united kingdom Union Star and the Penlee Lifeboat tragedy

off Cornish coast


19-dec-81    to    20-dec-81





On her maiden voyage from Ijmunden (NL) to Arklow (IE), the 935 ton mv Union Star ran in to mountainous seas and howling gales to the south west of the Penwith Peninsula on 19 Dec. Falmouth Coastguard called RNAS Culdrose and once the position was confirmed, it raised the RNLI Penlee Lifeboat (the 14m Watson class Solomon Browne) which was launched, with a volunteer crew from Mousehole.

The waves were so high, despite numerous attempts, the 820 NAS Sea King (c/s Rescue 80) was unable to get a line aboard in the Hurricane Force winds. After recovering 4 souls from the stricken vessel, the Solomon Browne was last observed making another attempt to get alongside, near Boscawen Cove. All hands were lost and both vessels were wrecked.


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DatesRotary Wing Aircraft UnitModels
    19dec81 to 20dec81 UK 820 squadron Fleet Air Arm sea king




Not all models shown may have taken part in the Operation



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