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George Ferguson (P) GRANT

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Pte 21748 23y3m 10 Oct 1917 25 Feb 1919 - D Disease 3 & 7

Private George Ferguson Pearman Grant  (1894 – 1919)


Family background and early life

George Ferguson Grant was born 20 July 1894 in Turriff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the son of George and Annabella Ferguson Grant.  The family migrated to Australia and lived at Charters Towers.  George attended Townsville Grammar School where he was a member of the school cadet corps and studied French, Latin, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Mechanics and Inorganic Chemistry.  Passes in these subjects allowed him to matriculate in March 1914 in the Faculty of Science at the University of Queensland.  While studying there he lived at Emmanuel College, Spring Hill.  He later transferred to Melbourne University enrolling as a medical student and serving in the Melbourne University Rifles.  


At Melbourne, on 10 October 1917, he enlisted to serve overseas in the Australian Imperial Force and began training in the Army Medical Corps at Broadmeadows.  He was 23 years 3 months old when he enlisted, 5 feet 10¼ inches (178cm) tall, 159 lbs (72kg) in weight, of sallow complexion with blue eyes and brown hair.  He showed his religious denomination as Presbyterian and next-of-kin, his father, by then living at Park Road, Eagle Junction, Brisbane.

Service in England and death

He remained in England for duties in the Australian Army Medical Corps but while on leave on 30 October he was admitted to hospital and later sent to Burdon Military Hospital, Weymouth with influenza then pneumonia which caused his death on 25 February 1919.

Mr and Mrs Grant of Eagle Junction could not attend their son’s funeral but arrangements were made by George’s uncles in Scotland for George’s burial at Turriff, his birthplace 24 years earlier.

Mr and Mrs Grant received a letter containing details of their son’s interment.  It said in part:

“The late soldier was accorded a military funeral, band, bugler and pall bearers being in attendance, same being supplied by the 5th Gordons Regiment.  He was interred in a private family grave by his uncle, resident in Scotland.  Many beautiful wreaths were sent from uncles – Messrs William and Charles Grant, cousins – Corporal Grant and Chas Grant and Private Drie, AIF who were present at the funeral and the hospital staff and nurses.  Captain Ritchie and many Imperial Soldiers were present at the funeral and AIF Headquarters London were represented.  Chaplain the Rev H. Douglas Swan of Turriff conducted the burial service at the close of which the ‘Last Post’ was sounded.”

Correspondence continued:  the Officer in charge of Base Records was asked to supply copies of the certificate of death to the AMP Society1 and the IOR2   A small parcel of George’s belongings was sent to his parents who were asked to acknowledge its receipt. In her reply, Mrs Grant said,

“As this is the only item I have received of my late son’s effects, would you kindly let me know where I could write concerning same.  My boy took a violin away with him which we would like to have.  Trusting this will receive attention,

,I am, yours sincerely

."Annabella F Grant

It was on 21 June 1920 when Mr Grant wrote again,

“Yours of 11th June to hand re my deceased son’s violin in case which you state has been short landed from SS Booral.  I have written to your office already seeking information about my son’s belongings and I also have had my brothers in Scotland in communication with the headquarters in London with reference to same, but so far we have received nothing but a small pocket book and fountain pen.  We wanted badly to get his violin and his wristlet watch and his kit back but so far have heard nothing of either until the receipt of your disappointing communication.  The value of this particular violin was £50 but that money could not buy it if I had it in my possession as my deceased son’s sister wants it and no money could buy it. Trusting to hear that you have recovered it by this time and that you will be able to forward same to this address,

,I remain, yours sincerely 

,George Grant 

."Father of the deceased Grant George F, No 21748, AMC Reinforcements

In a letter dated 9 July 1920 Mr and Mrs Grant were advised the violin and case had been located and would be forwarded to them.

George Ferguson Grant whose short life began in Turriff, Scotland spent his youth in Australian schools and universities. He is remembered with gratitude on honour boards at the Australian War Memorial at Canberra, Townsville Grammar School, Emmanuel College, Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church and the University of Queensland in Brisbane and the Melbourne University.

His home town in Aberdeenshire remembers him too in the words inscribed on his grave at the Turriff Cemetery:


1. Australian Mutual Provident Society
2. Independent Order of Rechabites, Charters Towers Tent

Select Bibliography

• National Archives of Australia, AIF service records
• Commonwealth War Graves Commission
• AWM Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War
• First World War Embarkation Rolls
• Faces of the Fallen, Records and Archives Management Services, University of Queensland, 2014
• The Brisbane Courier, 8 January 1914, page 3
• Rev EN Merrington, Memoirs, unpublished, c 1948, page 69

Compiled by Noel E. Adsett, Brisbane, March 2015©



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