TWO GRAINGER HEROES - William Grainger and Edward Martin Grainger


William's descent included Pearsons, Graingers, Richardsons and Eskdales of Robin Hood’s Bay. His mother was Ann Granger born in Fylingdales in 1832, the daughter of Zachariah Grainger and Margaret Pearson who were married in Fylingdales in 1820, and granddaughter of William Pearson (1774-1836) and Nancy Richardson (1776-1844). Born in Hartlepool William followed the seafaring tradition and served in sailing ships and early steamers.

On his death The Northern Daily Mail, Friday September 6th 1946 also reported that he had fished for herring when Hartlepool had its own Keel boats, and in later life he was a foy boatman for many years.

It was in a November night in 1901 when the Swedish barque Trio was wrecked off the Seaton Carew beaches at Newburn Bridge after leaving West Hartlepool for Kalmar. Captain Nilsson and his 9 crew were at risk and William swam out to the wreckage to help rescue them. Only the captain and two of his crew were saved but for his heroic deed the people of Hartlepool presented William with a gold medal.

All those taking part in the rescue were presented with their medals during an interval at the Gaiety Theatre, Hartlepool. As well as William there were Bruce Moore, and Messrs Chapman, Smith, C.McKendric, and P.C. Wilson.

In his time William had been a member of the Middleton Volunteer Life-Saving Company. He was also a member of the Hartlepool Rocket and Life Saving Brigade and gained a Board of Trade silver medal after 35 years service. Remembered as a ringer of the fog bell on Hartlepool Breakwater he also acted as watchman for the Port and Harbour Commission at the Old Pier.

The Northern Daily Mail described William as one of the last of the original Crofters. referring to that old part of Hartlepool known as the Croft. The tone of the article was one of respect for a worthy Hartlepool citizen.

  On the left is the casing of a Board of Trade Gallantry Medal awarded to William for having risked his own life to save others.
On the right is the medal itself. .


Master of the cutter PV Prudence

Edward was the son of Thomas Grainger, Master Mariner, and the husband of Rebecca Jane Storm (1893-1983).
These snippets are based on information provided by Edward's sister, Margaret. .

*In April 1939 a ship (name unknown) began to sink and Prudence went to her assistance and saved 22 lives.

*In October 1939 the cutter went at full speed across an unswept minefield and picked up 11 survivors from a sunken vessel.

*In November 1939 while sailing from Gravesend to Dover a squadron of enemy planes shot down a lone spitfire. The pilot baled out and the cutter followed the course of his fall that took them near to Margate sands. He was taken on board, given first aid and eventually landed safely at Margate. Edward Martin directed this rescue operation by a system of whistle signals.

*On 27th November 1939 the Dutch ship Spaadam was mined. The Prudence was about two miles away and immediately went to her rescue, In spite of bad weather and high seas the cutter was able to rescue 44 survivors who were in lifeboats being swept towards the outer mined area. Although all occupants were taken off one man died from exposure. They were landed at Sheerness.

*On December 1st 1939 the SS Dairyan was mined near the North Spit buoy. The cutter was cruising about 4 miles away and was soon at hand. Men were rescued And two were given first aid.

Captain Grainger was awarded his OBE in 1941.

Letters from Trinity House Pilots and an item in the Whitby Gazette indicated that Edward was highly regarded for his seamanship and courange.