Station history

Established by the Institution in 1874. It covers the north side of the Pentland Firth and strategically is in a good position. The station has done some fine services on this extremely difficult and dangerous coast.

1874

Lifeboat house constructed at a cost of £250.

1891

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Benjamin Stout in recognition of his gallantry when rescuing 22 men from the ss Victoria of Sunderland which was sinking in the Pentland Firth on 3 March 1891. Eleven of the rescued crew were Germans and the Emperor of Germany presented a gold watch to the coxswain and £24 to the crew of the lifeboat.

1900

Silver Second-Service clasp awarded to Coxswain Benjamin Stout on his retirement.

1906

Silver Medals awarded to William Cheyne, Daniel Fiddler, William Groat, Edward Jamieson, Bremner Taylor and William Taylor, all fishermen, for putting off in a boat and saving nine of the crew of 11 of the ss Dinnington of Sunderland, wrecked on 16/17 February 1906 on the Island of Switha.

New lifeboat house and slipway constructed at a cost of £2,700.

1930

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain John Swanson for the rescue of the crew of nine of the Aberdeen steam trawler Braconmoor which went ashore on Tor Ness Point on 5 January 1930. It was a rescue in very difficult circumstances carried out with skill and gallantry.

1932

Silver Second-Service clasp awarded to Coxswain John Swanson for the rescue of eight of the crew of the trawler Dorbie of Hull wrecked at Tor Ness on 9 January 1932. It was a dangerous and trying service skilfully and gallantly carried out.

1936

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain William Dass for the rescue of 41 men from the French trawler Neptunia of Le Havre which ran ashore at Brims Ness on 21 February 1936. It was a service skilfully and courageously carried out in conditions made more difficult by the intense darkness. The searchlight was in use the whole time.

1946

The Institution’s Thanks on Vellum was awarded to Mr William Sutherland who retired after serving since 1922 as the honorary secretary at Longhope lifeboat had rescued 272 lives. In 1932 Mr Sutherland was awarded the Institution’s inscribed binoculars and in the same year he won an inscribed barometer for his energy and initiative in directing a very difficult and dangerous service when the lifeboat rescued the crew of the Hull trawler Dorbie. Mr Sutherland was succeeded as honorary secretary by his daughter, Miss M Sutherland.

1951

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Alfred Johnston for the rescue of the crew of 40 from the Swedish tanker Oljaren which went ashore on 12/13 April 1951 in a service lasting 23 hours.

1959

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Daniel Kirkpatrick for the rescue by breeches buoy of the crew of 14 of the trawler Strathcoe which was ashore in Pentland Firth on 4 February 1959.

1960

Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Daniel Kirkpatrick for attempting a service to the Aberdeen trawler George Robb, aground on Duncansby Head on 7 December 1959.  A whole gale, Force 10, gusting to storm Force 11, was blowing from the south east, it was overcast, with squally conditions and poor visibility. There was a steep confused sea in the Pentland Firth and the lifeboat took a terrible pounding. The trawler was lost with all hands and although the lifeboat was unable to render any assistance the conditions prevailing imposed a considerable degree of hardship on the coxswain and crew. 

Coxswain Daniel Kirkpatrick received a gift from the James Michael Bower Endowment Fund. This fund was established in 1955 by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company as a memorial to James Michael Bower, late third officer of the ss Stratheden who lost his life in a disaster. Awards from the funds are made to those who receive either the Gold or Silver Medal of the RNLI for gallantry.

1964

The Silver Second-Service clasp awarded to Coxswain Daniel Kirkpatrick for the rescue of nine of the crew of the Aberdeen trawler Ben Barvas by breeches buoy which had gone ashore on the Pentland Skerries on 3/4 January 1964. Five more survivors were landed by the lifeboat from another trawler. Coxswain Kirkpatrick also received a gift from the James Michael Bower Endowment Fund.

1968

The Silver Third-Service clasp awarded to Coxswain Daniel Kirkpatrick for the rescue of 15 lives from the trawler Ross Puma of Grimsby, which was wrecked on the Little Rackwick Shoals on 1 April 1968. Coxswain Kirkpatrick also received the Maud Smith Award for the bravest act of life-saving in 1968 and a gift from James Michael Bower Endowment Fund.

