How Brixham fishermen rescued 70 after U-boat attack

This feature is dedicated to William Pillar – Captain of a fishing smack out of Brixham who, with three crew and two boys, saved seventy Naval personnel from a watery grave in the First World War after their Battleship sank. It was on New Year’s Day 1915 at 2am that the battleship HMS Formidable was patrolling in Start Bay on the Devon coast when a German U-boat spotted her and, having fired two torpedoes, ensured the Formidable then sank. With the watertight doors closed, most of the crew luckily assembled on deck while scrambling for the lifeboats. There had been 790 sailors aboard the Battleship but only 201 would survive and of these 71 would be rescued by Provident, a fishing smack out of Brixham under the command of Pillar and a small crew. The lucky sailors had been adrift for 12 hours when the “smack”, returning to Brixham, spotted their small Navy cutter.  Captain Pillar knew of the dangers he now faced, yet on his fourth attempt he successfully had a line aboard the cutter despite huge seas and the dangers to all men. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:27

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