Personal info

  • Name: Robert Cuthbert GRIEVE
  • D.O.B: 19th Jun, 1889
  • D.O.A: 7th Jun, 1917
  • D.O.D: 4th Oct, 1954
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Captain, 37th Battalion (Victoria), 10th Brigade, 3rd Division, Australian Imperial Force
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Messines, Belgium 7-11 June 1917

7-11 June 1917

More details about:
The First World War 1917 

The existence of the British Ypres salient had, in effect, created a German salient directly to its south. In order to protect this vulnerable southern flank, on 7 June 1917 the British Second Army executed a long-planned assault to destroy the German salient by attacking the enemy line running along the Messines Ridge, just west of Wytschaete and Messines. The line was devastated by the explosion of nineteen mines and the subsequent British attack carried the ridge and soon captured Wytschaete and Messines. The Germans counter-attacked on the 9th and 10th but were driven back. Some fighting continued until 14 June by which time the British had consolidated their new positions. After crossing the Ridge at the opening of the Battle on the 7th, 3rd Battalion The New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade attacked the village of Messines itself. It was held up by two Germanmachine-guns in enemy positions on the outskirts. Lance Corporal S Frickleton successfully destroyed these. To its south 37th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, took part in the assault on German positions between Messines and the River Douve. Behind the second German line, enemy machine-guns in a pillbox were holding up the Australians. By running from shell-hole to shell-hole, Captain R C Grieve, 37th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, was able to bomb and destroy the pillbox. South of the River Douve and north of Ploegsteert, 33rd Battalion attacked the German positions at St Yves. Here Private J Carroll distinguished himself.


 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, Capt. 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, reorganised the remnants of his company and gained his original objective. Capt. Grieve, by his utter disregard 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 secured and the few remaining enemy were in full flight. 

Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette of 31 July 1917. 2 August 1917, Numb. 30215, p. 7905

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