George Grogan

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George William St George Grogan
George Grogan VC.jpg
Born 1 September 1875
St Andrews, Fife
Died 3 January 1962(1962-01-03) (aged 86)
Sunningdale, Berkshire
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1896–1926
Rank Brigadier General
Unit West India Regiment
Worcestershire Regiment
Commands held 23rd Brigade
238th Infantry Brigade
5th Brigade
Battles/wars First World War
Russian Civil War
Awards Victoria Cross
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Mentioned in Despatches (8)
Relations Admiral Sir William King-Hall (grandfather)
Other work Gentleman at Arms

Brigadier General George William St George Grogan VC, CB, CMG, DSO & Bar (1 September 1875 – 3 January 1962) was a career officer in the British Army and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

VC award[edit]

Grogan was 42 years old, and a temporary Brigadier General in the Worcestershire Regiment commanding the 23rd Infantry Brigade, 8th Division during the First World War Third Battle of the Aisne, and was awarded the VC for the following events on 27–29 May 1918.

For most conspicuous bravery and leadership throughout three days of intense fighting. Brigadier-General Grogan was, except for a few hours, in command of the remnants of the Infantry of a Division and various attached troops. His action during the whole of the battle can only be described as magnificent. The utter disregard for his personal safety, combined with the sound practical ability which he displayed, materially helped to stay the onward thrust of the enemy masses.
Throughout the third day of operations, a most critical day, he spent his time under artillery, trench mortar, rifle and machine-gun fire, riding up and down the front line encouraging his troops, reorganising those who had fallen into disorder, leading back into the line those who were beginning to retire, and setting such a wonderful example that he inspired with his enthusiasm not only his own men but also the Allied troops who were alongside. As a result the line held and repeated enemy attacks were repulsed. He had one horse shot under him, but nevertheless continued on foot to encourage his men until another horse was brought. He displayed throughout the highest valour, powers of command and leadership.[1][2]

DSO citations[edit]

In 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of his battalion. He visited the captured trenches during the action and gave instructions regarding dispositions and consolidation. He kept the brigade informed of the situation and his reports were of great value. The spirit of his battalion owes much to his personal courage and cheerfulness.[3]

On 27 March 1918, defending at Rosières during the Operation Michael German offensive:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion during a long period of active operations. On one occasion, when in command of the left division, it was mainly due to his personal efforts that the line was maintained and extended when troops of the left were withdrawn. Whenever the position became critical he went forward himself to restore the situation, and his splendid example of courage and endurance greatly inspired all ranks.[4]

Career[edit]

Educated at Haileybury and Imperial Service College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Grogan was commissioned into the West India Regiment serving in Sierra Leone Hut Tax War of 1898. Promoted to Captain in 1900, he served with the Egyptian Army in 1902–07. In 1907 he joined the Yorkshire Light Infantry, moving to the Worcestershire Regiment in 1908.

Promoted to Major on 28 September 1914, he joined the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Division, of the BEF. Wounded in January 1915, after the Battle of Neuve Chapelle he took command of the 1st Battalion as temporary Lieutenant Colonel. On 1 January 1916 he was created a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) and was mentioned in despatches. After fighting in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 he was awarded his first DSO in March 1917 and was appointed to command the 23rd Brigade, 8th division, from April 1917 as temporary Brigadier-General. In the retreat during Operation Michael in March 1918 his efforts resulted in a bar to his DSO, and during the Third Battle of the Aisne he won his VC for inspiring the defence of a hill above the River Vesle at Jonchery during 27–29 May 1918.

In 1919 he was sent with 1st Brigade of the "Relief Force Russia" under Lord Rawlinson to evacuate the North Russia Intervention forces. On 3 June 1919 he was made a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB). In October 1923 he reached the substantive rank of Colonel, commanding the 5th Infantry Brigade in the 2nd Division.

He served as an A.D.C. (equerry) to King George V from 1920 to 1926, and retired as an honorary Brigadier-General in 1926. In 1933–45 he was appointed one of His Majesty's Bodyguard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms.[5] He was honorary Colonel of the Worcestershire Regiment from 1938 to 1945.

Family[edit]

Grogan was the son of Colonel Edward George Grogan CB, who commanded the 1st Battalion Black Watch in the Second Boer War, and his wife Meta, only daughter of Admiral William King-Hall. His grandfather was Captain George Grogan of Sutton, County Dublin, a Captain in the 6th Dragoon Guards.

On 22 January 1920 Grogan married Gadice Elger, eldest daughter of John Elger the Younger, at Holy Trinity Church, Chelsea, London. They had two sons: Gwyn, born 7 August 1921, and Edward, born 27 June 1924.

References[edit]

  1. ^ London Gazette, 25 July 1918
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 31340. p. 6085. 15 May 1919. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  3. ^ London Gazette, 11 May 1917
  4. ^ London Gazette, 26 July 1918
  5. ^ Profile

External links[edit]