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Page last updated at 09:17 GMT, Monday, 27 September 2010 10:17 UK
Solomon Browne history
Solomon Browne
The Solomon Browne and its crew will always be remembered throughout Cornwall

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster.

It was on 19 December 1981 when hurricane force winds blew the cargo ship Union Star off course after it suffered engine failure.

The lifeboat Solomon Browne launched into very difficult waters, so rough that the crew of the Royal Navy Sea King helicopter from RNAS Culdrose were unable to lift any of the eight crew from Union Star.

Watch the BBC news report and information from 1981:

The weather conditions were amongst the worst ever seen, with winds at hurricane force 12, gusts of up to 95mph, and waves about 60 feet tall.

Solomon Browne
The Solomon Browne was one of the Penlee lifeboats

Coxswain Trevelyan Richards made several attempts to get alongside and managed to rescue four people who jumped from the Union Star's wheelhouse onto the lifeboat.

The lifeboat made a further attempt to rescue the remaining four when radio contact was lost. Her last message was: 'We've got four off at the moment'.

Ten minutes later her lights disappeared. The lifeboat had been completely wrecked with the loss of her crew of eight.

There were no survivors from the Union Star. In total there were 16 casualties.

On the 25th anniversary of the disaster BBC Radio Cornwall's Denis Nightingale looked back on that terrible night of 19 December 1981.

Click here to listen to Denis' archive report.

Coxswain Trevelyan Richards was posthumously awarded the RNLI's Gold Medal.

Bronze Medals were awarded posthumously to the remainder of the crew: Second Coxswain/Mechanic James Stephen Madron, Assistant Mechanic Nigel Brockman, Emergency Mechanic John Robert Blewett, Crew Members Charles Thomas Greenhaugh, Kevin Smith, Barrie Robertson Torrie and Gary Lee Wallis.

See pictures taken by BBC Cornwall during the 25th anniversary of the Penlee Lifeboat disaster.

The years may have passed but memories and feelings remain strong.

Recently popular South West folk musician Seth Lakeman released a single in aid of the RNLI.

The Story of Solomon Browne is about the Penlee lifeboat disaster of December 1981.

Seth said at the time: "The song is about the bravery and courage of those eight volunteer lifeboatmen who went to sea and lost their lives."

Each year the Christmas lights at Mousehole are switched off for an hour in memory of those lost in the disaster.

Mother and son say thank you

A woman who gave birth to her son on board a merchant ship off the Cornish coast 50 years ago has revisited the area.

Anne Noonan gave birth to her baby boy Timothy after going into labour on a banana boat on passage from the Canary Islands.

Mother and baby were brought ashore by the Penlee lifeboat, Solomon Browne.

Read the full story

Village honours lifeboat disaster
20 Dec 06 |  Cornwall
Lifeboat loss marked 25 years on
19 Dec 06 |  Devon
Village remembers lifeboat loss
19 Dec 01 |  England



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