Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Robert Grierson Combe

In memory of:

Lieutenant Robert Grierson Combe

May 3, 1917

Military Service


Age:

37

Force:

Army

Unit:

Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)

Division:

27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion

Citation(s):

An extract from The London Gazette," dated June 27, 1917, records the following:
For most conspicuous bravery and example. He steadied his Company under intense fire and led them through the enemy barrage, reaching the objective with only five men. With great coolness and courage Lt. Combe proceeded to bomb the enemy, and inflicted heavy casualties. He collected small groups of men and succeeded in capturing the Company objective, together with eighty prisoners. He repeatedly charged the enemy, driving them before him, and whilst personally leading his bombers was killed by an enemy sniper. His conduct inspired all ranks, and it was entirely due to his magnificent courage that the position was carried, secured and held.

Honours and Awards:

Victoria Cross

Additional Information


Son of James and Elizabeth Combe, of Aberdeen, Scotland; husband of Jean Traquair Donald Combe, Victoria, British Columbia. Robert Grierson Combe came to Canada around 1906, having already completed his schooling and apprenticeship in pharmacies in Aberdeen and London, England. He soon joined the staff of a drug store in Moosomin, Saskatchewan and several years later opened his own store in Melville, Saskatchewan. Combe enlisted in 1915, was granted a commission and subsequently posted to the 53rd Battalion in Prince Albert. Initially qualified as a Major on arrival overseas and placed on the instructional staff, he later, at his own request, reverted to the rank of Lieutenant and joined the 28th Battalion in France. He was forced back to England due to illness but soon returned to the front, this time with the 27th Battalion where he served with distinction until the time of his death. A lake in Northern Saskatchewan has been named in his honour.

Commemorated on Page 219 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Robert Grierson Combe is a recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Complete list of Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients

Burial Information


Cemetery:

VIMY MEMORIAL
Pas de Calais, France

Grave Reference:

N/A

Location:

Canada's most impressive tribute overseas to those Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War is the majestic and inspiring Vimy Memorial, which overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point of Vimy Ridge, about eight kilometres northeast of Arras on the N17 towards Lens. The Memorial is signposted from this road to the left, just before you enter the village of Vimy from the south. The memorial itself is someway inside the memorial park, but again it is well signposted. At the base of the memorial, these words appear in French and in English:

TO THE VALOUR OF THEIR COUNTRYMEN IN THE GREAT WAR AND IN MEMORY OF THEIR SIXTY THOUSAND DEAD THIS MONUMENT IS RAISED BY THE PEOPLE OF CANADA


Inscribed on the ramparts of the Vimy Memorial are the names of over 11,000 Canadian soldiers who were posted as 'missing, presumed dead' in France. A plaque at the entrance to the memorial states that the land for the battlefield park, 91.18 hectares in extent, was 'the free gift in perpetuity of the French nation to the people of Canada'. Construction of the massive work began in 1925, and 11 years later, on July 26, 1936, the monument was unveiled by King Edward VIII. The park surrounding the Vimy Memorial was created by horticultural experts. Canadian trees and shrubs were planted in great masses to resemble the woods and forests of Canada. Wooded parklands surround the grassy slopes of the approaches around the Vimy Memorial. Trenches and tunnels have been restored and preserved and the visitor can picture the magnitude of the task that faced the Canadian Corps on that distant dawn when history was made. On April 3, 2003, the Government of Canada designated April 9th of each year as a national day of remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Photo of ROBERT GRIERSON COMBE
  • Attestation Paper (front)
  • Attestation Paper (back)
  • War Diary – Extract from 27th Battalion War Diary for May 1917.
  • War Diary – Extract from 27th Battalion War Diary for May 1917
  • Service Record
  • Medical Report
  • Service Record
  • Biographical Information
  • Award Citation
  • Circumstances of Death Registers – Source: Library and Archives Canada.  CIRCUMSTANCES OF DEATH REGISTERS, FIRST WORLD WAR Surnames:  CLEAL TO CONNOLLY.  Microform Sequence 21; Volume Number 31829_B016730. Reference RG150, 1992-93/314, 165.  Page 1151 of 1384. Body not recovered.
  • Cenotaph – Barrie Military Park, Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients, Cenotaph
  • Memorial – His name as it is inscribed on the Vimy Memorial. Over 11,000 fallen Canadians having no known place of burial in France, are honoured on this Memorial. May they never be forgotten. (J. Stephens)

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