Concerning C.B. Grace

Published: 2022
Pages: 22
Author: Gibbons, Roger
Publisher: GCCC Heritage Trust
Rating: 3.5 stars

It was back in 2015 that I picked up a copy of In Memoriam, a look at the lives of Gloucestershire cricketers who had lost their lives in the Great War. That one was reprinted in 2019, and at the same time three more booklets appeared, this one, this one, and this one.

I was looking forward after that to the regular addition of more booklets from the Gloucestershire Museum but, until now, had been disappointed. In 2022 however I suddenly get another four, and this time all are brand new pieces of research, once again penned by Roger Gibbons.

In terms of titles this one, featuring as it does the story of a member of one of the most famous names in the game, caught my eye first. Charles Butler Grace was the youngest of WG’s four children. A little surprisingly none of the three boys came close to emulating their father’s cricketing achievements. The eldest, WG Jnr was the most frequently seen, albeit his 50 odd First Class matches brought him no great success. Middle brother Henry Edgar was a Royal Navy officer who has no entry at all on Cricketarchive, and then there was the youngest, CB, who was born in 1882.

CB was no great shakes as a cricketer, although he did appear at First Class level on four occasions. On each of those his father was captain, and in two of the matches concerned his elder brother appeared as well. His achievements in those appearances being fairly modest the reader suspects that, absent the famous father, he too would almost certainly not have an entry on Cricketarchive either.

Many words have been written about WG over the years and, as a part of his life, CB’s name is by no means unreported in the literature of the game, but no publication has ever been devoted to him. Gibbons has remedied that oversight with this interesting little monograph that tells the story of a man whose main career was as an engineer, and who died at the crease at the age of 56, having just struck the boundary that took the team he was representing to 300 for the first time in their history.

Gibbons has found some correspondence that sheds some new light on what was previously known about CB, and has delved into other archives to put some flesh on the bones of his subject’s life. He has also found a number of photographs which, if your brain can perform the task of imagining people with or, as the case may be, without bushy beards clearly demonstrates the family resemblance.

Finally there appears what at first blush seems entirely random, a piece of poetry from the pen of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who makes clear that his literary talent was by no means confined to detective stories. It is however an entirely apposite inclusion as the poem celebrates the only First Class wicket (in ten appearances) that Conan Doyle ever took. His victim on that August day in 1900 was none other than WG, and it was one of those two matches in which CB and WG Jnr appeared as well.

Anyone interested in buying this and any of the other booklets can contact the author via email at gibbonsroger044@gmail.com. The price is, including UK postage and packing, a very reasonable £6 or, for multiple purchases, £15 for any three or £20 for all four booklets. An additional incentive to would be purchasers is that, naturally, all proceeds go to help the Gloucestershire museum, a very worthy cause indeed. 

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