• STV
  • MySTV

Orkney lifeboat disaster remembered on 50th anniversary

It has been 50 years since the lifeboat disaster which devastated a small community.

Longhope: Eight men died in disaster.
Longhope: Eight men died in disaster. STV

A village is to mark 50 years since a lifeboat disaster which devastated the small community.

Eight men from Longhope on Orkney were lost when their boat capsized in a fierce storm on March 17, 1969. The volunteer RNLI crew covering one of the wildest outposts of the lifeboat network met their deaths while going to the assistance of a Liberian-registered cargo ship.

Longhope lost a quarter of its population, with seven women widowed and 10 children left without a father. Two women lost both husbands and sons.

The disaster was a key factor in hastening the development of self-righting lifeboats. Sunday will see a day of commemoration organised by RNLI Longhope and the Longhope Lifeboat Museum Trust.

Leading the memorial will be Kevin Kirkpatrick, coxswain of the current Longhope Lifeboat. Mr Kirkpatrick lost his father, uncle and grandfather in the disaster, as did his wife.

Despite this, both their son Jack and daughter Stella volunteer as crew members today. He said: "This will be an emotional day for us all.

"The tragic loss of our eight lifeboat men and the ultimate sacrifice they made will never be forgotten here, but it is due to the strength and resilience of our local community that our lifeboat station continues and still operates from Longhope today."

The lost lifeboat was located in the Pentland Firth the day after the tragedy and recovered with all but one man still inside.

To mark the anniversary a flotilla including RNLI lifeboats from Thurso, Stromness, Wick, and the current Longhope lifeboat, will congregate in Aith Hope to dip their flags as a mark of respect.

A service will take place at the memorial in Osmundwall Cemetery, and guests will congregate at the Longhope Lifeboat Museum and community hall for ceremonies to remember the lost men. Further afield, flags at the RNLI's base in Perth and its headquarters in Poole will be lowered to half-mast.

At the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine, where the vessel is housed, staff will mark the tragedy by holding a minute's silence and laying a wreath by the boat.

Jacob Davies, lifesaving manager for the RNLI in Scotland, said: "As an organisation we are reminded of the terrible sacrifice that the crew made that night and remember the bravery that it takes to go to the aid of those in danger around our coast."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.