Saturday, 10 November 2007

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old

When the war was declared on the 3rd September 1939, the lifeboat service was 115 years old and had just experienced it's busiest year yet. The men who manned its fleet knew the dangers of the coast and sea in time of peace, as these were the perils of their work.

It is the tradition of the service that if there is not one man to do the job there will be another. As the young crews headed off to war their place was taken by the old and the very young. In Whitby one morning an fighter crashed into the sea, the regular crew were not their so the boat launched with a Coxswain of 71, second Cox of 60 and a crew of five boys aged 16. 20 minutes later 4 airmen were rescued from the sea. And this was the story of the boats around the coast.

I don't know how many times the boats launched during the war, how many were saved, or how many crew went to war never to return. But I do know this. They persevered and continued to follow their calling despite the dangers and are an example to us all. To quote the the Admiralty:

Without fear or thought of self, the lifeboatmen have never spared their strength and skill in helping brother sailors in distress from the dangers of the sea and the violence of the enemy.

We will remember them..........


Savage Family said...

Fantastic and poignant post. Lest we forget.

Mart said...

Amen to that. Thanks for posting as always John.