Grace Darling

Grace Darling achieved great fame for the part she played in the rescue of survivors from a wrecked merchant ship in 1838.

Born in 1815, Grace heroically helped to rescue survivors from the Forfarshire, a vessel travelling from Hull to Dundee, which was wrecked on the Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumberland.


Grace’s father, William Darling, was keeper of the Longstone Lighthouse on one of the islands. On the evening of 7 September 1838, while looking out of an upper window of the lighthouse during a raging storm, Grace spotted the wreck and survivors of the Forfarshire. The ship was carrying around 40 cabin and deck passengers and had completely split in two on a rocky outcrop of the islands, known as Big Harcar.

Rescue and legacy

Despite the weather, Grace and her father launched their rowing boat and managed to rescue eight men and a woman. They were awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Humane Society for their courage. Grace became famous across the country as a brave heroine and an iconic figurehead for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Sadly, Grace Darling died of tuberculosis on 20 October 1842, aged 26.