Pierce Grace (Edward Charles Waterreus) was the son of Ellen, née Reynolds and Martinus Anthony Waterreus, and mokopuna of Annie, née Haberfield and George Reynolds, and Annie, née Price and Johannes Franciscus Waterreus. He was born 30 September 1892 on the banks of the Ruamahanga River at Te Ore Ore in the Wairarapa region. Edward Charles’ parents had three other children, and lived in Te Ore Ore, near Masterton.
Ellen and Martin separated when Edward Charles was young and he was adopted by Martin Tims and Esther Jane, née Beazley, Grace. It was at this point that he was renamed Pierce Grace.
Martin and Esther raised Pierce in Point Chevalier, Auckland. Martin worked at different times as a miner, labourer and hotel keeper, keeping hotels in Puriri and Tairua. Esther worked at the Neavesville Post Office.
At some point in time, Pierce moved to Hawera in South Taranaki. It was here that he met his future wife, Charlotte Emma Cropper, while working at the Royal Hotel in High Street. They married on 19 July 1915. Charlotte and Pierce had one daughter, Hazel Olga Grace, born 30 October 1916.
Pierce and Charlotte Emma Grace.
On 19 July 1917, Pierce enlisted and along with other members of the 32nd Reinforcements he embarked aboard the Willochra 95 from Wellington in November that same year. Pierce disembarked in Liverpool and then served in France – part of the New Zealand Division that along with the Third Army – attempted to overwhelm the Germans along the Trescault Ridge. Struggling to advance on Trescault Spur, the company withstood two days of bloody fighting before being relieved and moved back to Bapaume. Pierce received injuries during the battle that required medical attention, so he was transferred to a Hospital in London. He returned to his battalion in October, just one month before the armistice was declared.
Pierce was promoted to Lance Corporal in December of 1918 before finally embarking for home aboard the Tahiti on 27 May. He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal, in April 1921.
Unknown soldier and Pierce Grace - Standing
Prior to World War One, Pierce was a Motor Mechanic by trade, working for Egmont Tourist Motors, Hawera and Hobbs Davy, Hawera, among others. He was also a volunteer fire-fighter and when he returned home after the war he re-joined the Hawera Brigade. By 1930, Pierce was the Deputy-Superintendent, and upon the formation of the Emergency Fire Service he became Officer in Charge.
Pierce also worked as a Green-keeper at the Fairfield Golf Links, Hawera. According to a report in the Hawera Star in 1943, he was an accomplished amateur golfer and ‘a player of some note, holding his place in teams for interclub fixtures and last October  winning the Labour Day tournament’.
Deputy Superintendent Pierce Grace of the Hawera Volunteer Fire Brigade.
Pierce Grace died suddenly of a heart attack, at home, on 7 February 1943. A service was held at the Grace home, and as the funeral procession passed the local fire station on the way to the cemetery, the officers on duty stood to attention as a mark of respect. Pierce was survived by his wife Charlotte and their daughter, Hazel Olga Bird, née Grace.