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Commander Duncan Grant, R.N. and ‘Bill Grant’ in Open Tourer ©2018 (Tonal wash, 20 x 29 cm.)

Bill Grant was the first official canine mascot of the new Royal Australian Naval College at Jervis Bay. He enjoyed nothing better than riding around the college in his master’s big open tourer.

CMDR Duncan Grant R.N., Executive Officer and later Commanding Officer of the Naval Establishment H.M.A.S CRESWELL was also Editor of the College Magazine for the boys in which Bill Grant often featured in the early years. For example:

Famous trials. Grant v. Bill Grant. Bill Grant, described as a bulldog of exceptional ugliness, and with no occupation other than eating and sleeping, was brought up on an indictment charging him (1) with being absent without leave from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on August 3rd, 1913; (2) with unlawfully killing, with malice aforethought, one cock, by name Robinson; two hens, Mary and Ellen; two ducks, Flossie and Gertrude; four bantams, Clarence, Bertie, Cuthbert, and Archibald…After the judge had summed up against the prisoner the jury brought in a verdict of guilty…and the prisoner was sentenced to a severe castigation, with the loss of all good conduct bones, and to pay for the victims out of his biscuit allowance [R.A.N.C. Magazine, 1913].

The very popular Bill Grant remained as mascot when in 1919, with his equally popular master, Duncan Grant, having completed his duties at the college, the pair returned to England.

In 2008 during my time as Library & Information Officer for the Navy in Canberra, a wonderful old scrapbook arrived for our collection via the Naval Attache in London. This unique book of photos, sketches, letters, news cuttings, and dried flowers was as funny and fresh as when it was originally compiled by the Commanding Officer’s wife between 1913-1914. When the couple returned to England after the outbreak of war, this wonderful memento went with them. How it resurfaced after 94 years is a mystery, but it was ultimately returned to H.M.A.S. CRESWELL, Royal Australian Naval College (R.A.N.C.), in Jervis Bay.

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