40th Anniversary of the Penlee Disaster.


40 years ago on December 19th 1981, the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster occurred off the coast of Cornwall.

The 8-man crew of the Solomon Browne lifeboat were attempting to rescue those on-board the Union Star cargo vessel, which was trapped in a force-12 storm, battling 60ft waves and 100mph+ winds.

A rescue under such severe conditions would be difficult and Coxswain William Trevelyan Richards chose the best crew for the task:

Second Coxswain and Mechanic James Madron
Assistant Mechanic Nigel Brockman
Emergency Mechanic John Blewett
Crew Member Charles Greenhaugh
Crew Member Kevin Smith
Crew Member Barrie Torrie
Crew Member Gary Wallis.

The 8-man crew of the Solomon Browne lifeboat were all lost at sea in an unparalleled act of bravery.

Cornish composer Simon Dobson has captured this story in a deeply moving work entitled ‘Penlee’.

Here is City of Bradford’s live performance from their concert in Skipton October 2021, the 40th Anniversary year.


After watching the above video, Please follow this link to learn more about the “Penlee Disaster”

Marking the 40th anniversary of the Penlee lifeboat disaster

If you would like to share a message to mark the anniversary, you can do so on the online Book of Remembrance. The book will be printed out and displayed at the Penlee RNLI Visitor Centre once the opportunity to sign the online book closes.
📖 Sign the Book of Remembrance here: rnli.org/penlee40book