It was after eight o’clock when the Henry Vernon returned to Whitby harbour. The rescue had taken over two hours. Crowds lined the piers. There was cheering, ships’ sirens sounding and church bells ringing to greet the fifty men who spent fifty two hours on the wreck.
They were suffering from delayed shock and nearly all needed assistance to climb out of the lifeboat and up the stone steps. Only the Captain went ashore unaided. His wife Helen was there to greet him and his first request was for a cigarette.
Buck Eastwood could see several people he knew from Barnoldswick, but none of his former shipmates. Fred Reddiough was still in the Cottage Hospital. Anthony Waterworth had been quickly pronounced fit and posted back to Chatham. Harry Barter’s body lay in the Lifeboat Station, which had become a temporary mortuary. William Anderson and the other ten would never be found.
Copyright © Ken Wilson 1981