Longhope Lifeboat Sank in the Pentland Firth With the Loss of Eight Men on Board, All From the Small Island of Hoy.

  • March 17, 1969

An RNLI lifeboat has been stationed at Longhope since 1874; the old lifeboat house is now a museum with a former Longhope lifeboat Thomas McCunn on display. On 17 March 1969 the station suffered one of the worst tragedies in British lifeboat history when its 47-ft wooden lifeboat, T.G.B., capsized with the loss of all eight crew after answering a mayday call from the Liberian cargo vessel Irene during a gale of Force 9.

An unusually high wave, in what were described in the enquiry as “maelstrom conditions”, is considered to have caused the capsize. Boats capable of righting themselves were subsequently introduced.

The T.G.B. itself was salvaged, repaired and re-allocated to another station. It is now on display at the Scottish Maritime Museum. In total, as of 2004, the station has received 26 bravery honours.

Longhope is a coastal settlement on the island of South Walls, in Orkney, Scotland. South Walls is linked to Hoy by causeway; Longhope is the largest settlement on the two islands. The settlement is situated on the B9047, the main road on Hoy and South Walls.s