Cruel Sea - BBC4 Documentary Remembering the Loss of the Penlee Lifeboat on 19th December 1981

#1

Just watched this documentary remembering the courage, self sacrifice & seamanship of the volunteer crew of the RNLB Solomon Browne. She was lost with all hands as she attempted to rescue the crew of the coaster Union Star on the night of 19th December 1981.
Exceptionally brave men.
 
#3
Was that the documentary where they interviewed the USN exchange helicopter pilot? I saw that a few years ago and it was a incredibly powerful piece of film.
 
#4
RNLI is one of the few charities I'd cross the road to donate to.
Exceptionally brave people.
Do any other countries have an all volunteer force like our lifeboats?
 
#6
Was that the documentary where they interviewed the USN exchange helicopter pilot? I saw that a few years ago and it was a incredibly powerful piece of film.
Yes, that's the one. I agree with you, a hugely powerful film. It always gets dusty in my house at the moment where you can hear the call "Penlee lifeboat, Penlee lifeboat, Falmouth coastguard" and there's no reply.
 
#7
RNLI is one of the few charities I'd cross the road to donate to.
Exceptionally brave people.
Do any other countries have an all volunteer force like our lifeboats?
I don't know but I don't think so. I think most rescue services are state funded & run. The RNLI is completely funded by the public.
 
#8
Sobering stuff.
 
#11
Was that the documentary where they interviewed the USN exchange helicopter pilot? I saw that a few years ago and it was a incredibly powerful piece of film.
US Coast Guard. He described the lifeboat crew as the bravest men he had ever seen.
 
#12
Yes, that's the one. I agree with you, a hugely powerful film. It always gets dusty in my house at the moment where you can hear the call "Penlee lifeboat, Penlee lifeboat, Falmouth coastguard" and there's no reply.
I was going to say EXACTLY that... I'm not ashamed to say that when the wife returned home that evening, at the exact moment they were playing the unanswered radio calls, she found me blubbing on the sofa... I've rarely been so affected by something I've watched.
 
#13
A very powerful programme; it also reminds me of the story when the Whitby lifeboat was manhandled over the moors in deep snow to rescue stranded seamen in 1881:
Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre | Robin Hoods Bay epic lifeboat rescue and terrible tragedy

I also recently watched (twice - it was one of the better in-flight movies) the film 'Their Finest Hours', a reasonably accurate account of a USCG rescue of the crew of SS PENDALTON. The Finest Hours: Story behind the Coast Guard's greatest small-boat rescue - Coast Guard Foundation.
 
#14
A very powerful programme; it also reminds me of the story when the Whitby lifeboat was manhandled over the moors in deep snow to rescue stranded seamen in 1881:
Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre | Robin Hoods Bay epic lifeboat rescue and terrible tragedy
...
I don't think it was that long ago that there was a reconstruction of a similar event .
In 1899 the crew and people of Lynmouth manhandled their boat out of Lynmouth, up on to Exmoor, down Porlock Hill, to launch at Porlock, 15 miles away, because weather and sea conditions in Lynmouth prevented launching on a shout from there.
 
#15
The Republic of Ireland is covered by the RNLI (one of the very few "Royal" institutions that functions in the republic!). Most of the European Maritime rescue organisations are volunteer, We have done exchange visits with some of them. Ex-RNLI boats are seen in various locations in the Med which they need training on - that would be a cool job, but is difficult to get a slot on.
 
#16
I didn't know much about the Penlee Lifeboat story, but I do now.

The RNLI rarely fail to impress.

I am not sure which story stands out the most. Penlee or the Scarborough over hill launch...
 
#17
According to Wiki the reconstruction of the Lynmouth over-the-hill job was in 1999, i.e. the centenary of the actual event.
However, the documentary I saw wasn't above a couple of years' ago.
 
#18
Was that the documentary where they interviewed the USN exchange helicopter pilot? I saw that a few years ago and it was a incredibly powerful piece of film.
I watched that documentary. The part that got to me was the radio transmissions from the lifeboat trying to carry out the rescue, then suddenly silence.
 
#20
RNLI is one of the few charities I'd cross the road to donate to. Exceptionally brave people.
Do any other countries have an all volunteer force like our lifeboats?

Me too, one pf my friends has a 29' yacht in Plymouth and regularly spends a couple of months in the summer sailing around our coast & across to France (he's retired). He always makes a point of trying to organise fund raising for them, which I always contribute to!
 
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