Service to M.V. Lovat 1975

Service to M.V. Lovat
On the 25th January 1975, during the hours of darkness, the Penlee Lifeboat ‘Solomon Browne’ launched from Penlee Point and went to the assistance of the motor vessel ‘Lovat’ who had put out a Mayday call that her crew were abandoning ship.

The ‘Lovat’ was reported to be 24 miles from Lizard Point in horrendous weather conditions. The lifeboat launched down the slip into a full west-north-westerly gale gusting to hurricane force 12.

As the ‘Solomon Browne’ progressed towards the ‘Lovat’ her passage became extremely uncomfortable with heavy rolling and drastically reduced visibility. Due to the extreme urgency of the situation, Coxswain Trevelyan Richards drove her hard at full speed – in his words, ‘It was the worst seas I have ever experienced’.

By the time the Solomon Browne got on scene, helicopters had rescued the only 2 survivors but sadly 11 lives were lost. The unhappy & dangerous task of recovering the bodies fell to the crew of the lifeboat who were still battling hurricane force conditions.

For his gallantry, courage and skill, Coxswain Trevelyan William Richards was awarded the RNLI’s bronze medal. His crew, Frank Wallis (2nd Coxswain), Nigel Brockman, Stephen Madron, Phil Wallis, Barrie Torrie, Alan Tregenza and Kevin Smith were each presented with medal service certificates.

43 years later a very poignant message was received from Patrick O’Neill – ‘43 years ago today the Solomon Browne went to the aid of the MV Lovat, they picked up the bodies that were lost and two survivors were picked up by Navy Helicopters, one of the bodies was my Dad, I thank you for the closure.’

L to R back row – Frank Wallis and his brother Phil, Alan Tregenza, Nigel Brockman.
Front row – Hon Sec Clive Bennetts, Coxswain Trevelyan ‘Charlie’ Richards, Doc Leslie, and Del Johnson.

In Penzance Hospital, the two survivors of the MV Lovat Disaster, second mate Frank Turner, 50 (right) and cook Stewart Roy Hawley, 37.
Many thanks to Penlee Lifeboat for permission to use.