Tribute paid to rescue hero Bill Deacon – 25 years on

The 25th anniversary of the dramatic rescue of the crew of the Green Lily off Bressay – and the tragic death of Coastguard winchman Bill Deacon – was remembered this weekend.

The Green Lily had left Lerwick Harbour with a cargo of fish in the face of storm force winds – later criticised by accident investigators.

She lost power off Bressay.

In a dramatic rescue operation on 19th November, 1997, in storm force 11 winds, the Lerwick Lifeboat plucked five crew off the vessel and the Coastguard airlifted 10 to safety, with Mr Deacon as winchman. He was tragically swept into the sea.

A cairn was erected in his memory at Grutwick in Bressay and a wreath was laid there this weekend with the Coastguard rescue helicopter crew in attendance.

In a post on Facebook Bristow Group, operators of the rescue helicopter, said: “Working in the most severe and demanding conditions Billy managed to save the lives of 10 men before he was, tragically, lost overboard. His actions earned him the posthumous award of the George Medal.

“We will always remember his courage, sacrifice and service. He will never be forgotten. The Sumburgh SAR crew were joined by members of HM Coastguard and their families as they laid a wreath in memory of Billy.”


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