During the 20th century, two of the South Goodwin Lightships were lost.
On 25th October 1940, the South Goodwin Lightship was bombed by the Germans and sunk.
In the small hours of 27th November 1954, LV90, the South Goodwin Lightship at the time was torn from her mooring by hurricane force winds and mountainous seas. At 01:15, the crew of LV12, the East Goodwin Lightship watched in horror as their sister-ship was swept past them, 6 miles to the north of their position. LV90 was swept onto the sands in Keller Gut and immediately capsized under the pounding from the waves. Her crew sought refuge in the galley and were trapped there when the ship capsized. One man, Ronald Murton, climbed out of the galley skylight and clung to the hull.
The Deal and Ramsgate Lifeboats were scrambled to assist, as was an American search and rescue helicopter from RAF Manston. By the time they got there, the tide had enveloped the vessel. The RNLI boats were unable to get anywhere near the ship due to the huge seas, but in a piece of superb flying, the helicopter was able to pluck Murton from the hull. The American crew received bravery awards for their actions.
The seas had abated enough by the 28th November for divers to be able to enter the wreck, but on entering, they were unable to find any trace of the lightship's crew. Ronald Murton was the only survivor of a crew of 7. Those who perished in the disaster were Tom Skipp (the master), George Cox, Kenneth Lanham, Henry Lynn, Walter Viney, Sidney Philpott and Tom Porter.
It was the worst storm in the English Channel for two centuries. The wreck remains on the Goodwin Sands and traces of her are uncovered from time to time.
The South Goodwin Lightship capsized on the Sands.