1861 commemoration Gallery One
The following photographs were captured by Ceri Oakes during part of the service to commemorate the 12 men who died in the 1861 lifeboat disaster 150 years ago during a great storm in one of the region’s worst lifeboat disasters.
Whitby's lifeboat capsized with the loss of all but one of the crew, Henry Freeman. The men had been attempting to rescue sailors from the stricken collier Merchant and had put the lifeboat to sea for the sixth time that day. Henry Freeman, was on his first lifeboat launch and is thought to have survived because he was the only man wearing the new design of cork lifejacket. Henry Freeman was awarded an RNLI Silver Medal for his part in the incident and went on to become one of Whitby's most renowned lifeboatmen during more than 20 years as Whitby RNLI Coxswain.
The short act of remembrance was held before the all weather lifeboat George and Mary Webb and the William Riley were launched with descendants of some of those who died joining members of the lifeboat crew to scatter roses at the spot where the lifeboat capsized.
On the day of the first service the weather was dry but overcast, thankfully though it remained dry and the commemoration passed off with a large attendance.
On Sunday 13 February at St Mary's Church, East Cliff, Whitby, a Service of Commemoration was held to remember those who lost their that fateful day. I was proud to have been able to be part of the service and found that the good turnout reflected how important the occasion is and its attrition to the sad tragedy. The following link carries forth to a second gallery attributed to the 1861 Commemoration Anniversary.
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