William Edward Kemp GRUBB

GRUBB, William Edward Kemp

Service Number: 996
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 40th Infantry Battalion
Born: Stanley, Tasmania, Australia, 13 October 1890
Home Town: Launceston, Launceston, Tasmania
Schooling: Stanley State School, Tasmania, Australia
Occupation: Salesman
Died: Killed in action, France, 28 March 1918, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Heilly Station Cemetery
Plot VII, Row A, Grave No. 39.
Memorials: Launceston Cenotaph, Stanley Circular Head War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

29 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, 996, 26th Infantry Battalion
29 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, 996, 26th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Brisbane
10 Feb 1917: Involvement 40th Infantry Battalion
10 Feb 1917: Embarked 40th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Bee, Adelaide
28 Mar 1918: Involvement Lieutenant, 40th Infantry Battalion

Help us honour William Edward Kemp Grubb's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

William enlisted first as a Private in May 1915 with the 26th Battalion. He saw service on Gallipoli from September 1915 until he was evacuated with enteric during November 1915. He was very ill and was returned to Australia to recover in early 1916.

While home recovering, he was married to Ethel during October 1916 and also attended Duntroon College for further training.

His older brother, 3289 Pte. Francis Rochford Grubb 12th Battalion AIF, was also killed at Pozieres during this period, on 25 July 1916, aged 28.

Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, William Grubb left for overseas again with the 40th Battalion during February 1917. In the afternoon of 28 March 1918, Lieutenant Grubb, of the 40th Battalion, and the C Company were involved in an offensive advance by the Battalion. He was hit by a bullet in the shoulder, bound up and then he went on in advance. Several eye-witness reports described how Lieutenant William Edward Kemp Grubb, of Launceston, was wounded but "pluckily insisted on remaining with the boys, and carrying on". He was popular and well liked by his battalion comrades.

Lance Corporal Arthur McGuinness of Scottsdale, also of the 40th Battalion, said of Lieutenant Grubb:  "instead of going to a Dressing Station he bravely went on and was shortly afterwards killed by two German bullets through the head on March 28th 1918."

Although the attack was a success, there were 34 men of the 40th Battalion killed on this day.

Grubb’s war Diary is held in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and is noted for its lengthy regular entries with detailed descriptions of the situation on Gallipoli and in France. It covers his service from embarkation to his death near Morlancourt, from June 1915 to March 1918.

His wife Ethel was willing to loan the Memorial his diaries but kept his letters home in her possession for their daughter, who was born after her father embarked, as a remnant of her deceased father.