Flags in Orkney are being flown at half mast to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the loss of the crew of the Longhope lifeboat.

Flags in Orkney are being flown at half mast to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the loss of the crew of the Longhope lifeboat. All eight men aboard the 47ft Watson type lifeboat ‘T.G.B.’ died when it was overturned by huge waves on 17 March 1969 while attempting to rescue the crew of a cargo ship in a Force 9 gale.

The lifeboat was found floating upside down four miles south west of Torness the following afternoon. Aboard were the bodies of Coxswain Daniel Kirkpatrick and his sons Daniel and John, Robert R Johnstone and his sons Robert and James, and Eric McFadyen, but assistant mechanic Jim Swanson was never recovered.

It was one of the worst tragedies in British lifeboat history, but led to research into the development of new self-righting boats. ‘T.G.B.’ itself was refitted and remained in RNLI service until 1986, since when it has been displayed at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.