Memorial for those lost at sea

Bridlington's lifeboat team will attend the service on Sunday
Bridlington's lifeboat team will attend the service on Sunday

A memorial service is to be held to honour those who lost their lives at sea during one of Britain’s worst ever maritime disasters.

Crew members from Bridlington’s RNLI lifeboat station will gather at Bridlington Priory and pay their respects to sailors who died in the Great Gale of 1871.

Andy Brompton, the spokesperson for Bridlington’s lifeboat station said: “Bridlington lifeboat station foundations are built on the actions of its crews through its history and we will not forget them.

“Our crew just hopes to carry on their legacy”.

Known for many years as fisherman’s Sunday, the service came to end in the early 1970s before former lifeboat Coxswain Fred Walkington MBE helped revive it.

Since then it has been a firm date in the lifeboat calendar for all the crews and their families.

On February 10 1871, Bridlington endured one of the worst storms the coast had ever seen.

Lifeboat crews manned the town’s two lifeboats, launching time after time into atrocious seas. It was in these conditions that the Brig Delta of Whitby was driven towards the south shore. The lifeboat the Harbinger managed to get alongside and save five of the Delta’s crew to great cheers from the crowds watching on from the beach.

The crew and bystanders manhandled the lifeboat and were able to get it back into the sea and make a second attempt for the remainder on board.

Townsfolk looking on from the harbour watched the lifeboat disappear in the surf only to come up and strike out for the Delta for a second time.

After reaching the lifeboat again, the crew could see one man holding on to the rigging as the coxswain tried get alongside the stricken vessel. But a large breaking sea hit both boats capsizing the Harbinger, killing six lifeboat volunteers.

The service is to be attended by coxswain Stuart Tibbett and his crew at Bridlington Priory, and will be held by rector of the Priory Matthew Pollard on Sunday 8 February.