Born on 4th September 1880 to Pascoe Du Pre and Sophia Grenfell at 69 Eaton Place, Guildford, Surrey, Francis Grenfell joined the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders in 1899 and served in the South African War (Second Boer War). During the First World War he served with the 9th Lancers (The Queen’s Royal).
The 13th November 1914 edition of the London Gazette explains how Francis got the Victoria Cross:
“For gallantry in action against un-broken Infantry at Audregnies, Belgium, on 24th August, 1914, and for gallant conduct in assisting to save the guns of 119th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, near Doubon the same day.”
During this action, which was part of the Battle of Mons, he was severely wounded following a mounted charge on a large body of German infantry. Despite his wounds he assisted 529 Alexander drag the guns out of enemy range under a hail of enemy fire.
He later died on 24th May 1915 aged 34 near Hooge, Belgium, after being shot in the back. He is buried in the Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery at Ieper (Ypres), West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. He will be remembered for his bravery in warfare.
Francis bequeathed part of his estate to John Buchan, author of The Thirty-Nine Steps. Miss M D Grenfell applied for his 1914 Star in February 1918.
Francis is commemorated on the Beaconsfield War Memorial, a memorial window in Beaconsfield Parish Church and a memorial in St George’s Church, Ypres. His name is listed on the 9th Lancers Memorial in Canterbury Cathedral.