Grace Darling was born on November 24, 1815, in Bamburgh, Northumberland in her Grandfather's cottage. Northumberland is on the far Northeast coast of England near Scotland. Grace's mother was named Thomasin and her father was William Darling, Principal Keeper of the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands. She was the fourth daughter and seventh child of nine children. Grace did not go to school; she was home schooled. She grew up on the island helping her mom and dad.
At 4:00 a.m., on September 7, 1838, Grace Darling and her father William, a Longstone Lighthouse off England's Northumberland Coast, woke with a start. The steamship Forfarshire had run ashore and broken in two in the North Sea, on the rocks by the lighthouse. Grace was just 22 but she saved 9 people, 4 sailors and 5 ordinary people by taking a rowboat and carrying them back to the shore. She fought hard against the powerful ocean waves to keep the boat off the rocks while her father went out on the rocks to get the survivors. One woman sat on the wreck with her two children, crying over their dead bodies. She was a survivor, named Mrs. Dawson. She lived to tell the tale. Grace and her father rowed out to the Forfarshire through some very bad conditions. Grace stayed with the first group as her father and two of the men from the ship went back for the others. Forty other people did not survive the crash. For three days Grace and her mother cared for the survivors at the lighthouse. Finally the survivors were able to go ashore.
Grace became an instant heroine. Sadly she died on October 20, 1942, probably of pneumonia or tuberculosis; she was buried in her hometown of Bamburgh, Northamberland, the same place she was born. Grace remains a heroine in England and school children learn all about her bravery.
Image used by permission of the Special Collections Librarian, Robinson Library, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
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By Jennifer & Emmi, fourth grade, 2005