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Port Eynon lifeboat disaster

On 1 January 1916 the steamer Dunvegan ran aground and two men home on wartime leave volunteered to make up the crew of the Port Eynon lifeboat, Janet.

The seas were so rough they couldn’t get near the striken Dunvegan so they dropped anchor to wait for calmer conditions and after a few hours the Dunvegan crew were rescued by a land-based rocket team.

The lifeboatmen turned for home, but they capsized and the whole crew went overboard. When they struggled back onboard they realised that the Second Coxswain and another crewman were missing.

The lifeboat then capsized again and the Coxswain also failed to climb back on board when the lifeboat righted, so the remaining crew did their best to stay warm and finally got back to Mumbles at dawn the following day.

The missing men were Coxswain Billy Gibbs, Second Coxswain William Eynon and Crewman George Harry and the memorial to their bravery can be seen in the churchyard in Port Eynon.