1969

On 17 March the lifeboat T.G.B ON962, capsized while on service to the Liberian vessel Irene and her entire crew of eight lost their lives. They left seven widows, one widowed mother and eight children, all of whom were pensioned by the Institution. Their names were Coxswain Daniel Kirkpatrick, Second Coxswain James Johnston (son of Mechanic), Bowman Daniel R Kirkpatrick (son of Coxswain), Mechanic Robert R Johnston, Assistant Mechanic James Swanson, Crew Member Robert Johnston (son of Mechanic), Crew Member John T Kirkpatrick (son of Coxswain), Crew Member Eric McFadyen.

1973

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Jack Leslie for the rescue of the crew of 11 of the trawler Ross Tern which was hard aground on the Tarf Tail, Swona Island in a moderate north westerly wind, heavy snow showers and a very confused sea in the early hours of 10 February 1973.

1974

Celebration Centenary Vellum awarded to station.

1988

Tyne class lifeboat sent to station.

1989

Adaptation work was carried out in order to accommodate the Tyne class lifeboat, which was placed on service early 1988. This included the installation of a new fuel storage tank, the extension of the slipway bilgeways and replacement to the bottom sections of the slipway keelway channel.

1990

Crewroom and toilet facility constructed in the roof space of the boathouse.

1999

Framed Chairman’s Letter of Thanks presented to Coxswain Ian McFadyen and the crew of the Longhope lifeboat for the part they played in the service to the blazing chemical tanker Multitank Ascania on 19 March 1999. During this service Mechanic John Budge broke his leg. Coxswain William Farquhar of Thurso lifeboat was awarded the Bronze Medal of the Institution for his part in this service.

Arun class lifeboat RNLB Sir Max Aitken II, ON1098 placed on service 12 August 1999.

2001

Following the visit on 25 June 2001 by the Coast Review delegation, led by Admiral Sir Jock Slater, it was agreed by the Search and Rescue Committee on 3 October 2001 and resolved by the Executive Committee at their meeting on 28 November 2001 that the allocation of a Severn class lifeboat be rescinded and that Longhope be earmarked for an early allocation of a Fast Slipway Boat (FSB2) in due course.

2003

A breakwater and pontoon berth completed in April at a cost of £450,000.

2004

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Kevin Kirkpatrick in recognition of his leadership and seamanship when the lifeboat saved three people and the yacht Dasher in appalling weather conditions on 27 August 2004. Mechanic John Budge received a Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution for his role during this service. Wind speeds of up to 85 knots were recorded during this service.

2006

The new station Tamar class lifeboat ON1284 Helen Comrie was placed on service on 26 October 2006. Arun class lifeboat ON1149 The Queen Mother has been withdrawn.

2007

Bronze Medal for Gallantry awarded to Doctor Christine Bradshaw, a local GP, who went out on the lifeboat on 11 November 2006 to assist three seriously injured men on the tanker FR8 Venture. In horrendous northwesterly force 12 winds and a 15metre swell, she was winched from the lifeboat onto the tanker. Two of the men were dead, but she treated the third badly injured man and was recovered with him back onto the helicopter and transferred to hospital. Coxswain Kevin Kirkpatrick and his crew and Captain Noble and the crew of the helicopter received a collective Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution Admiral Sir Jock Slater. This was the first major service by a new Tamar class lifeboat. Conditions were such that the helicopter pilot commented that he had never seen a lifeboat fly before.

At the AGM of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society held on 9 October 2007 a special commendation was awarded to Dr Bradshaw for her actions on 11 November 2006.

MEDALS

Sixteen Medals have been awarded, 13 Silver and three Bronze, the last being voted 1973.

FOREIGN AWARDS

1891 Emperor of Germany awarded gold watch to Coxswain B Stout and gave monetary gift to the crew for the rescue of 22 persons, including 11 Germans, from the ss Victoria of Sunderland.

1924 King of Sweden gave Cups of Honour to crew for the rescue of eight from the ss Citos of Helsingborn on 12 September 1903.

1936 French Government awarded Coxswain Dass a Silver Medal and the rest of the crew Bronze Medals for the rescue of 41 from ST Neptunia of Le Harvre

1952 Swedish Government gave monetary grant to crew for the rescue of 40 from MT Oljaren of Gothenburg.

1956 King of Norway awarded the Silver Medal to Coxswain D Kirkpatrick in recognition of the services of the lifeboat to the ss Dovrefjell in February.

1969 In December the Greek Academy of Arts made posthumous awards for gallantry to the crew of the lifeboat which were lost in the disaster on 17 March. The awards took the form of documents recording citations.