On 3 January 1964 the Longhope Lifeboat went to the rescue of the Aberdeen trawler, Ben Barvas. The trawler had gone ashore on Little Skerry, Pentland Skerries, in heavy seas. It was  impossible for the lifeboat to go alongside so nine crewmen were rescued by surf or breeches buoy. The trawler Ben Screel rescued the other five off a liferaft. This RNLI fillm includes a dramatisation of parts of the rescue: Part 1 and Part 2.

The RNLI awarded Coxswain Dan Kirkpatrick their silver medal for this rescue, his second such award. You can get some idea of how challenging the rescue was from this aerial photo of the wreck taken in 2009 though the wreck seems to have been moved since 1964 by winter gales.

The full Board of Trade wreck report is available too.

I’m grateful to Richard Evans for sharing these links on the Orkney Past & Present Facebook group. In 1964 the lifeboat’s base was Brims, part of my one-place study area.

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