This is a stunning piece of film of a clifftop rescue of sailors aboard the Jeanne Gougy, which capsized between Sennen Cove and Land’s End. At 5am on 3 November 1962 the Coastguard, the RNLI and a a helicopter from RAF Chivenor rescued six out of eighteen trawlermen.
RAF Sergeant Eric Smith winched Michel Pade and Napoleon Bertin to safety and received the George medal for bravery. Victor David, Jean Ridel, Maurice Fromentin and Christian Anthore were rescued by breeches buoy.
According to tradition the lost fishermen’s coffins were laid out on the quayside at Penzance, and the Gougy Roseline trawler accompanied them home to their final resting place.
My thanks to John Lockwood for passing the the tip along.
The Little Boats of England
The little boats of England, the little motor boats,
The little penny steamers, from Land’s End to John o’ Groats
Thre Brighton Belle, the Margate Queen, the Vigilant, the Lark,
The Saucy Jane, the Gracie Fields, even a Noah’s Ark,
Picked up their country’s message, that our backs were to the wall,
There is danger, there is danger, will you answer to the call?
Francis Drake, Collingwood and Nelson of the Nile,
Were on their quarter decks again, you should have seen them smile,
When all the little boats pulled out, from Dover to Dunkirk
To bring the British Army home, that was the job of work;
For how they performed their fearful task, the epic of those days
The history books will tell our sons, but let us sing their praise
And as they lie at anchor, from Newcastle to Poldhu,
With their battle scars upon them and with pennants red and blue
We say to them with grateful hearts, and voice that’s like to break
Lord Nelson would be proud of you; so would Sir Francis Drake.
By Ivor Back, 1940
Photos of the rowed lifeboat rescue mission to the sailing barge Sepoy 80-odd years ago published by the EDP show the reality of what lifeboatmen had to cope with.
Notice the surf, and the terrified barge crew hanging on in the rigging.
I find these photos very sobering… and even more so is the thought that the Sepoy was only a few hundred yards from shore, unlike many such rescues. Those crews were very brave and very tough – and still are.