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Old 01 August 2006, 16:59   #1
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Penlee Lifeboat

Programme about the loss of the Solomon Brown 25 years ago in December, BBC 1 at 2230, maybe worth a look
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Old 01 August 2006, 18:56   #2
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Just watched it. Heart wrenching. I was only a kid at the time, but remember it well. Mousehole is only 25m down the coast. There was a double tragedy not touched upon in the programme. The only way the nation could show it's sympathy was to donate money. The huge shock combined with the fact that it was at Christmas combined to generate millions of pounds in donations. Mike Sutherland, who was featured in the programme, had the uneviable job of giving the money to the bereaved families at the end of the day. It ran into small fortunes. These people had never had money or had need for it. It had a devasting effect. Families were falling out, gold-digging single men were showing up from all over the place trying to befriend newly widdowed wives. It was by all accounts very sad.
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Old 01 August 2006, 19:31   #3
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Sad story, and very brave men.

Shaggy
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Old 01 August 2006, 20:01   #4
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Truly heart breaking. I don't think even the latest boats would have been any better off.

I normally hate poetry but just came across this - very apt and very moving!!!

Duty

Teatime in Cornwall on a Saturday night,
Just six days to Christmas, the storm at its height
A maroon was sent up that brought men at the run,
But this was Penlee, and the year eighty-one.

Cox Richards saw the fearful might of the sea
And breathed a soft prayer that the boat would slip free
He’ll not get her launched, the experienced ones knew,
But William calmly selected his crew.

He turned back Neil Brockman though eager and brave,
And slipped the ‘Browne’ towards the wild tempest wave.
“Just one from each house” His cry lost on the storm,
But out of such wisdom legends are born

James Madron, Nigel Brockman, say their names with pride,
With Barry Torrie and Gary Wallis; but why had they died?
For a Lloyds Open Charter and a deadly delay,
While a tugboat stood handy – but would owners pay?

Kevin Smith was on leave but he didn’t wait,
With Charles Greenhough and John Blewett went to their fate.
To man the swift lifeboat and take on the storm
For saving men’s lives is why they were born.

And what a staggering total of lives they had won
Solomon Brown’s tally had reached ninety-one!
She crashed through the gale for the three-hundredth time
To raise her saved number to around ninety-nine.

They succeeded at first past their own wildest dreams
To pluck frightened victims from the coaster’s deck beams
One, two, three four were hauled safely aboard
While a Culdrose Sea King could do naught but record

The fantastic bravery of the Solomon’s crew
Returning time after time – what more could they do?
In sixty-foot seas that were December cold
That fearless young crew that would never grow old

But the heroic rescue was doomed from the start
When the furious storm played her own heartless part
Reclaiming those lives so desperately won
From Mousehole and Penlee, in the year eighty-one

Brian O’Dowda January 1982
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Old 02 August 2006, 02:56   #5
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You beat me to it Codders - a very moving poem.
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Old 02 August 2006, 03:03   #6
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Not only a very sad and moving program. But one of the best put together bits of TV I have seen in a long time.

It is nice to see the BBC having a week of programs on the sea
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Old 02 August 2006, 03:22   #7
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All Very Brave Men
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Old 02 August 2006, 04:05   #8
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really pleased to have seen it - I wasnt really aware of how bad it actually was - massive respect
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Old 02 August 2006, 04:14   #9
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Yep, i'm Cornish born and bred, lived in Penberth cove when first born.

My Late God father ws on Sennen Lifeboat for 15 years.

When visiting my relatives I always go and have a look at the Boathouse, it is as said, everything left as it was when she launched, haunting feeling!
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Old 02 August 2006, 04:40   #10
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When we do a Scillies trip, we round Penlee corner and pass the lifeboat station and pass Larmorna Cove where the Union Star went aground. We all go very quiet around both locations. On our last trip, we were chatting in the pub on Bryher with the local guys. I was unaware of the fact that the Scillies lifeboat was sent to assist that eve. It's remembered as one of the worst ever. It's over 25Nm of open sea from the islands back to the mainland. Apparently the boat was riding across the ridges of 60/70 ft breaking seas.
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