Solomon Browne

19th December 2009, 23:38
Hi All,

Please pause for a few moments today to honour the bravery of the crew in the RNLB "Solomon Browne" lost on service, and those on the "Union Star" that they had sought to save. Twenty-eight years ago, on the 19th December at 2121 radio contact was lost with the lifeboat.

We will remember them.

Thank you.

19th December 2009, 23:49
Well they they rest in peace along with the crew off the Brought Ferry boat lost few years before, The boat was recovered along with the crew all dead in the cabin only one was never found. The boat was taken to Fife and burnt.
My Grandfather had to bury most off them.

15th February 2010, 21:35
these where all brave men and will all be granddad and my dad new all of the crew.....

my thoughts go out to all of the families of the brave crew that where sadly lost their lives on that dreadful night..

19th December 2013, 07:56
I shall raise a glass tonight, in an annual moment of reflection and remembrance, especially since the recent weather has been rather stormy.
Please join me..................

22nd December 2013, 23:41
can I just say as time marches on it is now 32 years ago, on the night of the 19/12/1981...and the memories are still raw

God bless them all. Any man/woman who goes out in such awful weather to rescue those that he knows not, is the bravest of the brave and has my full admiration and respect.

22nd November 2014, 11:16
"They shall not grow old -as we that are left grow old.
Age shall weary them not, nor the years condemn;
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them".

Lest we forget.

"The Ode" was actually written by a schoolteacher (whose name escapes me right now), during World War 1 - the "war to end all wars"

I have used it in on Anzac Day commemorations - yes I'm an ozzie now :)

So "Good Day" from down under!

But I served with the RNLB "North Foreland" (Civil Service No.11) at Margate for about 4 years after the RAF taught me to fly in the mid 1950's, and in the end had to leave the area to find a job.

I have a few pages, not completely finished, about the life-boat service in the 50s-60s and talk to groups about The "Solomon Browne". as this happened maybe 30 years after I left our Watson Class boat which is fortunate that she was kept intact for posterity at Chatham museum, notwithstanding the 48 hours of mayhem that winds and seas did when they destroyed Margate's iron jetty that the boathouse was two-thirds of the way up to where the "Royal Sovereign" used to berth.

A "Sea King" similar to "Rescue-80" winched the crew onto the boat to launch her and take her into harbour so they could blow up the

my (unfinished) site has some photos, there is a huge number if you go looking.

And my after-dinner chats to mostly older people include three pieces out of the epic documentary video that the BBC made called "Cruel Sea" in honour of the bravery of the crew of the Solomon Browne.

Broughty Ferry happened shortly before my family and I left the UK for Australia

Thank you guys,

Lest we forget
(from Richard in Australia)

Neil Mant
22nd November 2014, 11:24
Joined the Port Chalmers in 1977 and one of th AB's was Kevin Smith what a nice lad sailed again with him he went on leave and was supposed to come back but never did what a sad loss

23rd November 2014, 05:14
Yes Neil, I agree.
I never knew him or the others.
His sister describes his character well, and the interview the BBC did for a previous service shows his character.

In many ways it was fortuitous that they went out to the "Lovatt" disaster and the BBC built a programme around that service.because they were able to build a more poignant story including the considerable stock footage they had already recorded.

I for one realised the character those lads had from sensitive editing.

The narrator even admitted he asked a stupid question during (I think) his chat with Kevin.

Sorry you lost a good mate there.

Oh FYI I was involved for several years in the 70's in TV studio operations, and a little of what was called ENG - Electronic News Gathering in those days. There are good producers and directors, and also bad ones. BBC Bristol had a great team there.

Richard in Ozzie

18th December 2016, 21:56
And the 35th anniversary of the loss of ON 954 "Solomon Browne" and all her crew, who died trying save the crew / captain's family from freighter "union Star" .

I shall raise a glass in memory.
Please join me. (
olb - Penlee lb house ( par StoneRoad2013 (, on ipernity

18th December 2016, 22:09
Consider my glass raised. (Applause)

18th December 2016, 22:11
The Lifeboat Station, although closed, remains as a memorial to the sad events of that day. Even in high summer there is a sombre atmosphere as you stand by the plaque recording the loss.

There is an image of the memorial in my Gallery.

I shall raise a glass to those brave men.


19th December 2016, 00:02
I shall raise a glass to those brave men.


Thanks for the reminder, Dartskipper, I'm from downunder South Oztralia

Tis the season that most are jolly, and so it's the day after your post, Monday morning, 19th December here right now.

19th December 2016, 12:18
When the Lifeboat station at Caister was closed it was recalled that there had, many years ago been an enquiry as to why the Caister boat had on one occasion not made it to the rescue.
The "Prosecutor" said to the Caister coxswain that he had turned back, the Coxswain replied "Caister men, never turn back", immortal words.

yours aye,


21st December 2016, 16:02
Knew the coxswain and several of the crew, I was working for Decca based in Falmouth in those days and I had been aboard the Solomon Browne servicing the Decca navigator the week before the disaster, very very sad memories and still as raw today.

19th December 2017, 10:34
Another year has passed since the loss of the crew of the Solomon Browne.
Tonight, glass will be raised in the memory of their heroic rescue attempts.
Their service is remembered with thanks.

19th December 2017, 19:14
Another year gone, but the memories never fade.


Barrie Youde
20th December 2017, 00:46
#13 (

" Caister [lifeboatmen] never turn back".

The whole point, surely, is that lifeboatmen could turn back if they might wish to do so, because they are all volunteers? The valour is that they have no wish to turn back. Their discipline is their love of their fellow men and nothing else.

"Your love compels me to come in."

It is all a far, far, cry from any merely legal compulsion. Legal compulsion or legal obligation has very little place in the RNLI ethic

20th December 2017, 08:46
I believe the Coxswain's riposte was to a condescending remark at the enquiry of a sharp lawyer....

Yours aye,

20th December 2017, 10:46
#17 ( Barry the people of Caister on sea are very proud of the lifeboat heritage, there is a pub still there called the Never Turn Back, and the heritage centre where I work is the old RNLI station, worth a visit for those who are interested.
There is a modern independent lifeboat station with an inshore rib and awb adjacent. Regards Canadian.

Pat McCardle
21st December 2017, 02:05
I was on the wheel of Stevie Clarkes Washington, dropping the Pilot off at The Sunk and seeing Union Star coming out from Harwich. The Pilot commenting to Capt. Bill Sutherland about the way she was performing, even before she was in open waters and then seeing, 2 days later, the dramatic pictures of her ending along with the Penlee lifeboat. May they all rest in peace.

Barrie Youde
21st December 2017, 09:46
#19 (

That same noble spirit runs right through the RNLI, all around the British Isles.

In terms of charitable causes, it is the first which has my support.

21st December 2017, 10:45
I can add nothing but "Hear, hear!" to all.

24th December 2017, 00:23
#19 (

That same noble spirit runs right through the RNLI, all around the British Isles.

In terms of charitable causes, it is the first which has my support.

they saved my life from drowning 58 years ago this past June..................they are heroes one and all, and shall never be forgotten.

19th December 2018, 20:23
It is that time of year again.

Glass of something strong to salute the memory of the crew of the Solomon Browne will be raised shortly.

May they rest in peace and honour for their sacrifice.