Dallinghoo is a small rural village in the county of Suffolk in the UK and is the birth place of Captain Francis Light in 1740.

Light served as a Royal Navy midshipman from 1759 to 1763, but went out to seek his fortune in the colonies. Joining the East India Company out of Calcutta and from 1765, he worked as a private country trader, a Captain on a trading vessel sailing through South East Asia, the same waters as Schooner Dallinghoo does today.

For about ten years he had his headquarters in Thalang on the island of Jungceylon now Phuket, Thailand, reviving a failed French trading post. While living there he learned to speak and write several languages, including Malay and Siamese. In 1785, he warned the Thais on Phuket Island of an imminent Burmese attack. Light's warning enabled the islanders to prepare for Phuket's defence and subsequently repel the Burmese invasion; a monument now stands in the center of the island to this historic defence but not to Captain Light’s contribution.

He had personal friendships with the King of Siam and the Sultan of Kedah and it was through this latter friendship that he was able to lease the island of Penang for the British East India Company in 1786 and then in 1791, Penang became a British Crown Colony. The island was renamed the Prince of Wales Island and the capital was named Georgetown after King George III a name that remains today. This multicultural colony became extraordinarily successful from its inception and Captain Light served as the Superintendent of the colony until his death in 1794.

Though little is now remembered of Captain Francis Light in the UK, in Malaysia and particularly Penang he is a house hold name, with many parts of the city named after him. His family home, ‘Suffolk House’ is now a museum and open to the public.



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