Lifeboat Mona

Lifeboat Mona

The Mona was a lifeboat based at Broughty Ferry in Scotland, that capsized during a rescue attempt, with the loss of the lives of the crew. The Mona was built in 1935, and, in its time, saved 118 lives.

The loss of the Mona

At 0313 hours on 8 December 1959, the Mona, captained by Alexander Gall, was launched to assist the North Carr Lightship which was reported adrift in St Andrews Bay. Weather conditions were exceptionally severe with a strong south-easterly gale and the Broughty Ferry Lifeboat was the only boat in the area able to launch. The Mona was seen clearing the Tay and heading south into St Andrews Bay. Her last radio message was timed at 4.48am, and after a helicopter search she was found capsized on Buddon Sands. Her crew of eight were all drowned. The North Carr reef is off the coast of Fife and the Lightship was later replaced by a beacon and is now berthed at Dundee harbour. The Mona disaster was the subject of an official investigation, in which the boat was described as having been 100% seaworthy at the time of the accident.

According to a letter to the Dundee "Evening Telegraph", in January 2006, "Among some seamen, it was believed the vessel was tainted with evil, and they resolved to exorcise the boat in a 'viking ritual'". The Mona was taken to Port Seton on the river Forth in the dead of night, stripped of anything of value, chained to the sea wall, and burnt. The burning was done with the knowledge and permission of Lord Saltoun, the chairman of the Scottish Lifeboat Council. Questions were raised in the House of Commons about the destruction of a lifeboat built with public subscription.

It is thought the Mona’s fate was partly responsible for a considerable dip in public contributions and legacies for the lifeboats over the next few years.

The incident was immortalised in song by Peggy Seeger

Names of crewmen

*Ronald Grant
*George Smith
*Alexander Gall
*John Grieve
*George Watson
*James Ferrier
*John J Grieve
*David Anderson

Their names are commemorated on a plaque on the side of the present day boat house.

There is also a song called "The Lifeboat Mona" commemorating it's great achievements and the hardships the crew endured while saving the other ship when they sadly drowned.


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