On the 75th anniversary of one of the most daring and dangerous lifeboat rescues on the island of Ireland, a new song will be released to commemorate the great success and to honour the men involved.
On December 7, 1940 the Dutch steamer Stolwijk ran aground off the coast of Donegal in hurricane force winds. The crew of the Arranmore lifeboat risked their lives to rescue 18 men in the worst weather conditions that locals can remember before or since.
Jerry Early a native of Arranmore was aware of the rescue from a young age and although most of the crew were still alive during his childhood, the men involved rarely if ever spoke about that night. It was not their way to seek praise or indulge in self congratulation.
The Lifeboat Association, however, recognised their exceptional efforts with a gold medal for coxswain Jack Boyle and silver and bronze medals for his crew, this honour was replicated with medals from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. This is one of only three gold medal crews in the history of Irish lifeboats.
The story of December 1940 stayed with Jerry and last year he finally decided it was time these heroes were given a fitting tribute. Along with John Gallagher he composed a song dedicated to the memory of the crew and their actions that night, the resultant song entitled simply, ‘I’ll Go’ will be released on Monday – 75 years after the rescue.
The song has been described as not just a ballad but a piece of local history come to life.
The first airing of the song can be heard on Highland radio on Monday night on the Jimmy Stafford show between 9pm and 10pm.
Any profits resulting in the sale of the track will go towards a lasting memorial to the crew.