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Tributes paid 60 years after lifeboat tragedy

Posted in: Workplace Injuries Wrongful & Accidental Death 

60 years ago a lifeboat disaster took the lives of 6 men just off the east coast of Scotland — a service is due to take place today to commemorate their deaths. The accident occurred only quarter of a mile from the harbour in Arbroath on the 27 October 1953. The men who died in the tragedy were David Bruce, Harry Swankie, William Swankie, Thomas Adams, David Cargill and Charles Cargill; the only survivor was Archibald Smith who managed to keep hold of a rope that had been thrown to the boat by people who witnessed the accident from land.

The lifeboat, ‘The Robert Lindsay’, had only launched three years prior to the accident, July 1950. The boat was the 7th Arbroath vessel, named after her benefactor, the late Robert Lindsay of Mains of Kinblethmont, and was a twin-engined 35½ footer of the Liverpool class with a crew of seven. The boat had been in the midst of searching for a vessel in distress when it overturned in the heavy seas.

‘Darkest day in our history’

Today Arbroath will see a gathering in the church to remember the men who lost their lives. The town’s current lifeboat team will sail out after the service to lay a wreath on the sea where the accident happened. Alex Smith, the lifeboat operations manager at Arbroath, said:

“It is the darkest day in our history here at Arbroath lifeboat station and the sacrifice of those lost has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to generations of crewmen.”

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