Topic: John James Grant (1889-1916)

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Tauranga born wood machinist John James Grant enlisted to serve during World War I with the Australian Imperial Force and saw action in Gallipoli. He transferred to the Camel Corps in 1916 and was killed in action at El Ferdan, Mageibra on 6 August 1916 during the Battle of Romani, the last ground attack on the Suez Canal. Story by Debbie McCauley.

John James Grant was born in Tauranga, New Zealand on 4 April 1889 (reg. 1889/4057). His parents were Joseph and Emily Grant (nee Bidlake) who married in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1882.

At some stage John moved to Australia. He married Ethel Marion H and they had two children together:

  1. David John Grant
  2. Winifred M Grant

John worked as a wood machinist.

John's father Joseph, died in Tauranga on 22 October 1911. Joseph was buried in Tauranga's Methodist Cemetery on the corner of Devonport Road and 17th Avenue.

On 3 February 1915, John enlisted to serve during World War I, from 25 Nimmo Street, Middle Park, Victoria, Australia. He served with the Australian Imperial Force (Service No. 383) in B Company, 22 Battalion. His unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 10 May 1915.

On 30 August 1915 John was sent with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEFto Gallipoli.

John's mother, Emily, died in Tauranga on 5 October 1915. Emily was buried in Tauranga's Methodist Cemetery.

On 1 February 1916 John transferred to the Camel Corps.

Private John Grant was killed in action on 6 August 1916 at El Ferdan, Mageibra during the Battle of Romani in Egypt. He was aged 30. El Ferdan Railway Bridge is a swing bridge that spans the Suez Canal near Ismailia in Egypt. The Battle of Romani was the last ground attack on the Suez Canal at the beginning of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign during World War I. It was fought between the 3rd and 5th of August 1916 near the Egyptian town of Romani on the Sinai Peninsula, east of the Suez Canal.

John has no known grave. He is remembered on the Jerusalem Memorial at JerusalemYerushalayim (Jerusalem District)Israel. The Memorial Register states:

GRANT, Tpr, John. 383. 1st Australian Bn. Imperial Camel Corps. 6th Aug., 1916. Aged 30. Son of Joseph and Emily Grant; husband of Ethel Marion Grant, of 23, Beach Rd., Dulwich Hill, New South Wales. Native of Auckland, New Zealand.

John Grant (1889-1916)

John is also remembered on the World War I Memorial in St George’s Church at Gate Pā in Tauranga:

World War I Memorial: St George’s Church (Gate Pā)


Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

McLean, Heather (1992). Burial Records: Tauranga, New Zealand, 1881-1992.

McLean, Heather (1996). Tauranga Methodist and Children's Cemetery Headstones.

National Archives of Australia: Military Personnel Record.

The AIF Project: John Grant.

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John James Grant (1889-1916)

Note:Service Number: 383
First Names:John James
Last Name:Grant
Date of Birth:4 April 1889
Place of Birth:Tauranga
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:6 August 1916
Place of death:El Ferdan, Mageibra, Egypt
Place of burial:no known grave
Occupation:wood machinist
Spouses name:Ethel Marion
Spouses date of death:1938
Spouses place of death:New South Wales, Australia
Fathers name:Joseph Grant
Fathers date of birth:28 July 1836
Fathers place of birth:Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Fathers date of death:22 October 1911
Fathers place of death:Tauranga, New Zealand
Mothers name:Emily Bidlake
Mothers date of birth:December 1850
Mothers place of birth:Maidstone, Kent, England
Mothers date of death:5 October 1915
Mothers place of death:Tauranga, New Zealand
Name of the children:David John Grant and Winifred M Grant
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)

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