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Percival E. Gratwick V.C. (Gratwick Memorial Aquatic Centre) Print Page Print this page

06-August-2015
06-August-2015

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams
Swiming Pool commemorates Percival Gratwick who was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions during World War Two.  

Percival Eric (Percy) Gratwick VC (1902 – 1942) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Gratwick worked in Perth, at one stage as a messenger at Parliament House, until about 1922 when he went north to the Pilbara and learned droving and blacksmithing on Indee station, 30 miles (48 km) south of Port Hedland. Then he moved to Yandeyarra station, 30 miles (48 km) further south, as a stationhand. He gradually built up a droving plant, got a team of mostly Aboriginal stockmen together, and took contracts. Stopped by drought in 1931, he turned to prospecting while employed part time on White Springs station, next to Yandeyarra. In the mid-1930s he settled at nearby Wodgina, a tantalite mine, blacksmithing, prospecting and occasionally working cattle for White Springs. He was his own man, well used to looking after himself in that tough country.

During World War Two on the night of 25/26 October 1942 at Miteiriya Ridge, Gratwick's company suffered heavy casualties and was held up by intense enemy fire; his platoon lost its commander, its sergeant, and most of the men. Seeing the seriousness of the situation, Gratwick launched a single-handed attack with grenades, rifle, and bayonet on the German posts. He finally fell to a burst of machine-gun fire. His lone efforts had a big impact, inspiring all those around him and enabling the company to advance.

Location

Address:13-15 McGregor Street, Gratwick Memorial Aquatic Centre, Port Hedland, 6721
State:WA
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -20.307955
Long: 118.614002
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Military
Actual Event STart Date:26-October-1942
Actual Event End Date:26-October-1942
Link: http://adb.anu.edu.au

Dedication

Front Inscription
THIS SWIMMING POOL
COMMEMORATES THE LATE
PERCIVAL E. GRATWICK

ON THE NIGHT OF THE 25TH - 26TH OCTOBER 1942 ON TRIG 29 MITEIRIYA RIDGE IN EL ALAMEIN EGYPT, WHILST UNDER HEAVY ENEMY FIRE AND WITH COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR HIS OWN SAFETY, PERCY GRATWICK DESTROYED TWO STRATEGIC ENEMY POSITIONS IN SINGLE - HANDED CHARGE. WHEN WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE OF THE FINAL OBJECTIVE HE LOST HIS LIFE. 

HIS HEROISM FOR WHICH HE WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS ENABLED HIS COMRADES TO MOVE FORWARD AND SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE THE OPERATION. 

AS A CIVILIAN PERCY GRATWICK WAS A MODEST MAN WHO WORKED IN THE DISTRICT AS A JACKEROO AND MINER AND WAS WIDELY KNOWN FOR HIS GOOD HUMOUR AND KINDNESS.

HE GAVE HIS LIFE TO SAVE OTHERS.


 
Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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