Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In Memoriam: Grace Darling

History is filled with evidence of intellectual ferocity and feats of derring-do as committed by the so-called 'weaker sex'; it seems to me the only weakness involved when it comes to women is in the minds of the men who write 'history', for both promulgating and regurgitating such patently false balderdash...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBorn this day in 1815 at Bamburgh, Grace Darling grew up at the seashore, raised as she was by a lighthouse keeper; it was at one such place - the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands - when Grace Darling committed the singular act of bravery that assured her immortality.

Observing the SS Forfarshire run aground in September 1838, the 22-year-old Grace and her father took to the lifeboat in heavy seas and rescued nine crewmen from certain death. Accolades were immediately forthcoming; she was made the subject of poems and paintings. There is a museum dedicated to her in the town where she was born and - in October 1842, at the age of 26 - died... More recently singer/songwriter Dave Cousins of Strawbs wrote Grace Darling (from their 1975 album Ghosts) in tribute and as a love song.

Amazingly, Grace Darling wasn't even the first such courageous woman to prove her mettle in the midst of stormy seas; ten years previously, in July 1828, Ann Harvey of Newfoundland had assisted in the rescue of 163 people shipwrecked from the Despatch near Isle aux Morts over a grueling four days when she was just 17. A Canadian, Roberta Boyd, rescued 2 men in New Brunswick from a similar predicament in the 1880s. Which only goes to show that misogyny is just so much claptrap!
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