Stonehaven RNLI to Commemorate 150th Anniversary of Tragedy

By bellmannews / February 18, 2024
graphic showing detail of gravestone and 150 year crest - all with dramatic sea backdrop

By Anna Carlton, Lifeboat Press Officer, Stonehaven RNLI

On Sunday 25 February Stonehaven RNLI will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of what was a devastating tragedy for the town of Stonehaven.

In February 1874 four crew members of the Stonehaven lifeboat the St George, Coxswain James Leiper, 2nd Coxswain John Brown, Alexander Main and James Lees, lost their lives and the boat herself was smashed beyond repair.

The St George had been launched to the aid of the Grace Darling of Blyth, which was flying signals of distress and heading north of Stonehaven. When the lifeboat reached her the signals of distress were taken down and the Grace Darling continued northward.

Unable to return to Stonehaven through the heavy sea swell, due to the previous day’s storm, the St George made for Aberdeen Harbour. However, crossing the Bar at Aberdeen, disaster struck and she capsized throwing the crew into the water. When she righted some of the crew were able to scramble aboard, however four of the crew tragically lost their lives that day.

‘It is important that we remember those brave volunteers that came before us,’ said Andy Martin, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Stonehaven RNLI.

‘In this year that sees the 200th Anniversary of the establishment of the RNLI, it is more important than ever that we commemorate those that have lost their lives in an effort to save others in peril on the sea.’

Stonehaven RNLI will be holding a commemoration service, commencing at 11am on Sunday 25 February, in the station’s current boat shed at Stonehaven harbour.