Of Interest

Edward Nathaniel Grace (1914-2011)

Grandparents: Thomas Coxon Grace and Isabelle Bigger.
Parents: Edward Nathaniel Grace and Nellie Deane.
Siblings: Currently unknown.

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Edward Nathaniel Grace
b. December 6th, 1914 in London, England.
d. January 13th, 2011 in Eastbourne, England.

Married:

Ivy Henderson
b. Currently unknown.
d. Currently unknown.

Children:

1. Son of Edward Nathaniel Grace
b. Currently unknown.
d. Currently unknown.

2. Daughter of Edward Nathaniel Grace
b. Currently unknown.
d. Currently unknown.

3. Daughter of Edward Nathaniel Grace
b. Currently unknown.
d. Currently unknown.

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More about Edward Nathaniel Grace

Article from ‘The Telegraph’ dated March 8th, 2011 About Edward Nathaniel Grace

Edward Grace, who has died aged 96, was a platoon commander at Anzio, where he was wounded and awarded an MC.

The Anzio landings of January 1944 were intended to bypass Monte Cassino and open the Allied route to Rome. Instead the two divisions which carved out the initial beachhead, and their reinforcements, subsequently became bogged down. Grace and the rest of the 6th Battalion, the Gordon Highlanders Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, faced repeated counter-attacks from German forces led by General Kesselring.

On February 16 some 100,000 men from the German Fourteenth Army, commanded by Eberhard von Mackensen, launched a huge offensive to push the Allies back into the sea. “Sheltering in our trenches we knew that this was the death-struggle on which the fate of the beachhead depended,” Grace later wrote. “The shriek of the shells flashing overhead, the fury of the explosions nearby and the terrible cry of the wounded men, were nerve-searing beyond imagination.”

Held back by Allied artillery, the German attack paused, and conditions increasingly seemed to resemble those of the Great War. “Our waterlogged trenches became more unpleasant every day,” Grace wrote. “It had now become a war of attrition and endurance.” On February 29, German forces launched one final attempt to dislodge the invaders, and Grace was caught by a strafing attack from low-flying Messerschmitts: “I saw a stain of red welling from a tear in my trousers .”

After a dressing was applied to “two large gashes” in his leg, he was stretchered away from the battlefield, and soon found himself in Naples, where he wrote up notes that would later form the basis of a memoir, The Perilous Road to Rome (1993).

Edward Nathaniel Grace was born in London on December 6 1914, the son of an estate agent in Radlett, Hertfordshire, and Nellie Dean, who collaborated with her husband in designing and building several prominent houses in the village. Edward was educated at Westminster, where he excelled at languages, music and sports. He then spent a year at the Montana School of Languages in Switzerland studying French and German. Turning down the offer of a place at Cambridge to read Modern Languages, he trained as a solicitor at the Law Society’s School of Law.

On the outbreak of war Grace was commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders. From Tunisia his war took him to the tiny island of Pantelleria and eventually to the Anzio landings. After being wounded he spent several months in hospital before being sent to convalesce in England, where he met a young WRAF officer, Ivy Henderson, who became his wife.

After demobilisation he resumed his legal career. He worked as a solicitor for the Crown Prosecution Service before becoming a general solicitor for British Rail and, for more than 30 years, Solicitor General of London Transport. From 1980 to 1990 he was coroner for East Sussex .

Grace remained a keen sportsman, playing cricket and tennis well into his seventies . He enjoyed singing in a choir and playing the French horn in amateur orchestras. For many years, he was involved in acting and directing church drama, and was artistic director of the Shakespeare festival at Pendley Manor in Tring in the late 1940s and early 1950s, enabling him to act in and direct Shakespeare’s plays, and to conduct works such as Haydn’s Creation — an event that he counted among the most thrilling of his life.

The publication of his memoirs led to several interviews and participation in the BBC documentary series Battlefields in 2003. As part of the 60th anniversary commemorations in 2004, he revisited the battlefields of Anzio and Monte Cassino, and shortly afterwards was invited to take part in Italian television documentaries. During filming Grace met a German officer whom he had faced during the battle; the two men continued to correspond until Grace’s death.

