The great grandson of a Scarborough lifeboatman who died on a rescue mission is telling the tragic tale in a song to raise funds for the RNLI.
Frank Dalton was killed in a horrific accident in tumultuous seas on December 9, 1951.
More than 60 years after his death, his great grandson, professional musician Daniel Webster has written a song about his ancestor’s heroism.
He is also running in the Great North Run in Newcastle on September 16 and the Chester Marathon on October 7 to raise funds for the RNLI.
The song, entitled Frank Dalton, will be released on iTunes on October 5.
The Daltons were once a big family in Scarborough. Several generations fished out of the harbour, says Dan, whose grandfather, Jack Dalton, lived in Quay Street and Cooks Row before he died 2009.
“The Dalton heritage is gone now so my fundraising helps keep the Dalton connection with the seafront community going,” said Dan.
The accident that took Frank Dalton’s life started when the 499-ton Dutch merchant ship Westkust was reported to be sinking 26 miles off Scarborough. One lifeboat had been lost and the other damaged.
The ECJR lifeboat was launched at 11.30am, but the sea was so rough the lifeboat took 7.5 hours to reach the stricken vessel. Two lifeboatmen, Mr Dalton and mechanic Tom Mainprize, boarded the Westkust to assess the situation. Coxswain John Sheader took the lifeboat alongside and the Westkust’s crew jumped in.
On the lifeboat’s next approach, Mr Mainprize jumped safely aboard but a big wave suddenly separated the boats and Mr Dalton was left hanging from the Westkust’s rail. The sea then threw the boats back together, crushing Mr Dalton, who fell onto the lifeboat, his pelvis smashed.
The lifeboat headed straight for the nearest port, Bridlington, but by the time it arrived, at 1.30am, Mr Dalton had died.
He is one of 16 Scarborough lifeboatmen who died in service and whose names are on a memorial plaque at the lifeboathouse.Above the names is the inscription: “In loving memory of those who have given their lives rescuing those in peril on the sea”.
Scarborough lifeboat station’s operations manager, Steve Parker, said: “We are extremely grateful to people like Dan for their fundraising efforts for the RNLI.”