RNLI volunteers at Amble to attend memorial to RAF crew lost on service

Lifeboats News Release

A memorial is to be placed at Amble harbour on Friday 1 June commemorating the loss of three crew members of The Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Pinnace 1386.

It will be unveiled and dedicated at 2:00pm on Sunday 3 June.

The Pinnacle was overwhelmed by heavy seas on 29 September 1969 and capsized while trying to enter Amble harbour.

It had steamed down the coast from Broughty Ferry in heavy swell conditions to carry out exercises with the helicopters based at RAF Acklington that evening.

The three men lost were Flt. Lt. Bell (Skipper), Cpl. Ivil WO/p and SAC. Denson WO/p. Their names are engraved on an RAF memorial elsewhere.

There was no local memorial placed at Amble but as 2018 is the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force and The Royal Air Force Marine Craft Unit, it was felt that as these men were the only personnel on active sea duty to die since the end of the Second World War, it would be a fitting tribute to them.

The Air Sea Rescue and Marine Craft Sections Club decided to raise funds for the memorial two years ago, mainly between themselves and the families affected by the tragedy, but Amble Town Council kindly donated funds toward the cost.

The rescue services from HM Coastguard 202 Search and Rescue Squadron based at RAF Acklington, together with both Amble Lifeboats, combined their efforts in order to save what lives they could in an evening of high drama and bravery.

Local divers, J.B. Sample and E. Bramham attempted to dive under the boat but were unable to get past the wires and ropes which had become a hazard underwater. Later in the evening a team of Royal Navy divers arrived from Rosyth Naval Base. They boarded the upturned hull and created a hole to enable a survivor to escape after several hours trapped.

The memorial will be unveiled by Commanding officer RAF Boulmer, Gp. Captain R.G. Jacob BA, Hons. RAF and blessed by Reverend John McDermott, Vicar of St Cuthbert’s Church Amble.

Dignitaries attending will include the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland’s Deputy, Gp. Captain, Tim Willbond together with the Mayor of Amble and representatives from Amble Harbour commissioner’s office, Mr. Maurice Burnett and Harbour Master Alan Punton.

Survivors, rescuers and family members of the men lost together with serving members of Amble Lifeboat crew will also be present.

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please contact Amble RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Rodney Burge on 01665 798368 or, email: rodneyburge438@btinternet.com

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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.

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