Corporal Oliver Nicholas Grice 2816

7th Field Co Engineers

 

Oliver Grice was born in Bundanoon in 1894 to Joseph and Annie Grice. Grice family members had lived in the town since the 1880s and were very much involved in community activities and the promotion of the tourist potential of Bundanoon.  In 1903 Joseph Grice built Lynbrook as a family home and guest house and it was here that Oliver spent his early years. In 1913 the family moved to Sydney and two years later in October 1915, Oliver, by now a motor body builder and wheelmaker, enlisted as a sapper in the Field Company Engineers.

In France from March 1916, he was promoted to corporal the following year. He was wounded in action in September 1917 and evacuated to England, returning to his unit in June 1918. Oliver was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in recognition of his actions on the night of 29th August 1918. Bridges across the Somme Canal near Peronne were urgently needed to allow the infantry to advance. In darkness, wearing a mask because of constant gas bombardment and under shell and machine gun fire, Corporal Grice completed two bridges over the canal which at that point was 400 metres into No Man’s Land.

After his return to Australia, Oliver married Lily Wilkinson in Sydney in 1920. They returned to Bundanoon for a few years and between 1933 and 1936 ran a guesthouse at Killarney, formerly known as Summer Hill and built by Oliver’s grandfather Walter Grice. Oliver was Secretary of the RSL Sub-branch in Bundanoon. He died at Ettalong NSW in 1979.