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Christmas lights dimmed to remember Penlee Lifeboat disaster

Christmas lights dimmed to remember Penlee Lifeboat disaster

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 1:37pm 19th December 2019.

The Christmas lights in Mousehole are being dimmed to remember those who lost their lives in the Penlee lifeboat tragedy.

It is 38 years since her eight crew drowned trying to rescue the people on board a stricken freighter off the Cornish coast.

The Solomon Browne battled 100mph winds and 60ft high waves, but never made it home.

The tragedy left 12 children in the village without their dads, just days before Christmas.

The Mousehole Christmas lights will be dimmed between 8pm and 9pm on 19th December, as a mark of respect on the anniversary.

solomon browne 1

Nigel Taylor is a former Newlyn skipper with Rowse Fishing. He was involved in the search operation the following day...

"We we were out searching for whatever we could find, the weather then was still horrendous, it wasn't an easy place to be and it had calmed down a little bit from the day before, it was a rough night.

"The helicopter couldn't winch anybody off it was that bad, and that is why the lifeboat had been in there so close.

"I think there is an expectation when you do a job like that that, that there is a risk, but I think they always thought they would come back.

"Where the lifeboat used to launch from Penlee is was a straight old fashioned down the slip and into the sea, so they would have been in it instantly and straight into the rough element of the water, and they would have certainly just gone out hoping to save lives.

Nigel Taylor, former Newlyn skipper

solomon browne 3

Within a day of the disaster, Mousehole had formed a new lifeboat crew - but the memory of those who lost their lives continues.

"38 years ago today, just six days before Christmas, the Solomon Browne launched from Penlee Lifeboat battling heavy seas and hurricane winds to rescue the crew of the 1,400 ton coaster Union Star.

"Tragically, all eight lifeboat crew and the eight people on the Union Star lost their lives.

"Gone but never forgotten, today we honour the brave volunteers who gave their lives to save others."


solomon browne 2

"When you wake this morning please take a few minutes to remember the eight extremely brave, fearless and selfless lifeboatmen, all sons of Mousehole, who made the ultimate sacrifice on the 19th December 1981.

"Their courage, dedication, determination, valour and heroism serves as a beacon to us all.

"Gone but never forgotten...greater love hath no man."

Penlee Lifeboat

'The Ballad of Lifeboat 954' was written in memory of the Solomon Browne, by choir leader Pete Truin.

It tells the story of that dramatic rescue and pays tribute to the heroic crew who made the ultimate sacrifice that night, and the families that they left behind.

Watch the emotional video...

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