Like all Coast Radio Stations, GKR had a long history of communicating with Lifeboats and lighthouse stations. Sundays were a favourite time to hear these stations on-air as they came up for their routine tests on 2182kHz.
While most communications with lifeboats were of a routine nature, when they launched on a rescue mission it generally meant something serious. The area round the north of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland is not prolific in pleasure craft; so many lifeboat launches were to the aid of commercial vessels and very often in foul weather conditions, often with daring rescues being carried out by the lifeboat crews.
Inevitably, the work of the lifeboat service brought it's own disasters. This was the case for two of Wick Radio's associated lifeboat stations - at Longhope, when 8 lives were lost, and Fraserburgh, when 4 lives were lost.
The town of Wick, of course, has it's own lifeboat and two of the station's staff, Robbie Sutherland and Jimmy (Wylie) Begg (wearing orange survival suit in picture), served on the volunteer crew.
Date14th February 1940 Left Moorings or Slipway 1-30 am Returned 9-30 am
Motor Working 8 Hours Wind SWest State of Sea Moderate
Informed that vessel was on fire 10/12 miles off. Proceeded there with all speed and searched around a tanker discovering only one empty ships boat. Continued searching over a wide area and was in touch with Wick Radio. Though we searched the sea till long after daylight we found no survivors so returned to moorings.
William J Mowatt