South Goodwin Lightship
Tissue paper collage on card
76 x 104cm
On the night of the 26/27th November 1954, the South Goodwin Lightship’s anchor chains failed during a hurricane force 12 storm between midnight and 0100hrs. Ashore the Ramsgate and Deal coastguards were concerned, but visibility was poor. At about 0115hrs the East Goodwin Light Vessel watching in horror, saw its sister ship sweep past six miles north of the station. The crew had been mustered in the galley.
Shortly afterwards lightship hit the Goodwin Sands and collapsed onto her starboard side, trapping the crew beneath the galley door now under water.
Seven lives were lost but one, Ronald Murton who managed to scramble through a skylight, was saved by a USAF SH-19 (S-55) rescue helicopter from the 66th Air Sea Rescue Squadron at Manston. With lifeboats from Dover and Ramsgate unable to get close to the ship, the helicopter crew managed to snatch Murton from the hull on a second sortie at 0900hrs, for which they received bravery awards. The pilot managed to take the helicopter down to 30 feet despite the wreckage and spray.
The extreme weather lasted another day so it wasn’t until the 28th November that divers could get onboard but there was no trace found of the remaining crew.
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