Edward Grace died on January 13. His wife predeceased him , and he is survived by their three children.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/military-obituaries/army-obituaries/8369365/Edward-Grace.html


IWM interview with Edward Nathaniel Grace conducted for the Imperial War Museum dated October 26th, 2001

Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80021370


Obituary from ‘The Scotsman’ for Edward Nathaniel Grace dated March 11th, 2001

Major Edward Grace, MC, soldier and solicitor. Born: 6 December, 1914, in London. Died: 13 January, 2011, in Eastbourne, aged 96

Edward Grace was a courageous soldier who displayed valour when leading his platoon of the Gordon Highlanders at the Anzio beaches in 1944.

The assault was intended to bypass Monte Cassino and create a direct route for the Allies to relieve Rome. Grace was badly wounded in the fierce fighting and, as he described it, had “two large gashes” in a leg. Later, in his autobiography (The Perilous Road to Rome and Beyond), Grace wrote: “I saw a stain of red welling from a tear in my trousers.” After the war, Grace returned to his career as a solicitor and worked for a number of public bodies.

Edward Nathaniel Grace was the son of an estate agent in Raddlett, Hertfordshire. He was educated at Westminster, where he was a talented linguist, and then spent a year at a language school in Switzerland studying French and German before training as a solicitor.

When war was declared Grace was commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders and commanded B Company of the 6th battalion, which landed in Algeria in 1943 in Operation Torch. The aim was to capture three Vichy French possessions in North France and thus form a base from which to launch an assault on Sicily – what Churchill called ”the soft underbelly” of Italy. The operation was successful, though the conditions – the Gordons had to contend with dirt, sand and heat – made the fighting severely testing.

Grace then served on Operation Corkscrew – the invasion assault and occupation of the strategically important island of Pantelleria, south-west of Sicily. Its capture was crucial to the forthcoming Allied invasion of Sicily as a vital staging post to refuel planes.

It was in the Anzio landings that followed that Grace displayed exceptional qualities of leadership and bravery. The landings were intended to outflank the German defences further south, which included the famous Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino. It had proved a major German stronghold and, by taking the hills around the monastery, it was hoped the enemy would withdraw. The Allied advance was held up and the surprise element soon lost: consequently the Gordons, displaying remarkable bravery, were involved in an extended and bitter fight.

Grace’s 6th Battalion faced ferocious fighting from the troops of General Kesselring and, in February 1944, a massive attack by the enemy almost succeeded in pushing the Gordons back to the beaches.In his autobiography, Grace later wrote, “The shriek of the shells flashing overhead, the fury of the explosions nearby and the terrible cry of the wounded men were nerve-searing beyond imagination.” The conditions were demanding and the Gordons and officers such as Grace had to be at their most resilient.

The Gordons’ dogged defence paid off and the German launched yet another assault during which Grace displayed exemplary authority. His leg was badly wounded by a volley of bullets from low-flying enemy aircraft and he was stretchered to a field hospital in Naples. While convalescing, he wrote up the notes he had kept throughout the war, which formed the basis of his autobiography.

For his bravery and his example to his men during the attack, Grace was awarded the Military Cross. When he was sent back to England for further medical treatment he met a WRAF officer, Ivy Henderson, whom he later married.

His book was finally published in 1993, winning praise for its authenticity and immediacy. “This is one of the most gripping memoirs.” one critic wrote. “The author also describes the actions of other regiments, particularly the Guards Brigade at Anzio, and US units, alongside whom he fought. In the closing stages of the book he shares his post-conflict experiences and convalescence with the reader in a most moving way.”

The publication also led to Grace appearing in the BBC documentary series Battlefields in 2003. A year later, as part of the 60th anniversary commemorations, he revisited the battlefields of Anzio and Monte Cassino, and shortly afterwards was invited to take part in Italian television documentaries. During filming Grace met a German officer whom he had faced during the battle; the two continued to correspond until Grace’s death.

He resumed his legal career after the war and held senior posts in the legal departments of the Crown Prosecution Service, British Rail and, for over 30 years, with London Transport.

He remained an active sportsman, playing cricket and tennis into his seventies, and was a firm supporter of many musical and theatrical events in Hertfordshire.

His wife predeceased him and he is survived by their three children.

Source: http://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/obituary-major-edward-grace-soldier-and-solicitor-1-1533440

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