A replica ship’s bell from the Swedish cargo ship the MS Finneagle has been rehoused at RAF Lossiemouth’s Quick Reaction Alert force.
The MS Finneagle was caught in terrible weather in October 1980 as it returned to Sweden, and the severe weather caused the cargo to loose and catch fire. Surviving several hours on a burning ship in a severe storm, the captain of the Finneagle and his entire crew were eventually rescued by the RAF Search and Rescue (SAR) crew from RAF Lossiemouth in what was a dramatic and heroic event.
The bell was presented to the SAR crew by the owners of the ship as a mark of gratitude for the efforts of the RAF personnel who had completed the three hour rescue of the 22 on board the cargo ship. The crew’s efforts were recognised by the award of several bravery medals to each of them.
With the transfer of the UK search and rescue service to the Department for Transport completed in 2016, the RAF Search and Rescue service was disbanded and D Flight, the SAR flight at RAF Lossiemouth, was no more. The final boss of D Flight thought it appropriate that the Finneagle bell be passed on to the other force at RAF Lossiemouth that was on call to protect the people of the UK, and so the bell was rehomed at the Quick Reaction Alert facility at RAF Lossiemouth.
The full story of the rescue of those aboard the MS Finneagle, written by a member of the RAF SAR crew involved, can be seen online at: http://www.aircrew-saltire.org/lib139.html
Group Captain Jim Walls, Station Commander at RAF Lossiemouth, said:
“The Finneagle bell represents the the heroic efforts of the RAF Search and Rescue crew who showed extraordinary bravery and tenacity to rescue the 22 people on board that ship all those years ago.
“It’s very apt that we still have the bell here at RAF Lossiemouth, and housed in a place where RAF crews are still on standby 24/7 to protect the people of the United Kingdom.”