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The courage of past Bridlington lifeboat crews remembered by today's volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

In one of Britain's greatest sea disasters six lifeboat crew and an estimated seventy seamen were lost in a terrible storm.

Crewman Grant Walkington laid the wreath

RNLI/Andy Brompton

On February 10th 1871 at least 23 colliers (coal chips) and merchant vessels had taken shelter in Bridlington Bay from a violent storm.

Sadly the direction of the storm changed quickly and the bay of safety, as it was known, became a death trap with the hurricane winds and atrocious sea conditions driving vessels ashore.

One vessel that was at the mercy of the elements was the Delta of Whitby, the ship's crew were unable to stop the vessel following others and breaking up in the shoreline surf.

After hours at sea helping save sailors from peril, the crew of the national lifeboat Harbinger managed to get along side the Delta and saved five crew.

Once the five crew were safe ashore, the lifeboat was turned into the sea again with its crew pulling hard on the oars making their way to the Delta. The lifeboat crew managed to get alongside to help those on board when a huge breaking wave crashed over both boats capsizing the Harbinger, resulting in the loss of six lifeboat crew.

A service to commemorate all those lost in the Great Gale of 1871 is held on the nearest Sunday to the event each year. With the Coxswain, crews and station personnel attending.

Long serving crewman Grant Walkington laid a wreath at the monument to all those who lost their lives.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.

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