Lifeboat Tragedy

View of St Mary of the Storms graveyard taken from slopes of golf course, looking beyond to stormy rolling waves

By John Cruickshank


SOME 145 years ago to the day, four crewmen were lost from Stonehaven lifeboat St.George as she entered Aberdeen Harbour having attempted to provide assistance to the sailing ship Grace Darling which was in distress.

The following is an extract from the information plaque near the headstone which was erected in memory of the crew that lost their lives that day. The headstone can be seen in the graveyard of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Storms, above Cowie village, nestled below the Golf course on Garron Point.

”From the Chapel of our Lady of the Storms the North Sea may be viewed in all its moods, and within the sheltering walls of the kirkyard rest many who depended on these waters for their livelihood. Numerous tombstones, some adorned with ships and anchors stand in memory of seamen and fishermen. Many of these men lost their lives at sea.

Photograph of grey granite headstone topped with cross and with image of lifeboat above the wording

”Close to the west gable of the chapel is a prominent memorial to the crew of the Stonehaven lifeboat, St George, who died on 27 February 1874, whilst going to the rescue of the barque, Grace Darling. When distress signals were spotted, the crew launched the lifeboat in heavy seas and rowed frantically to help the barque which was being swept northwards. The lifeboat crew was unable to overtake the barque and had to abandon the mission at Aberdeen.

”Tragically, the lifeboat capsized as it entered Aberdeen harbour with the loss of the coxswain and three crew members. Two of these courageous men are buried here at Cowie, one at Nigg and one at Belhelvie.”


Kenny - March 27, 2019

Thank you for remembering the crew.
I hope the plaque that was on the harbour is replaced as this has gone missing.
It named the st George and the other Stonehaven lifeboats.
James leiper was washed up at balmedie and buried at the old church next to dual carriage way on Ellon road.

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