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VC/GC Diary

Welcome to the Victoria Cross and George Cross Diaries


Here we add daily diary entries on the anniversaries of when the Victoria Crosses and George Crosses were awarded.

GC Diary 20th September

By victoriagreen068, Sep 20 2016 05:12AM

The George Cross Diary for 20th September contains the stories of two recipients who coincidentally have surnames beginning the letter G and also are recipients of forerunners of the George Cross, one of the Empire Gallantry Medal and one of the Albert Medal for Lifesaving.

Reginald Cubitt Graveley EGM/GC was born on 10th March 1914 in Leyton, London, the son of John Graveley and his wife Ethel (nee Cubitt). Reg, as he was known, gained employment with the London General Omnibus Company after leaving school, and was able to join the flying club, where he first learnt to fly. Having a talent for it, he joined the RAF in 1936 under the short service commission scheme. He was then posted to 88 Squadron based at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire.

On 20th September 1939 in the early weeks of the Second World War, he was on a bombing mission to Aachen in Germany, when his Fairey Battle bomber was shot down in flames. Although badly burned, he pulled the observer, Sergeant Everett, from the wreckage and then returned for the air gunner, Aircraftman John. However, he found him dead and unable to lift him from the cockpit. The plane crashed in France.

Graveley was awarded the EGM, which was exchanged for a GC (presented to him at Buckingham Palace on 23rd September 1941), and had to recuperate from his injuries in hospital for 7 months. He then became Senior Photographic Officer to the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit. He then moved to the USA to be Liaison Officer to the US Air Corps. When he relinquished his commission, he joined the Gloster Aircraft Company as a test pilot. By 1945, he had joined Brockhouse. He married Kathleen Rebecca Wolner who originally came from New Zealand. They went on to have two sons, John and Rex.

In 1951, Reg created his own company, Terric Studios which later became Lithograve. On 16th September 1961, Reg passed away at the young age of 47 in Walsall. He was cremated at Ryecroft Crematorium and his ashes were scattered from an aircraft. His medals are held by the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon.

William Goad AM/GC was born in St Ives, Cambridgeshire on 10th May 1922. He was the 3rd son and 4th child of Tom and Ida Goad (nee Clark). He had two brothers John and James and two sisters Molly and Betty. His father had been a foreman on a farm at Swaversea until he was able to buy his own farm near Stretham.

When Bill was 15, he joined the Navy and saw service in the North Sea, the Atlantic and the Far East and later in the 1950s in Korea. In 1941, he met Sarah Hughes from Glasgow, and they would marry two years later. Her brother Joseph would be awarded the GC for his self-sacrifice in Hong Kong.

On 20th-21st September 1942, he was serving in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Ashanti. When HMS Somali was torpedoed by U-703, the Ashanti came alongside to help rescue the crew. Goad volunteered to be lowered on a line over the side of his ship, into water that was well below freezing, to rescue an unconscious man. A full gale was blowing and there was a very great risk that he would be either washed away by the breaking waves, or swept under the bilge keel of the ship, which was rolling heavily.

Goad retired as a Petty Officer in 1951 but was released to the Reserve from which he finally retired as Chief Petty Officer in 1953. He returned to Cambridgeshire where he joined his brother Jack in the family farm. They then took over the running of the farm after their father’s retirement 8 years later. In the 1970s, he and Sally built their own house, and Bill passed the running of the farm to another family member. He chose not to exchange his Albert Medal for a George Cross in 1971. He finally retired in 1987, but after the death of his wife in 1988, he volunteered as a driver with social services. He died on Christmas Day 1994 and was cremated at Maddingly Crematorium in Cambridge. His ashes were scattered. His medals are held by the family.

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