109540 Pte. Albert Grounds Peace, known as "Pax" (per Latin for Peace), was born 16th January, 1894, in Leicester, England. The 7th and last child of Samuel Peace (who died in 1910) and Jane Grounds, Albert, aged 17, left England in December 1911 on the ship Hesperian [incidentally the same ship that was to bring him back to the UK with the 4th CMR in 1915 - the ship was subsequently sunk on its return voyage to Canada in 1915]. He landed in Halifax and was bound for Toronto.

Attesting into the 4th CMR on 27th November, 1914, in Toronto, Albert incorrectly stated his date of birth as 1891; his trade being quoted as auditor. Enlisted as Sapper no. 109540, in the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, Albert served with them through their theatres of war, until granted a commission in June 1916. Albert transferred to the Canadian Engineers Training Depot at Shorncliffe, England, and in September 1916 was attached to the Royal Flying Corps, being posted to Hendon, England, for training.

Returning to France in May 1917 with the RFC, 9 Squadron, Albert was subsequently promoted from Flying Officer to Flight Commander (temporary Captain) in March 1918. Following the end of war, Albert relinquished his commission in the Overseas Military Forces of Canada, on appointment to a commission in the Royal Air Force as Lieutenant (Flying Officer), 8 Squadron. He was awarded the Air Force Cross (AFC).

Albert married Dorothy Thwaite, daughter of Lionel Percy Thwaite, Captain in the 14th Hussars, on 19th January, 1919, A son, John Groundes-Peace, was born in December of that year. In 1921, 8 Squadron RAF was posted to Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and Albert served there for a year, becoming Squadron Adjutant during this time. Sadly, Albert was killed in a mid-air collision whilst on training flight with 8 aircraft of his squadron, flying De Havilland 9a (E8474), at Hinaida, near Baghdad. Wing Commander Dermott Allen of No 8 Squadron wrote to Albert's wife, Dorothy, expressing his sympathies.

As Albert (Pax) was the Squadron Adjutant and a close friend of W.C. Allen, his letter is quite fulsome. It includes the following paragraph: "You will want to know how the accident occurred. We were doing a practice formation with eight machines. The exercise was completed and I fired the signal light for the formation to break up. As the machines dispersed your husband, who was piloting one machine, collided in the air with his next ahead. The wing tip of the latter struck the tail plane of your husband's machine breaking it. The machines were at a height of about 2,000 feet. Both machines struck the ground out of control. The pilot of the other machine died within half an hour, his passenger had a miraculous escape and got away with a few minor cuts and bruises. Your husband and his mechanic were dead when the ambulance got to them."

Picture and biography credits: Roderick Groundes-Peace