Sir Grimwood Mears, K.C.I.E, who died at his home at Ipswich on Thursday at the age of 94, was Chief Justice of the High Court of Allahabad from 1919 until 1932. Previously he had enjoyed a substantial practice at the Bar in England and he had also performed valuable public service in connection with matters arising out of the 1914-18 War.
He was the only son of William Mears of Winchester and was born on January 21, 1869. He was educated at Exeter College Oxford and was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1895 and practiced in London and on Circuit. In 1914 he was requested, in company with a number of other members of the Bar, to investigate cases of alleged German atrocities in Belgium, and he was appointed joint honorary secretary to the commission presided over by Lord Bryce to report upon the matter. It fell to him in 1916 to reply to the White Book issued by the German Government defending the conduct of its troops during the invasion. His reply took the form of a booklet, The Destruction of Belgium: Germany’s Confession and Avoidance. He gave extremely clear analysis of the German case, balanced and fair, revealing a judicial temperament that was later to be displayed with advantage on the Indian Bench. But meanwhile other important work awaited Mears. In 1916 he was appointed secretary to the Royal Commission, consisting of the late Lord Hardinge, Mr. Justice Shearman and Sir Mackenzie Chalmers, that investigated the causes leading to the Irish Rebellion in April of that year; after the report was issued, Mears was appointed secretary to the Dardanelles Commission. He later accompanied the first Lord Reading to America and remained with him as the British Representative on the Inter Allied Cereal Committee until there came the offer of the India Bench.
These years of official work had of course gravely interfered with Mears’s practice at the Bar, so on the retirement of the late Sir Henry Richards in May 1919, Mears accepted the vacant Chief Justiceship at Allahabad. As was to be expected, he made an excellent Judge and regret was general that the state of his health some- what shortened his term of office. On his retirement in March, 1932, the local Bench and Bar gathered in full strength to bid him farewell.
During his Chief Justiceship there was the interlude of his chairmanship of the Bombay Back Bay Enquiry Committee in 1926-27. Evidence was taken in London to investigate the reasons for the failure of the Back Bay reclamation scheme, a matter that had aroused acute controversy.
On his return to England his health improved and for some years he acted as Deputy-Chairman of Quarter Sessions of Hampshire.
Mears was knighted in 1917 and made a K.C.I.E. in 1928. In his younger days he had achieved distinction as a lawn tennis player.
In 1896, Mears married Annie, daughter of the late G.P Jacob of Bryngoleu, Shawford. She died in 1943, leaving one son, Brigadier-General Gerald Grimwood Mears, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., and a daughter. He married secondly, in 1951, Margaret Mary Tempest, well-known as an author and illustrator, more especially of children’s books.