The Ballad of Lifeboat 954

Nine five four, built on Watson’s lines,
She lay inside these walls, it’s here she served her time.
Standing ready to assist those in peril on the seas,
Although her house stands empty now, I see her in my dreams,
I see her in my dreams.

Timber-built in the sixties, named the Solomon Browne,
A hundred and twenty horse power, she made nine knots per hour.
She launched in weather calm and rough, in sun and fog and rain,
She made the slipway for to roar, she caused the winch to strain.

See the christmas lights twinkle in the dawn,
There’s a red sky overhead, a fierce impending storm.
The Union Star, her maiden voyage, it’s down the channel she must go,
With passengers and crew on board and it’s coming on to blow,
It’s coming on to blow.

At six o’clock that night, the Union’s engines failed,
She’s lying ahull, and she’s riding out the gale.
Salt water in her fuel tanks, waves breaking on her beam,
Storm force winds just west of South, the worse they’d ever seen.

Nine five four, built on Watson’s lines,
She lay inside these walls, it’s here she served her time.
Standing ready to assist those in peril on the seas,
Although her house stands empty now, I see her in my dreams,
I see her in my dreams.

This is Penlee lifeboat calling Union Star:
We understand you had trouble with the chopper,
The Union Star she’s anchored now, the seas break mountains high,
The lifeboat comes around again for another try.

The pilot hovers low, he sees the Solomon Browne,
Nearly breaks her back as on the Union’s deck she’s thrown
Bears witness to her bravery as she takes off four,
Then sees her standing out to see, so close to Kernow shore,
So close to Kernow shore.

Nine five four, built on Watson’s lines,
She lay inside these walls, it’s here she served her time.
Standing ready to assist those in peril on the seas,
Although her house stands empty now, I see her in my dreams,
I see her in my dreams.

Outside a shrieking gale, the weather’s closing in, There’s matchwood on the shore, there’s diesel on the wind, There’s friends and family listening not knowing if she’s there, R eight zero to Penlee lifeboat, if you read me fire a flare, If you read me fire a flare.

Hold them in your hearts, those men who made you proud. Let your tears fall and say their names aloud, Though years pass by like falling leaves and many things have changed, It still feels like yesterday, you’ll miss them just the same. You’ll miss them just the same.