V.C. Hero from Tunbridge Wells
Sat Jan 16 2021 
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V.C. Hero From Tunbridge Wells

The most highly treasured award any man serving in the British armed forces deserves due to his own personal demonstration of bravery, courage and heroism, can only be the Victoria Cross.

This medal alone, the most treasured to any person in military combat, whether on land, on the sea, or in the air, is awarded only to those men of outstanding courage and bravery in the face of battle. Where they alone have confronted the enemy and by their own act of selflessness have won the fight, either to die in the ensuing conflict, or to survive and receive this most highly honoured and prestigious award.

One such incredible Hero to receive this Honour was a soldier from Tunbridge Wells, many perhaps do not remember this man, or his name, or have even heard of his own memorable and victorious actions against the enemy at that time, none-the-less his name has been honoured and remembered by those of the Borough.

This Victoria Cross holder, who for his gallant actions against the enemy will be remembered by the plaque dedicated in his name this week in Tunbridge Wells, and in Honour of such an outstanding award to such an heroic citizen, more so, such an outstanding Hero of the town.

At the Kent and Sussex cemetery, many congregated to demonstrate their deepest respect and to unveil this memorial plaque in Honour of....Colonel John Duncan Grant, of the 10thGurkha Rifles.

Colonel John Duncan V.C.
Hero from Tunbridge Wells

The town Mayor was present during this ceremony, Cllr Leonard Price, accompanying him were councillors of the Borough, Cllr Roy Bullock, Leader of the Council, Keith Hetherington and Richard Snow, local historians, as well as representatives from the Gurkha's, an officer, a piper and other ranks, there to display their own deepest respect for this Hero of the Borough of Tunbridge Wells, during this unveiling ceremony.

As the plaque was ceremoniously unveiled the Gurkha piper played the lament, those in attendance bowed their head in respect for this man, this Hero of the Town

This account is part of the history of the Heroic soldier, a most Honourable recipient of the Victoria Cross...

Born in 1877, John Duncan Grant entered the army in 1898 where he served in numerous wars over the next 20 years. As Deputy Director of Auxiliary and Territorial Forces in India 1928-29, he went on to become Colonel of the 10th Ghurkha Rifles, from 1934-47.

Decorated with the Victoria Cross by Edward VII on 24 July 1905, below is a quote taken from the official citation, which would have traditionally been published in the London Gazette where the award of a Victoria Cross was first announced:

“On the occasion of the storming of the Gyantse Jong on July 6 1904, the storming company, headed by Lieutenant Grant, on emerging from the cover of the village, had to advance up a bare, almost precipitous rock face, with little or no cover available, and under heavy fire from the curtain, flanking towers on both sides of the curtain, and other buildings higher up the Jong. Showers of rocks and stones were at the time being hurled down the hillside by the enemy from above. One man could only go up at a time, crawling on hands and knees to the breach in the curtain. Lieutenant Grant, followed by Havildar Karbir Pun, 8th Ghurkha Rifles, at once attempted to scale it, but on reaching near the top he was wounded and hurled back, as was also the Havildar, who fell down the rock some thirty feet. Regardless of their injuries, they again attempted to scale the breach and, covered by the fire of the men below, were successful in their object, the Havildar shooting one of the enemy on reaching the top. The successful issue of the assault was very greatly due to the splendid example shown by Lieutenant Grant and Havildar Karbir Pun.”

Colonel Grant went on to fight in “The Great War” and served in the Persian Gulf in 1915 – 1916. From there he was transferred to France and Belgium in 1917, then returned to Mesopotamia in 1918. His whole life was serving his country in many conflicts that he was sent to from 1919 to 1929 until his retirement, with the rank of full Colonel. He was awarded the C.B. in the Kings Birthday Honours List, then becoming the ceremonial Colonel of the 10th Gurkha Rifles between 1934 – 1947.

This V.C. Hero from Tunbridge Wells died aged 89 in 1967, and was cremated in the town. He was certainly a well remembered Hero of the wars that he fought in, even though he received the V.C. before the start of “The Great War”...!


This is also to remember the Gurkha Regiments that fought for this country in many wars, for the sake of their devotion to the cause of freedom and loyalty to the country that they fought for, they delivered not only their soul, but their lives in sacrifice to their own belief and integrity to what was right, to die for.

For the Gurkha's who have served with loyalty, over 250, 000 served with the British armed forces during the two greatest conflicts the world has ever witnessed...In the “Great War” and The Second World War, they too gave the ultimate sacrifice as over 40, 000 were killed in battle...”Such was the death and the sacrifice given, to men of great Honour”.

Down to this day there have been men, great soldiers, brave and heroic in battle to the victory to whom the country they serve has been honoured, but to those who in the annals of warfare none could be greater than those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their brother in arms, as those to whom this medal has been awarded...The Victoria Cross.

“To them we owe the Valour, to them we owe the Sacrifice, to them we owe our Freedom...!!!

In Memory of Colonel John Duncan Grant V.C. - D.S.O – Order of the Bath. (1877 - 1967)

For information about Armed Forces Day...Please log-on to www.armedforcesday.org.uk