John Scrace was born on 31st July 1892 in Chatham, Kent, the oldest of five children to John and Adelaide Scrace. John Sr was a relieving officer for the Medway Board of Guardians, a role which involved “taking charge of poor or insane persons not otherwise cared for” [census1891.com]. Adelaide worked in a similar role, as an infant protection visitor.
It is fair to say, therefore, that John Jr had a very supportive childhood. He attended King’s School in Rochester, where he obtained a scholarship to Peterhouse College, Cambridge.
When war broke out, John was keen to do his part. Initially joining The Buffs (the East Kent Regiment), he transferred across to the newly-formed Royal Air Force in June 1918. By this point he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant, and, as part of his new RAF role, was based at Driffield in Yorkshire.
On 24th August 1918, the aircraft John was flying at the base, spun into the ground, and John was killed instantly. A subsequent inquest identified that “the cause of the accident was due to the fact that, for reasons unknown, part of the top of the left-hand plane of the machine crumpled up in the air and thereby [caused] the pilot to lose control of his machine.” [rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk] Lieutenant Scrace was just 26 years of age.
John Scrace was buried in Christ Church Churchyard in Luton, Bedfordshire; he is commemorated in Woodlands Cemetery in his home town of Gillingham, Kent.