20th January 1961

Hanois Lighthouse is cut off by the weather

Hanois Lighthouse sits on a treacherous reef that has caused many wrecks and the loss of several lives over the years. Officials, sailors and even exiled author Victor Hugo had campaigned for Trinity House, the UK lighthouse authority, to build a lighthouse on it for years. The foundation stone was finally laid in 1860, and the building completed a couple of years later.

Almost a century on, the seas were proving definitively why its construction had been so important. The winter weather of January 1961 had whipped them into a frenzy and prevented the regular supply boat from visiting the lighthouse keepers.

This wasn’t a problem to begin with. Being cut off now and then was part and parcel of being a lighthouse keeper, since they live and work in some of the most inhospitable locations imaginable. Yet, as the days wore on, things started to get more serious.

Emergency supplies flown in

By early February the lighthouse had been without fresh supplies for two weeks and the Royal Navy was drafted in to help.

A pair of Whirlwind helicopters from HMS Osprey, the air station established at Portland in 1917, flew on a mercy mission to replenish the outpost. Over the course of six flights – three each – they delivered coke for heating, mail and, perhaps most important of all, forty barrels of fresh water.

Hanois Lighthouse was automated in 1996, allowing Trinity House to retire its keepers. However, the authority still oversees its operations, and both owns and maintains the lighthouse itself. Further evidence of its activity on Guernsey persists in the shape of the Trinity House Cottages at Portelet.


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Other events that occured in January

Alderney elects its first president 1st
Guille and Alles open their library 2nd
Guernsey bans smoking in public places 3rd
Guernsey Press registers its domain 4th
Guernsey Zoo is sold as a going concern 5th
Guernsey opens its wartime files
Guernsey Police moves to its new headquarters 6th
Guernsey Fisher makes its maiden voyage 7th
Work begins on the Val des Terres 8th
A hotel porter goes on trial for murder 9th
Guernsey Police Service appoints its first inspector 10th
Royal theft inquiry heads to Guernsey 11th
Channel Express Airways plane crashes in Guernsey 12th
Sibyl Hathaway, Dame of Sark, is born 13th
Channel Television disappears 14th
Benefactor Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx dies 15th
MV Prosperity is wrecked at Perelle 16th
Guernsey’s Royal Court sits for the first time 17th
Doctor Who travels to Guernsey 18th
Channel 4 gameshow Treasure Hunt comes to Guernsey 19th
Hanois Lighthouse is cut off by the weather 20th
Guernsey-built prototype plane crashes 21st
Guernsey Steam Tramway stops running 22nd
Radiant Med sinks with loss of life 23rd
Guernsey wins gold at the Commonwealth Games 24th
Sark is awarded Dark-Sky status 25th
Guernsey passengers are battered by storms 26th
Sir Isaac Newton has his say on a mysterious Guernsey invention 27th
Guernsey’s last witch trial takes place 28th
Guernsey poet George Métivier is born 29th
The States of Guernsey proposes a new airport 30th
Guernsey lifeboat performs a chemical tanker rescue 31st