A COMMUNITY has taken part in a service to remember six men who were lost agonisingly close to safety when their lifeboat was engulfed by a huge wave exactly 60 years ago.

The six men died when their lifeboat Robert Lindsay was lost just minutes from the harbour of Arbroath, after a fruitless search for a vessel in distress.

Their sacrifice was recalled yesterday at church services in the Angus town and, at 3pm, the all-weather lifeboat RNLB Inchcape was launched to allow the crew to lay a wreath near the site of the tragedy.

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They were accompanied by their minister, the Rev Alastair Morrice of Abroath's Old & Abbey Church, who said a prayer.

Alex Smith, lifeboat operations manager at Arbroath, said: "It went very well. We went as close to the site as the wind and motion of the sea would allow us.

"There was a good turn out from the town to remember what was the darkest day in our history here at Arbroath Lifeboat Station. The sacrifice of those lost has been and continues to be an inspiration to generations of crewmen. Unfortunately it also serves as a stark reminder of the risks that volunteer lifeboat crews face to help others at sea."

It was still dark at 6am on a cold, wet and stormy October in 1953 when the lifeboat was overwhelmed by the sea breaking over it and was flung on the rocky foreshore at Inchcape Park. Six of the seven-strong crew perished.

The only survivor was Archibald Smith, who was able to grab a rope fired across the boat by local people on the shore. David Bruce, Harry Swankie, William Swankie, Thomas Adams, David Cargill and Charles Cargill all died.