Stranded yachtsmen “lit rags” to warn other boats

1.9.55'Lytham Lifeboat rescue
1.9.55'Lytham Lifeboat rescue
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Back in 1955, the Lytham lifeboat came to the rescue of a stricken yacht on the River Ribble.

And the rescue party’s arrival back on the shore was captured on camera by a photographer from our sister paper, the Lytham St Annes Express

The crew of the disabled yacht. From left:  John Scragg (Ansdell), Fred H Westrope (Penwortham), Ernest Stocker (Lytham), the owner, and Ron Mallet (Warrington)

The crew of the disabled yacht. From left: John Scragg (Ansdell), Fred H Westrope (Penwortham), Ernest Stocker (Lytham), the owner, and Ron Mallet (Warrington)

The 33ft auxiliary yacht Anne Agnes had suffered engine trouble in the busy River Ribble shipping lane – five miles from Lytham Pier. The Express reported a “stiff breeze” was blowing.

Before her rescue, the yacht – a Morecambe Bay prawner – was narrowly missed by a vessel bound for Preston Dock. The crew of the Anne Agnes lit paraffin-soaked rags to warn shipping of her presence near the mouth of the river.

A pilot saw it and reported the vessel was in distress.

The lifeboat, the 701, returned with the Anne Agnes two hours later.

Lifeboatmen and members of the crew of the auxiliary yacht Anne Agnes alight at Lytham

Lifeboatmen and members of the crew of the auxiliary yacht Anne Agnes alight at Lytham

On board were owner Ernest Stocker, 34, of Warton Street, Lytham, John Scragg, 50, of Albany Road, Ansdell, Ron Mallet, 23, of Warrington, and Fred Westrope, 32, of Penwortham.