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Sir John Gregory Crace
Official portrait of John Gregory Crace as a rear admiral in 1940
Nickname Jack
Born (1887-02-06)6 February 1887
Died 11 May 1968(1968-05-11) (aged 81)
Place of birth Gungahlin, Australia
Place of death Hampshire, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Service/branch  Royal Navy
 Royal Australian Navy
Years of service 1902–1946
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held Task Force 44,
Chatham Dockyard
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
- Battle of the Coral Sea
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath

Vice Admiral Sir John Gregory Crace KBE, CB, RAN (6 February 1887 – 11 May 1968), also known as Jack Crace, was an Australian who came to prominence as an officer of the Royal Navy (RN). Crace nevertheless spent a great deal of his career with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). He commanded the Australian-United States Support Force (Task Force 44) at the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942.

Crace was born to Kate Marion Crace and Edward Kendall Crace at Gungahlin (which was later part of the ACT, but was in NSW at the time). He was educated at The Kings School in Parramatta, before completing school in the UK in October 1899. Crace then enlisted in the RN. His first posting was with the training ship HMS Britannia, in May 1902. After being trained as a torpedo officer, Crace served on the battlecruiser HMAS Australia throughout the First World War.

He travelled back and forth to Australia during the interwar years, and served in a series of sea and shore positions before being assigned command of the Australian Squadron in September 1939. Upon his arrival in Sydney, Crace grew increasingly dismayed at the state of the RAN fleet and attempted to resign.[1] However, after war with Japan broke out, Crace was appointed commander of the Allied Naval Squadron, ANZAC Force.

During the Battle of the Coral Sea, Crace narrowly escaped a Japanese air raid while patrolling south of New Guinea. He returned to Britain in June 1942 as a Vice Admiral, commanding the Chatham Dockyard. Crace was placed on the retired list in 1945, but remained in command at Chatham until July 1946.

He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1947. He had been appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1941.

Sir John Crace died in Hampshire, England in 1968. The suburb of Crace, Australian Capital Territory is named after Crace's father, Edward Kendall Crace.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Action Stations Coral Sea, p.36
  • Coulthard-Clark, Chris, Action Stations Coral Sea, Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1991.
  • Parrish, Thomas and S. L. A. Marshall, ed. The Simon and Schuster Encyclopedia of World War II, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978.
  • Keegan, John, ed. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of World War II. New York: Rand McNally & Company, 1977.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Military offices
Preceded by
Commodore Wilfrid Patterson
Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Squadron
1939 – 1942
Succeeded by
Rear Admiral Victor Crutchley

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