Ben Doran

In 1930, the 9-man crew of the SS Ben Doran was overcome by the sea at Ve Skeries, three miles northwest of Papa Stour on the Shetland coast. A memorial to them was duly erected at Melby Cemetery. Two vessels went to its rescue, the Smiling Morn and the Arora. Owing to awful conditions, shallow reefs and a "tide lump" (a Zetlandic term for a fast intensification of tidal activity), they could not approach the ailing vessel, and were doomed to watch the surviving crewmen clinging to the mast from afar. Smiling Morn's skipper, John Jamieson, was tied down by his own crew to prevent a suicidal rescue mission. By the time the Stromness Lifeboat arrived, the ship was all but gone.

Tragedies at sea always fill me with sorrow; there was nowhere safe the crew can go; they can only hope the raging sea somehow spares them. Lifeboats and others may come to assist, but they too are endangered by the reefs, the rock and the waves.

When the Lord Jesus came to earth to effect our race’s deliverance, He too was harmed, mauled, scarred and broken by the world He came to save. Though the mission was appallingly dangerous and costly, He still came, jumping in our raging ocean of death and safely delivering a people to New Jerusalem’s fair haven.

Eternal Father, strong to save,

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

Who bid'st the mighty ocean deep

Its own appointed limits keep;

O hear us when we cry to Thee,

For those in peril on the sea.


O Christ, Whose voice the waters heard

And hushed their raging at Thy word,

Who walkedst on the foaming deep,

And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;

O hear us when we cry to Thee,

For those in peril on the sea.

-John Dykes