Reply To: For Those in Peril…

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The BBC documentary gives the false impression (without actually saying so) that the moment that transmission broke off was the end of the Solomon Browne. That makes for an emotional moment in the programme, but was not the case, since it was seen afterwards. For what it’s worth, I believe that it suffered another violent impact with the Union Star, an impact that destroyed its radio aerials and quite likely caused other damage. Then, trying to make it back to base, it somehow succumbed to the storm. That may have been because it had suffered disabling damage from its impacts with the coaster. It may have simply been overwhelmed by a huge wave and capsized. What seems certain is that it somehow got onto the rocks.

The Watson type was the almost universal type of lifeboat when I was young. At Whitby, where I was on holiday recently, there is still a retired Watson lifeboat, the Mary Ann Summers, slightly older and smaller than the Solomon Browne, now privately owned but still in RNLI colours. It has had wooden benches bolted to its open deck, and for £3 you can have a half-hour ride out to sea and back. It’s an interesting experience, as I can personally testify.