Private James Grundy DCM


James Grundy's photo is from The War Illustrated 3 June 1916: "Recommended for the VC by the Earl of Cavan; Private James Grundy, Grenadier Guards, who envinced remarkable courage in repairing telephone wires under fire and within a few yards of the enemy.

In the Staffordshire Sentinel dated 13 May 1916 there is an article regarding his recommendation for the VC:

The news reached Pte Grundy's mother, who lives at 44 West Parade, Mount Pleasant, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, in a letter dated May 3rd, from Captain and Regimental Adjutant Forbes, Regimental Orderly Room, Grenadier Guards, Buckingham Gate, London. The letter is as follows: "Colonel Streatfeild, commanding the regiment, directs me to inform you that he has received the following information concerning your son, No. 11477 Pte James Grundy, Grenadier Guards, in a letter dated April 29th, from Lieut-Colonel Lord Henry Seymour writes as follows:

"I am sure you will be delighted to hear that we have got a recommendation for a Victoria Cross. It is No. 11477 Pte James Grundy. The action was as follows: On the night of April 19th-20th, 1916, in trenches in xxxxx Pte J Grundy remained on duty with his telephone under very heavy shell fire until his wire was cut, when he went out into the open at 120 yards from the trench and mended it. It was cut a second time and Pte Grundy went out for the second time, and was severely wounded while in the act of mending the line. When rescued, he was still attempting to perform this duty, and in spite of his severe wounds, he refused to be taken out of the trench until he had personally handed over the secret code to an officer. Hs conduct was beyond praise."

"The recommendation for the Victoria Cross was made by the General Officer Commanding the Guards Division - Major-General the Earl of Cavan - himself on receipt of Lieut-Colonel Henry Seymour's report of your son's most gallant conduct. As has already been reported to you, your son is now in hospital. Col. Streatfeild desires me to send you, on his behalf, and on behalf of the regiment, most hearty congratulations on your son's splendid conduct. We all hope that he will make a complete and speedy recovery from his wounds, and will be awarded the much-coveted decoration for which he has been recommended. I have this day written to your son, to inform him that he has been recommended for the Victoria Cross. We are all very proud of him."

[A description of his heroism is on page 19 of Sir Frederick Ponsonby's 'The Grenadier Guards in the Great War of 1914-1918' vol 2]

The Sentinel continues:

"Pte James Grundy, of the Grenadier Guards, is a son of an aged widow, Mrs Zilpah Grundy, of 47, West Parade, Mount Pleasant, Fenton. He is a native of Fenton and, by a happy coincidence, the receipt of the above letter this morning announcing his recommendation for the VC synchronises with the 29th anniversary of his birth. He adopted military life at the age of 17, when he joined the Grenadier Guards and he served in that regiment for eight years. During that time he was stationed in London, and while there he took a prominent and successful part in regimental athletics. He particularly distinguished himself as a swimmer. At the completion of his eight years service he returned as an Army Reservist to civilian life, and came to live with his mother at West Parade. He took up employment as a bricklayer at the Great Fenton Collieries, and remained there until war broke out, when he immediately went back to his old regiment. He was attached as instructor to one of the battalions of the Regiment, and continued to act in that capacity from August 1914, until October last year, when he was transferred to the Continent. The injury described in the above letter is the first which he has suffered since going to the front.

Although the official notification of his wounds which came to hand a little over a week ago, described his condition as serious, the thoughtful soldier has endeavoured in his letters home to give the impression that his injuries were only of a trifling character, rather than cause unnecessary anxiety to has aged mother. Pte Grundy was removed to a hospital in England last week-end, and in a letter which his mother received this (Saturday) morning the wounded soldier would appear to be ignorant of the fact that he had been singled out for such a distinction. He mentioned that he received fourteen wounds altogether but adds: "The doctors think they are healing, so they cannot be so bad" Private Grundy belongs to a well-known Fenton family and was born in the same house in which his mother resides today, and is one of four surviving sons. His father, who was well known in the district as a contracting joiner and carpenter, died about four years ago, just before the young soldier returned to private life after his first period of service. Needless to say, his mother is greatly elated at the news which has come to hand, and her joy is shared by the people of the district in general, and the neighbourhood of West Parade in particular, where Jim Grundy was well known. Many of the people in West Parade have signified their delight by displaying flags from the bedroom windows, and the little street bears something of a carnival appearance. Illustrating the retiring disposition of the gallant soldier, his mother remarked to a "Sentinel" representative: "Jim would come in by the back way if he saw this demonstration."

He is buried at Stoke-on-Trent (Hartshill) Cemetery. Another article in the Staffordshire Sentinel dated 13 July 1918 described his funeral:

Death of Pte James Grundy, DCM
Military Funeral For Fenton Hero

The funeral with military honours took place on Saturday of Pte James Grundy, DCM, Grenadier Guards, of Fenton, whose death occurred a few days previously at Millbank Hospital, London, where he had undergone a serious operation.

Private Grundy, who was well known in Fenton, joined the Grenadier Guards fourteen years ago, and rejoined his regiment as a reservist in August 1914. He went through much stiff fighting with the Guards Division, and was twice wounded, the first time on April 19th 1916, and the second time on November 21st 1917. Private Grundy was very popular in the army, and he had a great many friends. He was recognised as a first-class soldier by his officers and comrades, and his fearlessness and devotion to duty earned him great praise. On one occasion he greatly distinguished himself in the field with the result that his Divisional Commander strongly recommended him for the Victoria Cross. The coveted decoration, however, did not come his way, and for his bravery he received the D.C.M. at the hands of Sir Francis Lloyd. Since then Private Grundy has been awarded the Montenegrin Silver Medal and a certificate for bravery in the field. When news of Private Grundy's gallant act reached Fenton the inhabitants subscribed towards the purchase of War Savings Certificates, which were presented to him, together with an illuminated address.

Prior to the internment at Hartshill, an impressive choral service was conducted by the Rev. L. Longdon at St. Paul's Church, Mount Pleasant, in the presence of a large congregation. The hymns, "Now the labourer's task is o'er" and "On the Resurrection Morning" were sung. At the close of the service Mr. Wm Banks, the organist, played the Dead March in "Saul". On leaving the church, the cortege, which was marshalled to the boundary by Sergts. Wm. Outram and H. Robinson of the Fenton Special Constabulary, was headed by Private R. Tideswell, of the Grenadier Guards, Private F. Ravencroft (late of the North Staffords), who has been wounded and received his discharge, and sixteen soldiers, some of whom had been on active service, belonging to the Notts and Derby Regt., in charge of a sergeant and corporal. Then came the gun carriage bearing the coffin, which was covered by the Union Jack, and flanked by four buglers belonging to the Duke of Wellington's Regt., and followed by the coaches conveying the relatives and friends, including the deceased soldier's widow and brother, who is a petty officer in the Navy, having been serving since the commencement of the war. Many inhabitants brought up the rear.

Many letters of condolence have reached the deceased's widow, among them being one from Lieut.-Colonel Francis Scott, stating: "I hasten to offer my deepest sympathy. He (Grundy) was a most gallant man and a well tried comrade, and we hoped he would have been awarded the Victoria Cross instead of the D.C.M."


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by Stephen Luscombe