George Norman Grant (Service No. 9584)
(1895 - 1965)
George Norman Grant was born in South Melbourne on 14 May 1895 to Donald Alexander Grant and Alice Matilda Grant (nee Carroll). George was the fourth of eleven children born to the couple. His father, Donald, had migrated from Scotland in 1883 and had married Alice Matilda Carroll in 1890 within Victoria. By 1906 the Grant family had moved into the Laverton-Altona district where Donald Grant took up the position of the caretaker at the Government explosive reserve or powder magazine.
George Grant was working as a reader, within the printing room, of the combined Weekly Times, The Herald and Winner newspapers in Melbourne when he enlisted into the army on 26 February 1915 at Victoria Barracks. Given that George Grant was under the age of 21, at the time he enlisted, his father provided his consent and George was accepted and moved into the Broadmeadows training camp. It was whilst he was at Broadmeadows that Private George Grant contracted measles and then shortly after recovering he came down with pleurisy.
An Army Board of Enquiry found that Private George Grant should remain in hospital for three weeks and at the conclusion of his treatment he should be then discharged as medically unfit. This discharge took effect on 24 January 1916. Following his discharge, George Grant served with the Citizen Military Forces, in Australia, with the rank of staff sergeant.
On 26 November 1917 George Grant undertook and passed a medical examination that allowed him to re-enlist for active service abroad which he did on 19 February 1918 at Seymour. But before undertaking any military training he was referred to the 5th Australian General Hospital and reported to their medical board on 25 February 1918. Here he was there found to be fit and able to serve. George Grant was the only son of Donald and Alice Grant to enlist during World War 1.
George was immediately assigned to the Reinforcements for the 2nd Tunnelling Companies at Seymour, Victoria and was promoted to acting sergeant by the Technical Battalion under regimental order no 32 and proceeded to Broadmeadow’s camp. Tunnelling companies were specialist units formed to dig attacking tunnels under the enemy lines. He was assigned to the reinforcements, totaling 51 members, and departed Melbourne on 20 April 1918 on board the HMAT Nestor A71 sailing to England via Colon, Panama, Newport, New York and Halifax, Nova Scotia before disembarking at Liverpool, England. This sounded like a cruise but to the men aboard it would not have felt like one and as they got closer to Europe the nerves would have begun to set in.
They marched into the Australian No. 3 camp at Parkhouse, Wiltshire to complete further training that would equip them to see action on the front. The men of the reinforcements marched out to the Overseas Training Brigade at Deverill, Wiltshire on 13 July 1918 and then departed from Southampton for France five days later. The following day they entered the Australian General Base Depot at Rouelles, France for two days before being transferred to Corps Depot camp at Pernois on 23 July.
Five days later he was taken on strength with the 2nd Tunnelling Company in the field. From this date thru to late October 1918 the company undertook constructed Major Head Quarter’s at St Quentin, Bapaume, Arras, Ancre, Amiens, Albert, Bapaume, Epehy, St Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir and Cambrai.
Sapper George Grant was with the 2nd Tunnelling Company when peace was declared 11 November 1918. The tunnelling companies remained on the front as part of the army of occupation assisting with rehabilitation of the country by clearing many of the roads and bridges. On 7 January 1919 Sapper George Norman Grant was transferred to the Australian Corps Headquarters on attachment from the 2nd Tunnelling Company and remained there until 9 March when he was granted leave after which he rejoined his company, on 27 March 1919. On the 29 April he proceeded to the Australian Imperial Forces Headquarters and reported to unit records section the very next day within the Australian Army Pay Corps. On 1 May his detachment to the Pay Office at Tidworth, Wiltshire commenced and then on 7 May he was sent to the No. 4 Group Camp Hurdcott, Whiltshire for duty within the Paymaster division.
A promotion on 26 June 1919 saw George take the rank of temporary second corporal. This rank reverted when he marched out to the Australian Army Finance section in London and remained on duty there until 9 September 1919 where he was granted rank as second corporal. On 6 October 1919 he embarked from Southampton on board the HT Pakeha for his return to Australia. The ship docked initially at Fremantle, Western Australia on 16 November 1919 where George disembarked. His military discharge was issued in Perth on 9 December 1919.
George eventually headed back to Victoria and home on 16 February 1921 where he married Adele Gibson Taylor and the couple moved to the township of Werribee. Between 1924 until 1931 their residence was listed as Station Street Werribee where George operated the local newsagency. They continued to operate the Werribee newsagency until 1942 when George Grant enlisted into the Australian Army, during World War 2. He was appointed the General Australian Headquarters, Victoria with the rank of lieutenant. He transferred to the General Headquarters in August 1942 with the rank of temporary captain. A promotion to the rank of staff captain came on 1 October 1943 which was relinquished in July 1946. George Norman Grant served in active service, within Australia, from 10 April 1942 until 12 July 1946.
Following the end of World War 2, George and Adele settled back into life in Werribee but he had left the newsagency and returned to working as a journalist. In 1954 when the couple moved across Melbourne to the suburb of Camberwell and then by 1959, they moved again to 16 Houghton Street, North Balwyn and George was still listed as working as a journalist.
George Norman Grant passed away on 28 August 1965 at North Balwyn at the age of 70 and was interred in the Boorandara cemetery, Kew. His wife, Adelle, passed away in December 1986 and she is also interred in the Boorandara cemetery.