Harold James GRACE MM

GRACE, Harold James

Service Number: 3644
Enlisted: 10 August 1915, Narrabri, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 18th Infantry Battalion
Born: Gunnedah, New South Wales, 4 November 1892
Home Town: Gunnedah, Gunnedah, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Natural causes, Gunnedah, New South Wales, 6 October 1953, aged 60 years
Cemetery: Gunnedah Cemetery, NSW
Plot: ORC, D
Memorials: Tambar Springs War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

10 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 3644, Narrabri, New South Wales
20 Dec 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 3644, 18th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Dec 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 3644, 18th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Sydney
5 Aug 1916: Honoured Military Medal, Battle for Pozières
31 Dec 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 3644, 18th Infantry Battalion, Shell wound (foot - amputated)
24 May 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 3644, 18th Infantry Battalion, Medically Unfit.

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

Harold James Grace was a farmer working on the family property 'Box Forest' at Tambar Springs, New South Wales when he enlisted in August 1915 at the same time as his older brother Royal (Roy) Aloysius. Both were drafted into the 18th Battalion , embarking in HMAT A60 'Aeneas' on December 20, 1915.

Private Harold Grace was awarded the Military Medal for a conspicuous act of gallantry in rescuing a wounded soldier under heavy fire at Pozieres on the night of August 5, 1916. In company with Lance Corporal Wright, the pair carried the wounded comrade, who had a severed artery, about 1.5 miles to the dressing station.

But the war ended for him on the last day of 1916. He was severely wounded in the lower right leg by a bomb blast and was taken to Bath Military Hospital in England where his leg was amputated. After a year's hospitalisation in England, he was returned to Australia and discharged in May 1918.

Upon his return, volunteer workers built a home for him in Bloomfield Street, Gunnedah. Deeply grateful to the community, he was one of the founders of the Gunnedah & District Servicemen's Club in 1942 and became the club's first secretary-manager.

Harold Grace died in Gunnedah in 1953.

His brother, 3643 Pte. Royal Aloysius (Roy) Grace (/explore/people/146878), was killed in action on November 8, 1916 aged 35. He has no known grave and is listed on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.

Credit: RG McLean