Thursday, 22 December 2011

For Those In Peril On The Sea…

Frugal Queen had a thoughtful post yesterday reminding us that it is thirty years this week since the Penlee Lifeboat disaster.[click here] I remember the awful news, just days before Christmas, that not only was the entire crew [and captain’s family] lost from the ship “Union Star” – but also the eight brave members of the Penlee Lifeboat crew, launched from Mousehole in Cornwall in appalling storm conditions. The RAF rescue helicopter had been unable to take off, due to the hurricane force winds. The lifeboat, the Solomon Browne, was smashed to pieces.

penlee crew

Bob’s paternal grandmother came from a lifeboat family, the Mercers, from Walmer in Kent.

There are some of his ancestors in this photo of the 1910 crew

walmer crew 1910

Here is the lifeboat station on the Strand.

walmer station

In 1944 a Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Joseph Mercer for rescuing 13 men from an anti-submarine boat stranded on the Goodwin Sands.

Let us never take for granted the sacrifices made by those who serve in the RNLI – staffed by volunteers, and funded by charitable donations. Saving lives day in, day out, all year round.

Sitting here in a warm dry home, about as far from the cold wintry sea as it is possible to be, right in the middle of  England – I am grateful to Froogs for this timely reminder. May all of our lifeboat crews be able to enjoy a quiet, safe Christmas, at home with their families.


  1. The sea terrifies me- the sheer power of it is breath-taking. One branch of my extended family made their living from the sea - they were trawlermen fishing out of Hull. We are fortunate that none were ever lost whilst working at this dangerous job- they really do earn every penny.Anyone who works on , or voluntarily puts out to sea to save others, has my utmost respect.

  2. One of the Thomas's, who are known locally and have children at the school I teach in, lost his life at sea, on a trawler, this week. We know so well here how valuable the RNLI are, they are always in my prayers, if you read back through my blogs, you'll know they've saved my life.

    froogs xx

  3. Joe Mercer was my great great grandad, I'm very proud


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