A poignant memorial service has been held for RNLI volunteers who died in the Fraserburgh lifeboat disaster 50 years ago.
More than 300 people, among them Princess Anne, packed into the Old Parish Church on Sunday to remember their sacrifice.
The Duchess of Kent lifeboat was overturned by a freak wave in gale-force conditions while escorting a Danish fishing vessel to safety.
The tragedy, on January 21 1970, left five women widowed and 15 children mourning the loss of a father.
Coxswain John Stephen and crew members William Hadden, James Buchan and James RS Buchan, along with the missing mechanic Frederick Kirkness, lost their lives.
The only survivor was John Jackson Buchan, 44, the second engineer. It was Jackson who had the heartbreaking task of relaying the tragic message: “From lifeboat. Four men dead.”
During the service to mark the disaster, the Princess Royal gave a reading of Psalm 46, and Mark Hadden, who has been volunteering with the RLNI since August 2018, read a moving poem by his grandfather William Hadden, who died in the 1970 disaster.
It referred to the Fraserburgh fishing boat disaster of October 1959.
Following the service, wreaths were laid by the memorial at the lifeboat station as crowds looked on.
Mr Hadden said: “The lifeboat disaster is imprinted in everyone from Fraserburgh’s minds.
“Every one of those men should be remembered for what they gave and sacrificed that day.
“I know that I will always remember what they gave, and I hope that we will always take the time to remember their sacrifice.”
Coxswain of the current lifeboat, Vic Sutherland, said: “The service was very well supported with a lot of families in attendance, as well as the Princess Royal.
“The fact she was there makes it something special that all these families will remember when they think back on the 50th anniversary.”
He said the tragedy and those who gave their lives to help others lived on in the memory of every crew member.
MP David Duguid also attended the service and said: “I was honoured to attend this memorial event, which had particular resonance on the 50th anniversary of the tragedy.
“It is easy for those not involved in the industry to forget the perils of heading out to sea to make a living.”
While on service with the RNLI between 1959-1970, The Duchess of Kent lifeboat launched 23 times and saved 13 lives.
After the disaster of 1970, the lifeboat station became temporarily non-operational.
Fraserburgh’s current lifeboat is a Trent class all-weather lifeboat, The Willie and May Gall, which has been on station since 2002.
Today another short service will be held to mark the actual date of the disaster at Fraserburgh Lifeboat Station.