Easy as she goes . . . Oceanic lifeboat gets new home

THE REMAINS of a large lifeboat reputed to be from the White Star liner Oceanic were moved to a new home in Cunningsburgh last Friday.

Cunningsburgh History Group members Jack Duncan, Alan Halcrow and Alan Nicolson were responsible for moving the boat from Quee, where it had been in the yard for many years and turned into a workshop, hence the small window in one side.

The Oceanic, which had been converted as a merchant cruiser, was wrecked on the Shaalds of Foula during the First World War while heading north to join the 10th cruiser squadron.

Before the lifeboat’s move a lot of preparatory work was carried out by Jack and Alan in the hope that it could be lifted without falling apart. A wooden framework was built inside as a support and heavy wooden battens placed underneath so that lifting stropps could be attached.

Andrew had brought along one of his lorries equipped with an onboard crane to lift the boat. This went very smoothly considering the condition of the boat and the fact that it had not been moved in many years.

Andrew had to back his lorry very carefully out of the yard and drive a few miles south to Broonie’s Taing where the history group had been allotted storage space in a huge shed which had originally been built during the early days of the oil industry.

Getting the lorry into position inside the shed tested Andrew’s driving skills to the limit and eventually the boat was safely unloaded, a tribute to the combined skills of Andrew, Jack and Alan. The boat will remain there until they can find a proper site at which to display it.


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