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RNLI Longhope Lifeboat remember the crew lost on HMS Vanguard

Lifeboats News Release

A poignant moment on the grey cold waters of Scapa Flow

RNLI Longhope lifeboat crewmember paying his last respects at the wreck site of HMS Vanguard

RNLI/Mary Harris

RNLI Longhope lifeboat volunteer crewmember paying his last respects

Today 9 July 2017, RNLI Longhope lifeboat attended a significant commemorative and wreath-laying service over the wreck site of HMS Vanguard.

A hundred years ago, this Dreadnought battleship suddenly sank in Scapa Flow after a series of devastating internal explosions and 845 men tragically lost their lives.

Also in attendance at the service were descendants from the men who died, with Royal Navy vessels HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer, RN divers from HM Naval Base, survey divers from MV Huskyan, RNLI Stromness lifeboat and various other vessels.

The combined team of divers changed the White Ensign flag that is attached to the wreck, which must have been a highly emotive task, presenting the recovered one to the people of Orkney.

Longhope lifeboat then escorted the naval vessels to Lyness where a service was held at the Royal Naval Cemetery.

The Last Post being played on Royal Naval vessel HMS Dasher

RNLI/Mary Harris

The Last Post being played on HMS Dasher
RNLI Longhope lifeboat escorting naval vessels to Lyness

RNLI/Mary Harris

RNLI Longhope lifeboat escorting naval vessels to Lyness

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland