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The helicopter arrived on scene and began to airlift two of the injured lifeboat crew in extremely hazardous conditions. With the lifeboat moving violently backwards and forwards, this manouvre took a full hour to complete. The helicopter winchman with a crew member in a stretcher were suddenly left hanging as the lifeboat dropped 15ft into a trough. The winchman somersaulted over the guard rail, whilst the stretcher with crew member in was flung into the air and slammed against the lifeboat as it rose again on the next wave. Eventually all three remaining survivors were air lifted and flown to Guernsey whilst the lifeboat began her slow journey back to St Peter Port.

For this service the Coxswain Peter Bisson received the Silver Medal for Gallantry and the crew – Thanks of the Institution on Vellum.

matam ii


On Sunday August 11th 1985 at 09:50hrs The Sir William Arnold slipped her moorings, following reports from a cliff top walker that a yacht was in difficulties at Corbiere in a Force 9 gale.


Heavy seas were encountered and rain squalls also reduced visibility. The lifeboat was shipping heavy sea as she steamed south. The yacht in distress was the 20ft French Yacht "Matam II"I with three people on board. In force 8-9 winds and heavy breaking seas she was plunging heavily. As the lifeboat approached bow first, stern to the sea, a heaving line was thrown and despite instructions to the contrary the skipper tied the line around the mast. 

Almost instantly the line parted. With heavy seas washing over the stern of the lifeboat, the Y class inflatable was launched with threw crew members on board. Another heaving line was thrown from the lifeboat, this time the towline was fastened successfully.


Only two hours after the lifeboat launched, she and the yacht were back in St Peter Port harbour.


For this service – a bar to his bronze medal was awarded to second coxswain Peter BISSON. Thanks to the Institution inscribed on Vellum awarded to Alan Martel, Michael GUILE and bronze medal certificates to the remainder of the crew; Motor mechanic Robert Vowles, crew members John Webster, John BOUGARD, Keith Martel, Richard HAMON, Anthony WHITE and John Le PAGE.

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