b. 01/09/1875 Stoke Damerell, Plymouth, Devon. d. 03/01/1962 Sunningdale, Berkshire.
George William St George Grogan (1875-1962) was born in Stoke Damerel, Devonport, Devon on 1st September 1875, he was the eldest of five sons by Brigadier General E.G. Grogan who commanded the 1st Black Watch in the South African War. He was educated at the United Services College at Westward before being commissioned into the West India Regiment, where he served nine years in Africa. In 1907 he was transferred to the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and in 1908 to the Worcestershire Regiment.
At the outbreak of war, he returned from service with the 1st Battalion in Egypt and was posted to the 2nd Battalion as a Major, which he then briefly commanded. In March 1915 he took command of the 1st Battalion. In 1916 he fought in the Somme and in March 1917 he won the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). He then took command of 23 Brigade in the 8th Division and led them in the third Ypres and in March 1918 in the Somme where he was awarded a bar to his DSO.
In May 1918 he was moved to the Chermin des Dames front which was the responsibility of the French. When the Germans attacked the 8th Division they took heavy losses. Grogan, at the time Brigadier General, escaped capture and rallied many stragglers organising them into a small force. It was this command that earned him the Victoria Cross. On 27th May 1918, at the River Aisne, France, Brigadier General Grogan was in command of the remnants of the infantry of a division and attached troops. His utter disregard for personal safety combined with sound practical ability helped to stay the onward thrust of the enemy. He rode up and down the front line encouraging his troops under artillery, trench mortar, rifle and machine-gun fire and when one horse was shot under him, he continued encouraging his men on foot until another horse was brought. As a result of his actions the line held.
After the Armistices he served in North Russia commanding the 1st Brigade of the relief force under Lord Rawlinson. In the war he was mentioned in dispatches six times, created a Companion of The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael & St. George (CMG) in 1916 and Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) in 1919. In 1920 he married Ethel Gladys, and they had two sons.
He commanded the 3rd Battalion for three years after the war before commanding 5th Brigade in Aldershot for a further three years. Grogan retired from the army as an honorary Brigadier-General in 1926. From 1933 to 1945 he was appointed one of His Majesty’s Bodyguard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms. He was the Colonel of the Worcestershire Regiment from 1938 to 1945.
George Grogan died at his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, on the 3rd January 1962 and was cremated in Woking Crematorium. His ashes were scattered. For a number of years after his death, his medal group was held in trust by the Grogan family. In May 2011, the trustees agreed to loan his medal group on a long term loan to the Imperial War Museum, where they are displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: WOKING CREMATORIUM, WOKING, SURREY. ASHES SCATTERED
George Grogan's medals at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London. (December 2014).
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Worcestershire Regiment Museum
Haileybury College (Paul Deeprose)