Grant, Ian Douglas Rutherford

He was the only son of Douglas Joseph Grant, an international golfer from San Francisco and Elspeth Rutherford Grant (daughter of Sir William Rutherford, 1st Baronet).   He was a fine athlete, from 1933-1935 in OTH VI, one year in soccer XI and a winner of the Mile and the Half in very good times.  He won the Gillespie and Leslie Hunter Prizes, was Senior Commoner Prefect and was awarded an Exhibition to New College, Oxford in December 1935.

On leaving Oxford with his BA in June 1939, he worked for six months with the Shell Company, but then, in spite of his American citizenship, joined the Irish Guards.

Grant married Maureen Frances Grace Otway (daughter of Major J.  Hastings Otway RE, of Teignmouth), on March 7th 1940: they lived at Copthorne Bank, Sussex, and when Grant died he left two daughters, Josephine and Nicola.

Promoted Captain in May 1942, he held for a time the rank of Major and the appointments of DAA and QMG, but then returned to regimental duty, serving as a Company Commander in No.1 Company, 3rd Battalion, Irish Guards.           The battalion went out to Normandy aboard a Liberty ship and the liner “Llangibby Castle”, sailing from Southampton on June 19th and landing at Arromanches on June 23rd. The battalion concentrated near Bayeux on June 25th, and spent two untroubled days in pleasant orchards,  as the regimental history puts it, “without a sign of the war”.

The battalion then moved up into the front line and by 3rd July 1944 was based on the village of La Gaule, two miles west of Carpiquet airfield, the scene of bitter fighting.   Caen was captured by the Canadians and the British on 9th July, sending the Germans into retreat.  The Allied troops were instructed not to move forwards, but to rest in preparation for Operation Goodwood, the offensive aimed at capturing the German-held Bourguébus Ridge, whilst also destroying as many German tanks as possible.   Operation Goodwood was preceded by massive aerial bombing, which went on into the day of the attack.  In Cagny, the bombing had shattered the German defences, but as British units struggled to get past various bottle-necks, high-quality troops were filling the gap. The advance passed Cagny but did not go any further than the outskirts of Frénouville.

3rd Battalion had followed the tanks across the Orne. The regimental history records what happened on 18th July:  “They had spent the morning and afternoon moving forward in their TCVs [lorries] behind 2nd Battalion. The long line of trucks curled its way through the minefields, passing “flocks of hefty German prisoners looking damn surly.” As they passed out of the old bridgehead, the first shells came down astride the track, and everyone “sat very still with their fingers crossed.” Captain Ian Grant, No.1 Company commander, sitting inside the cab of his truck, was wounded by splinters and died the following day.”   The shell-splinters had hit Grant, who was twenty-seven years old, in the stomach.

He is buried in grave IVA.N.15 of the Ranville War Cemetery, where his tombstone carries a moving inscription:

Beloved husband of Maureen / Father of Josephine and Nicola / My love is with you always, Ian Darling



War: World War 2

  • Surname: Grant
  • Forenames or initials: Ian Douglas Rutherford
  • House: A
  • Years in School: 1930-1935
  • Rank: Captain
  • Regiment: Irish Guards
  • Date of Birth: 9th January 1917
  • Date of Death: 19th July 1944
  • How Died: Died of Wounds
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner G1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Ranville War Cemetery: Grave IVA.N.15