THE BRAVERY of a Worcester soldier will be remembered by the city branch of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association with a wreath-laying ceremony at the regimental stone in Gheluvelt Park.
Members will hold the ceremony on Tuesday, May 29 at 10.45am in memory of Lt Col George William St George Grogan VC whose actions will be remembered before the Last Post and Reveille are played.
Colonel Grogan was a member of the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment during the Battle of Aisne in May 1918.
On May 29, the Germans made a surprise attack on a sector of young drafts and broke through and although Colonel Grogan rallied the survivors and repelled several attacks, he was forced to retire to a fresh position.
A second time the same thing happened until finally a new line was formed along an open ridge on high ground to the south.
By now Colonel Grogan was commanding a mixed force of about eight hundred men of various Regiments. They had been without food or rest for 48 hours but were forced to hold out as no reinforcements could arrive for another day.
Many attacks were repelled but the allies lost heavily and had to retire to some half-dug trenches held by the 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment. In this position there was a general medley, including some French troops.
The enemy continued their pressure and Colonel Grogan rode along the front of the line, cheering on his troops.
“You can stop them if you want to” he cried, “The Boches are no bloody good.” Shells, bombs and bullets were all around him; his horse was killed under him, but he found another mount and continued to inspire his men.
Fired by the noble example of their commander, made confident by his reckless bravery, the troops held on, repulsing two more attacks before reinforcements arrived.
Colonel Grogan’s Victoria Cross was the reward for that inspired leadership under which tired, hungry and disheartened men became heroes.
Colonel Grogan was also awarded at various times a CB (Companion of the Order of the Bath), a CMG (Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George), and Distinguished Service Order with Bar: he was also appointed A.D.C. to the King. In 1938 Colonel (now Brigadier General) Grogan was appointed Colonel of the Regiment which position he occupied until 1945
Colonel Grogan was awarded his VC at age of 42 but passed away on January 3, 1962.