George Anthony Greig was born on 29 March 1888, the sixth son of Hunter Hepburn and Phoebe Jane Greig, in Perth, Scotland. He was educated first at The Academy, Perth, and then at Denstone College in Staffordshire (1902-1906) where he excelled at football and cricket, being awarded his colours in both, and was also a more than useful golfer. From there, he went on to Theological College at Coates Hall in Edinburgh in 1907. To gain a qualification, he matriculated as an Unattached member of Durham University in Epiphany Term 1909; that is, he would still have studied at Edinburgh but would have come to Durham to take his exams. This he duly did, passing his first year Theology exams in the following term. A year later, in Easter term 1910, he passed his Licence in Theology finals and took his L.Th. on 21 June 1910. He then came into residence at the university as a member of St Chad’s Hall, embarking on a BA degree, from the first part of which his L.Th. exempted him. He took his finals in the Easter term of 1911 and passed Part I but failed Part II. Having now gone out of residence, he resat and passed Part II in the following Michaelmas term and took his BA degree (in litteris antiquis) on 12 December 1911. He had also continued his sporting prowess from school, playing in the St Chad’s cricket team that won the Grey Cup for the first time in 1911, and also playing a number of times for the university. Against University College on 2 June 1911, he scored 58 and took a hat-trick in a 5 wicket haul for St Chad’s in a 124 run win. He also won his colours in the Durham Colleges tennis team in 1911 and rowed in the St Chad’s first boat in the Senate Cup in March 1911, as well as in the Trial Fours in Michaelmas 1910. Away from sport, he spoke several times in the St Chad’s Hall Debating Society.
After Durham, he was now committed to a career in the Church. Returning to Scotland, he became curate of Christ Church in Glasgow, 1911-1915, and was ordained, first as deacon by the bishop of St Andrews in the same year, and as priest by the bishop of Glasgow in 1912, living by 1914 at 14 Armfield Place, Dennistoun, in Glasgow.
It was indeed as an Acting-Chaplain that he was seconded to the Royal Navy, being appointed to the Navy List on 15 February 1915. On 23 February he was appointed as chaplain at H.M.S. Indus, the training establishment and workshop for supernumerary artificers and boy artificers at Devonport. He then went to sea in H.M.S. Russell, a pre-Dreadnought battleship built by Palmers of Jarrow which had been in service since 1903. She was part of the 2nd detached Squadron based at Taranto to reinforce the Italian fleet in the Adriatic. She also covered the evacuation from Gallipoli and was the admiral’s flagship. On 27 April 1916, she was on her way to Valetta in Malta to repair some minor defects, when, 7 miles out from the harbour, she struck a mine laid the previous night by U-73 and sank. Greig, and the captain, Bowden-Smith, were among those rescued by a trawler and were able to walk ashore. Not so fortunate was Lord Nelson’s telescope which the admiral, Sir Sydney Robert, had taken on board with him for safe-keeping but which went down with the ship. Greig immediately began visiting the rescued men and the wounded in hospital. However, he himself had been badly affected by the gas of the explosion, became violently sick, and died the following day in the Royal Naval Hospital on 28 April 1916. Two letters, one from Captain Bowden-Smith and the other from a fellow chaplain, were printed in the Durham University Journal in June 1916, and recount the events of the day and Greig’s death. He is buried on Malta in the Capuccini Naval Cemetery and, in addition to his grave, is commemorated on a memorial in the cemetery.