Vyger Irish Genealogy

Our search to further our Eggleton, Surgeoner, Smiley & Gracey
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george-frederick-handel-graceyGeorge Frederick Handel Gracey

1878 to 1958

The Times

To die on St. Patrick's Day, as Captain Gracey did, may be counted an interesting coincidence for an Irishman. Gracey was proud of belonging to the Irish race (he was born in Belfast in 1878) and never shed the brogue of the Emerald Isle. He was the son of Belfast's City organist at that time and his Christian names, George Frederick Handel, preserved his father's veneration for the composer. Successively a carpenter in a Belfast shipbuilding yard, an industrial missionary at Urfa for the American Near East Relief Committee, prisoner of war in Moscow and British representative to the Armenian Republic, he was secretary of the Friends of Armenia, then of the Assyrian Settlement National Appeal and finally held two posts, together covering nearly twenty years, in the Save the Children Fund. He was awarded the DSO in 1919, married a kinswoman of the late Sir Henry Wood and had two sons and two daughters and several grandchildren.

As the present writer said in The Times the day following his death : Both as overseas delegate from 1929 to 1937 and as general secretary from the latter year until his retirement in 1948, Gracey infused an almost evangelical fervour into the work of the Save the Children Fund. During the war he led the Fund in setting up residential and day-time nurseries in Great Britain and he was tireless in attending committee and other meetings in this cause. For it he won the support of the Save the Children Fund throughout the Common-wealth and of the Save the Children Federation in the United States, with the result that many of the Fund's war-time nurseries in this country bore Commonwealth or American names and from time to time were visited by delegates from those lands.