Remembering the Solomon Browne – the Penlee lifeboat disaster

I sea kayak, gig row, swim, body board and ‘surf’ in the sea and as a result I have been  a supporter of the RNLI for many years.

Late last year was the 35th anniversary of the Penlee lifeboat disaster – 16  people lost their lives after the Union Star foundered off Boscawen Cliff between Lamorna and Porthcurno on the 19th December 1981. The crew of the lifeboat Solomon Browne and the crew of the Union Star perished.

Whenever I am in the area I like to pay my respects to those brave RNLI men.
Penelee 1Here is the memorial to the Penlee lifeboat crew- most of whom were from Mousehole.

Penelee 2
Here is the Penlee lifeboat station – which is now closed

Penelee 3
And here is the memorial garden – all very moving

Following the sinking of the Solomon Browne the Penlee lifeboat was replaced by a self righting boat which  could not be launched via a slipway. As a result the Penlee boat was relocated to the harbour at Newlyn. Today the RNLI boat at Newlyn is the Severn Class Ivan Ellen. This is the same class of boat as is found on the Isles of Scilly – The Whiteheads.

The RNLI boat at Sennen which I wrote about yesterday (City of London) is a Tamar class boat it is smaller but can be run down a slipway.  The new boat at Exmouth is a Shannon class boat called the R&J Welburn – it lives in a boat house but is launched via the slipway by a ‘tractor’. All these lifeboats operate in the most extreme conditions but  their Class/type of boat depends on the topography of their harbours and whether they are sheltered or not.

If you use the sea and don’t support the RNLI maybe you should think about it?