The Penlee Boathouse and Slipway

Awaiting update


Tragedy on the slipway

Jimmy Hocking Pentreath, a Mousehole man, aged 78 years, who had a life-long association with the Penlee lifeboat, died doing a job that he loved. At 4.10pm on 30th December 1961 in a slight sea and light NE breeze the Solomon Browne lifeboat launched from Penlee Point following a call for a doctor to go to the British Shell tanker VARICELLA. Doctor and ambulance crew were embarked at Newlyn and they reached the tanker at 5.10pm about 6 miles south of Penzance. The sick man, suffering from appendicitis, was taken aboard the lifeboat and landed in Newlyn at 6.15pm. The Solomon Browne lifeboat arrived back on station at 6.30pm - as she was about to be hauled up the keelway of the slip a heavy sea carried the lifeboat broadside for about 10 feet, pulling the wire winch hawser with her. Jimmy Pentreath, who was part of the shore-crew, was caught on the legs by the hawser, knocked off the slip into the sea, and was killed instantly. Another member of the shore-crew, Bob Blewett, aged 70 years, was also swept into the sea with a number of broken ribs. He was brought out unconscious with serious injuries but later recovered.