Fleetwood RNLI meeting 605 Squadron for 75th anniversary
This August will mark 75 years since the tragic death of Kenneth James Pierpoint, the young Pilot Officer with 605 Squadron, who lost his life in a flying accident in 1942. His name lives on, emblazoned on the £2.2million Shannon class lifeboat in Fleetwood.
On August 20, the occasion will be remembered by both 605 Squadron and the volunteer lifeboat crew from Fleetwood. 605 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Paul Bell, will visit the lifeboat station and view the Shannon class lifeboat, named after their former colleague. They will then continue down to Altrincham, where Kenneth James Pierpoint is buried, for a short service.
Kenneth, who was just 20 years old when he died, was the brother of Kathleen Pierpoint, who bequeathed a considerable sum of money towards the lifeboat and asked that her brother be remembered, by naming the lifeboat after him.
The Shannon class lifeboat arrived in Fleetwood in June 2016 and Wing Commander Bell was guest of honour at the naming ceremony.
Captain David Eccles, Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘This is one of those occasions where both parties are honoured to be associated with one another. It was a great privilege to meet Wing Commander Bell last year and he suggested we mark the 75th anniversary of Kenneth’s passing. We’ve looked forward to the occasion ever since and we welcome the opportunity to meet up with 605 Squadron again.’
Notes to editors
Background to Kenneth James Pierpoint;
Born in Altrincham in 1922, Ken attended local schools before going on to study at Cambridge University. He gave up his degree course to join the Royal Air Force through the Volunteer Reserves. His aptitude for flying and commitment to the RAF, quickly earned him the rank of Pilot Officer and a posting to 605 Squadron, based at RAF Ford, in Sussex, in August 1942. But his career was short lived as he was tragically killed, a few days after arriving at Ford, in a flying accident on the 28 August, 1942, aged just 20.
It was reported that whilst undergoing night flight practice in a Boston aircraft, Pilot Officer Pierpoint was dazzled by searchlights and crashed between Ford and Bognor Regis.
The RNLI’s benefactor Kathleen and the sister of Ken Pierpoint, was 15 at the time and lived with this tragic memory for a further 70 years. The RNLI and Fleetwood Lifeboat Station are very grateful to Kathleen that she chose to honour her brother and ensure his memory would live on for many years.
It is fitting that the motto of 605 RAF Reserve Squadron was ‘’NUNQUAM DORMIO’’, translated as ‘I never sleep’. It perfectly fits the lifeboat that will be named after him.
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Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.