5 August 2003

( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Captain Robert Grieve,
37th Bn, Australian Imperial Force

  • Victoria Cross
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )

On the 17th of August 2003 Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance opened a new visitor centre and a major feature of the centre is the Victoria Cross awarded to Captain Robert Cuthbert Grieve, 37th Bn ( Victoria ) Australian Imperial Force. On the 31st of July 2003, Wesley College presented the Grieve Victoria Cross into the care of John Taylor, Chairman of the Shrine Trustees, on a permanent loan.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 2 August 1917 ]. Messines, Belgium, 7 June 1917, Captain Robert Cuthbert Grieve, 37th Bn ( Victoria ) Australian Imperial Forces.

For most conspicuous bravery. During an attack on the enemy's position in the face of heavy artillery and machine-gun fire, and after all his officers had been wounded and his company had suffered very heavy casualties, Captain Grieve located two hostile machine-guns which were holding up his advance. He then, single-handed, under continuous fire from these two machine-guns, succeeded in bombing and killing the two crews, reorganising the remnants of his company, and gained his original objective.

Captain Grieve, by his utter desregard of danger and his coolness in mastering a very difficult position, set a splendid example, and when he finally fell wounded the position had been scured and the few remaining enemy were in full flight.

Robert Grieve was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 20th October 1917.

After Robert Grieve had won his Victoria Cross, eighty-eight NCOs and men of his company wrote a congratulatory letter to him:

We, as men of your company, 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 gave the right guidance that won the day and added to the banner of Australia a name which time will never obliterate. We trust that 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.

The shoulder wound that Grieve suffered at Messines resulted in a four-month stay in an English hospital and he then rejoined his unit, but a serious illness required him to return to hospital for further treatment. He was suffering from acute trench nephritis and double pneumonia, and was sent back to Australia in May 1918. Robert Grieve died on 4 October 1957 and was buried with full military honours in Springvale Cemetery, Melbourne.


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Iain Stewart, 6 August 2003