George William St George Grogan was born in Stoke Damerel, Devonport on 1st September 1875, he was the eldest of five sons by Brigadier General E.G. Grogan who commanded the 1st Black Watch in the South African War. He was educated at the United Services College at Westward before being commissioned into the West India Regiment, where he served nine years in Africa. In 1907 he was transferred to the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and in 1908 to the Worcestershire Regiment.
At the outbreak of war he returned from service with the 1st Battalion in Egypt and was posted to the 2nd Battalion as a Major, which he then briefly commanded. In March 1915 he took command of the 1st Battalion. In 1916 he fought in the Somme and in March 1917 he won the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). He then took command of 23 Brigade in the 8th Division and led them in the third Ypres and in March 1918 in the Somme where he won a bar to his DSO.
In May 1918 he was moved to the Chermin des Dames front which was the responsibility of the French. When the Germans attacked the 8th Division they took heavy losses. Grogan, at the time Brigadier General, escaped capture and rallied many stragglers organising them into a small force. It was this command that won his the Victoria Cross.
His Citation Reads
“For most conspicuous bravery and leadership throughout three days of intense fighting. Brigadier General Grogan was, except for a few hours, in command of the remnants of the infantry of a division and various attached troops. His action during the whole of the battle, can only be described as magnificent. The utter disregard for his personal safety, combined with the sound practical ability which he displayed, materially helped to stay the onward thrust of the enemy masses. Throughout the third day of operations, a most critical day, he spent his time under artillery, trench mortar, rifle and machine-gun fire, riding up and down the front line, encouraging his troops, reorganizing those who had fallen into disorder, leading back into the line those who were beginning to retire and setting such a wonderful example, that he inspired with his enthusiasm, not only his own men but also the allied troops who were alongside. As a result the line held and repeated enemy attacks were repulsed. He had one horse shot under him but nevertheless continued on foot to encourage his men until another horse was brought. He displayed throughout the highest valour, powers of command and leadership.”
London Gazette, 25th July 1918
After the Armistices he served in North Russia commanding the 1st Brigade of the relief force under Lord Rawlinson. In the war he was mentioned in dispatches six times, created a Companion of The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael & St. George (CMG) in 1916 and Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) in 1919.
He commanded the 3rd Battalion for three years after the war before commanding 5th Brigade in Aldershot for a further three years. From 1933 to 1945 he was appointed one of His Majesty’s Bodyguard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms. He was the Colonel of the Worcestershire Regiment from 1938 to 1945.
In 1920 he married Ethel Gladys, and they had two sons. He died at the age of 86 on 3rd January 1962 at his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire.