IT WAS INTERESTING to read the article on page 9 of the January 2013 issue of Sea Breezes titled, ‘Special service marks the anniversary of lifeboat tragedy’, regarding the 50th anniversary of the loss of the Seaham lifeboat. The selfless courage of the volunteer crews of the Lifeboats never ceases to be a source of faith in human nature.
The article, however, prompted me to write to remind my fellow readers of Sea Breezes that the sacrifice, highlighted by the article, has never been so great as it was on December 9th 1886, when the St Annes and Southport lifeboats, on the Lancashire coast, were both lost with all the crew of the former and with only two survivors from the latter; 27 men in all being lost. This service to the German barque, Mexico, was, and remains so to this day, the greatest single loss of life amongst the lifeboat crews.
The incident was equally famous for the successful rescue of the crew of the Mexico by the Lytham lifeboat. The story of the wreck and its impact on fundraising within the RNLI and its wider impact for raising funds for all charities, was the subject of a book published in 1986, for the centenary by the late Frank Kilroy. Readers may be interested to know that on the 9th December 2012, the book was republished and for anyone with an interest in Lifeboats, makes a great read, giving a vivid account of the disaster and its subsequent consequences.
What makes the republication of real value to the RNLI at Lytham St Annes, is that because its publication, costs have all been met by sponsors. All proceeds from its sale will go to the RNLI. For those who are interested, the book can be purchased from the Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Shop at The LB House, Eastbank Road, St Annes, FY8 5LD for £8.95 and by post (UK) for £10.90. I am happy to supply further details if required.
R IAIN BOOTH
Old Mill Cottage, Ring O’ Bells Lane
Lathom, Lancashire L40 5TF