Horace Grant RN

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Horace Grant RN

Post  Bob Pearson on Sat 27 Jul 2013 - 13:05

It is with great sadness to announce that Horace Grant RN, a sailor from the cruiser, HMS Glasgow, has passed away at the age of 95.

I first met Horace when I was researching for a book on the gold transport. in his letters, Horace described to me what he saw as Glasgow came alongside the burning quay at Molde and then detailed exactly how the gold was brought aboard Glasgow and the problems they had getting it on to the ship. It was Horace's idea to soap the edges of the gangplank with 'Pusser's' Soap' so that they heavy boxes could be slid up the gangplank and on to the cruiser even when they came under attack from a German bomber.  It was his descriptions that I used as primary material in Redd Gullet! and for that I will be forever grateful to Horace for his clear memories and recollections of what was a very dark period in Norwegian history.

During the exchange of letters, it became apparent that Horace had not been awarded the Norwegian War Medal. This medal was an unusual award because it was thought that all British recipients had received the medal over the years since the war and that the crew of HMS Glasgow were the only sailors to receive the medal due to their rescue of the gold bullion, but more importantly of King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav at Molde. Horace's full naval career was duly copied down and passed to Nicole Granholt - the Defence Assistant at the British Embassy in Oslo and it was Nicole who initiated that award, which was later presented to Horace at his home in the Isle of Wight by Commander Paal Berg of the Royal Norwegian Navy. Horace then became the last ever Royal Navy sailor to receive this award. Since that auspicious occasion, which was attended by family, friends and shipmates, Horace has subsequently been awarded the Arctic Star.

Ironically, Horace was previously involved with handling gold when HMS Glasgow took part in the Royal Tour to Canada in 1939. At that time, war was looming over the horizon and Winston Churchill thought it best if the nation's gold reserves were kept somewhere safer and so Glasgow, among other ships, was detailed to carry part of the UK's wealth to Canada, along with the Royal Tour. A year later, Horace would be helping to load very valuable boxes again, but this time it would be for Norway.

I had the privilege of meeting Horace at his home in the IoW and found him to be a truly wonderful, kind and caring man who was prepared to help me unselfishly with my research. He was very much the comedian and could see the funny side of anything. In short he was a great ambassador for the Royal Navy and of an era that fought against a tyranny yet did so with a smile on his face. There are not many who can say that they guarded the gold of two nations, served two Kings of two nations, and all with one cruiser...HMS Glasgow.

Rest in peace, Horace - it has been a great privilege to have known you.

Bob Pearson

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Addendum

Post  Bob Pearson on Sat 27 Jul 2013 - 17:28

My apologies, the Royal Norwegian naval commander's name should read as Paal Hope, not Paal Berg.


Bob Pearson

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Re: Horace Grant RN

Post  AltforNorge on Sat 27 Jul 2013 - 19:33

Rest in Peace

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