Australian Victoria Cross Recipient

Captain Robert Cuthbert Grieve

Unit 37th Battalion
Born 19 June 1889 at Brighton, Melbourne
Date of action 7 June 1917
Place Messines, Belgium

During an attack enemy fire came from a pillbox just as Grieve’s company was going through a gap in the wire. Almost immediately half the men and all the officers, except Grieve, were struck down. Grieve spotted the hostile pillbox and, after failing to obtain Stokes mortar and Vickers machine gun support, took a bag of Mills bombs and, throwing as he advanced, rushed from shell-hole to shell-hole under cover of the dust from the bomb bursts. He got through the pillbox’s arc of fire and into the trench. Here he encountered the German garrison sheltering from the allied barrage. He threw one bomb close to the pillbox, which stopped the gunner’s fire. He then rolled two more bombs through the firing slit, killing all the occupants. He called his company forward and they soon occupied the trench, but Grieve was sniped and badly wounded.

A ‘get well’ wish sent by his comrades illustrates the effectiveness of his actions: ‘We . . . will cherish with pride your deeds of heroism and devotion which stimulated us to go forward in the face of all danger and, at critical moments, to give the right guidance that won the day and added to the banner of Australia, a name which time will never obliterate. We trust your recovery may be a speedy one, and we can assure you that there awaits you on your return to the boys, a very hearty welcome.’ (Richard Reid, For Valour, Australia Post Philatelic Group, 2000 page 16)

Died 4 October 1957
Buried or Commemorated Presbyterian section, Springvale Cemetery, Melbourne
Current location of the VC
Donated on a permanent loan to the 'Shrine' in Melbourne by Wesley College.