William Grant was born in Pleasant Creek (Stawell) on September 30 1870 to Edmund Craigie Grant and Elizabeth Grant of "Alvie" in Darlington Road.
William attended Brighton Grammar School and gained a degree in engineering from the University of Melbourne.
Edmund came to Stawell in 1856 from Avoca and with his partner George Lamont, was the first to erect Quartz Crushing Machinery at Concongella Creek in 1857 - a Chilean Mill.
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After his father's death in 1894, he gave up engineering for the land and moved to Queensland where he had bought "Bowenville Station" on the Darling Downs.
In 1901 William Grant was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Queensland Mounted Infantry. He was old for his rank, but a good education and a flair for soldering made up for this.
According to General Sir Harry Chauvel, he was tall, lithe and wiry, full of dash and energy and had all the attributes to become a leader.
Promotion came quickly; as a Major he took command of the 14th Light Horse in 1910 and was made Lieutenant Colonel in 1911. In the reorganisation of 1912, his regiment became the 3rd (Darling Downs) Light Horse.
He served with distinction in World War 1, commanding the 11th Light Horse Regiment as Lt. Colonel and later the 3rd Light Horse Brigade and the 4th Light Horse Brigade.
At Beersheba in the Middle East, British and Australian forces had failed in several attempts to take the town from the Turks.
Short of water for the horses and with the situation becoming desperate, Grant suggested to General Sir Harry Chauvel a charge of the cavalary, quite contrary to normal Light Horse practice which was to dismount and attack as infantry.
Grant then led the famous charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade on October 31, 1917 with the 4th (Victorian) and the 12th (New South Wales) regiments, over some 3 kilometers of open country against the Turks in trenches with machine guns and artillery.
It became a magnificent victory, at the cost of only 31 lives and 36 wounded.
"Grant's Mob" had overwhelmed and demoralized the Turks and within an hour of the decision to attack, the town was taken and soon some 58,000 allied troops and their horses were drinking at the wells of Beersheba.
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After the battle, perhaps the greatest compliment was paid by a captured German Staff Officer who said, "we did not believe that the charge could be pushed home".
"That seemed an impossible intention. I have heard a great deal of the fighting quality of Australian Soldiers.
"They are not Soldiers at all; they are madmen."
Brigadier-General William Grant was awarded the D.S.O. and Bar, C.M.G., Order of the Nile and was mentioned in dispatches on four occasions.
He died on May 25, 1939 in Southport, Queensland. He was survived by his wife Eveline and three sons and two daughters.
The Stawell Historical Society is located in the Pleasant Creek Historical Precinct, Western Highway, Stawell and can be contacted on 5358 3789.