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Point Law Rescue

On July 14th 1975, the Sir William Arnold had already been out on service and was returning with a fishing boat in tow at around 1am into the harbour.

With the Lifeboat back on its moorings, the crew were in their boarding boat heading ashore when a MAYDAY was received from another vessel. The Point Law was a 1500 ton tanker on passage from Guernsey to the Isle of Grain aground on the South Western tip of Alderney.


The wind was force 6 gusting to force 8 making very rough conditions as the lifeboat left the shelter of Guernsey. Arriving on scene at about 2:45am, the lifeboat illuminated the scene with parachute flares, search lights and the Aldis Lamp. What it revealed was the hoped for access to the port side was precluded, being so close to the rocky shore at the base of the cliffs.

With the tide falling there was no immediate danger, but the wind was now a steady Force 8 and the Point Law’s master was anxious that six of the crew be taken off straight away. The coxswain advised it would be best to wait until daylight, unless any of the crew were injured.

At first light, the ships life raft was launched and six men boarded her from the ships ladder. The lifeboats Y class inflatable was rowed from the lifeboat and veered down to the life raft with large waves constantly swamping both the two small craft.


After four successful trips, it was decided to dangerous to transfer the two remaining seaman, one of whom was in a Neil Robertson Stretcher. The Y class and the life raft were then hauled back to the lifeboat.


It was now about 5am. With a helicopter now standing by, the Lifeboat set off for Alderney to land the six seamen. The SWA didn’t stay there long, by 9am she was heading back out to the Point Law to stand by her again as a tow was attempted. The conditions at the time thwarted this attempt and the remaining 6 crew were airlifted by French Helicopter. The Lifeboat stood by until the operation was completed, departing for St Peter Port at 11:15am.

For this service, Coxswain John PETIT received a bar to his bronze medal. The bronze medal was also awarded to Emergency Mechanic John Robilliard. Medal certificates were awarded to the remaining Lifeboat crew.

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