Longhope: 17th March 1969

Longhope Memorial Credit: N Morrison

It was on a dreadful night in 1969 that the Longhope lifeboat was launched to go to the aid of  the Liberian vessel ‘Irene’ . All eight of the lifeboat crew were lost.

The men who died on were:

Coxswain Daniel Kirkpatrick

Second Coxswain James Johnston (son of Mechanic)

Bowman Daniel R Kirkpatrick (son of Coxswain)

Mechanic Robert R. Johnston

Assistant Mechanic James Swanson

Crew Member Robert Johnston (son of Mechanic)

Crew Member John T Kirkpatrick (son of Coxswain)

Crew Member Eric McFadyen

The following day the capsized lifeboat was found. It was floating four miles south-west of Torness Point. Damage to the lifeboat indicated that it had been hit by a huge wave. The bodies of seven members of the crew were found on board the boat. All had died from drowning. The body of the eighth member, James Swanson, was never discovered. Scotland’s People

The local community on Hoy raised funds for the Longhope Lifeboat museum .

” Built in 1906, the principle aim of this maritime museum, is to tell the historical story of the old lifeboat station, the powerful events and rescues at sea and to remember former crew members. “

The Inquiry into the disaster found that all crew had taken the necessary precautions and procedures in their attempt to help ‘Irene’. The loss of ‘Longhope’ led to the development of self-righting lifeboats.  The lifeboat was salvaged and refurbished and continued to save lives in Ireland, before retiring from service in 1979. It is now on permanent loan to the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine. Scotland’s People

Longhope Memorial Ian Balcombe
Longhope Memorial credit: Ian Balcombe

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  1. Lovely Tribute to these brave men.
    My brother William Pyke served on the Grace Paterson Ritchie,the Kirkwall lifeboat which was tasked to recover them.

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