Islay Lifeboat News

A few interesting articles re the Islay Lifeboat and Crew appeared in the Ileach lately: Members of the Islay Lifeboat crew, along with management committee representatives and friends, met at a curry night in the Ballygrant Inn to bid goodbye to Roger Eaton who has been a member of the Helmut B Schroder 11 crew for over a decade. Roger, who owned and operated Islay Marine Charters, first joined the crew in 2000 and has acted as deputy second coxswain for the past seven years. He is now moving to the Oban area where he will continue with his marine interests. His departure was marked with the presentation of a signed photograph of the island lifeboat along with other parting gifts, carried out by coxswain David MacLellan and David MacArthur (picture), the lifeboat’s resident mechanic.

Lifeboat to the rescue
The Islay lifeboat was launched on November 5 to go to the rescue of the fishing boat ‘Rambling Rose’ which had developed engine troubles between West Loch Tarbert and Gigha. Happily, the crew managed to restart their engine and the lifeboat stood down. The Campbeltown inshore lifeboat, also involved in the call out, escorted the fishing boat back to West Loch Tarbert. Continue reading....

Lifeboat letter donated to Musem of Islay Life
The Museum of Islay Life was honoured to have received the following from George McKenna of Co Durham. Mr McKenna writes: “Please find enclosed a letter from the House of Commons in 1955. It was sent to my late grandmother Annie MacTaggart (nee McPhee) regarding the death of her son John MacTaggart on the Islay Lifeboat in January 1955. My gran lived on Islay all her life. Many of her family still live there today. I thought this letter belongs on Islay and if you have any features on the history of the Islay Lifeboat you could use this as recognition of a man I never met who paid the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of others.”

The content of the letter is as follows:
House of Commons, London SW 15th February 1955
Dear Mrs MacTaggart, You will not wish to be bothered with letters from strangers at this sad time but may I be allowed to say how much my wife and I feel for you in your grievous loss in the gales of last weekend.
The whole House of Commons was stirred when the Secretary of State for Scotland announced the sad loss of your son and Mr McNeill during the efforts of the Islay lifeboat to bring help to a trawler in distress near Barra Head. I feel that in volunteering as one of the crew of the lifeboat, although not, I understand, a regular sailor, your son displayed most magnificent courage. It was a terrible blow that he should have lost his life in such a gallant effort. In your great grief you must feel proud of his heroism, as does everyone in Scotland.
May I send my most heartfelt sympathy to you in your great sorrow.
Yours very sincerely, Duncan McCallum (Major Sir Duncan McCallum - MP for Argyll 1940-58).

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