On November 3rd 1962, the 273 ton French trawler JEANNE GOUGY, ran ashore and capsized on the Armed Knight off Land's End.
The crew were trapped in an air pocket in the wheelhouse for 6 hours until low tide when they were rescued by breeches buoy & helicopter.
Of the eighteen crew, twelve lost their lives.
A Westland Whirlwind of 22 Squadron, hovered above the stricken fishing vessel and Sergeant Eric Smith volunteered to be lowered down to rescue a trawlermen from inside the wheel house. The wheel house was continually being submerged by breaking waves.
Having been ordered to remain attached to the winch wire, he entered the vessel's wheel house, continually having to take a deep breath of air and hold his breath while the wheel house was submerged before the waves receded again.
Once inside the wheel house he found two survivors, which he rescued separately. A report of a possible third survivor required Eric Smith to enter the wheel house yet again and crawl along a passageway towards the radio room to look for the survivor. None was found, but before being able to return to the helicopter he had to disentangle the winch wire from the hub of the ship's wheel; the wheel house and passageway continually being engulfed by the sea. Sergeant Eric Smith was awarded a George Medal for his heroic actions.
The Penlee lifeboat, 'Solomon Browne' joined the Sennen Lifeboat in searching for survivors. The lifeboat's were instructed to stand by the wreck until the Coastguards had given up all hope of finding survivors.
No further survivors were found.
Crew members; Coxswain Jack WORTH, 2nd Coxswain Harry BLEWETT, Bowman Arnold GARTRELL, Mechanic Clarry WILLIAMS, Assistant Mechanic Owen LADNER, Crew - Jimmy MADRON, Marrack TORRIE and Nim BAWDEN.