station near Mousehole in rough seas. The lifeboat rescued four of the ships crew members but both the lifeboat and the Union Star were overwhelmed and lost at sea. 16 lives in total were lost.

41 years ago news gathering was much slower. The news leaked out to the wider world in hourly news updates on the radio. Locally the news moved slightly quicker by word of mouth, much as it would have done in seafaring communities for centuries. The BBC have created a radio docudrama that gives a sense of the event unfolding in real-time and being reported as it would have been 41 years ago. Worth a listen.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0012plp?partner=uk.co.bbc&origin=share-mobile

©BBC Radio

It has become tradition, in Mousehole,to honour the lives lost at sea in what has become known as the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster by dedicating, to them,the illuminating of the small fishing village of Mousehole each December.This tradition started in the sixties and the lifeboat was launched to a backdrop of festive lights. Money raised from the hundreds of visitors goes to the RNLI.

©Steve Blake
©Steve Blake
©Steve Blake

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