Oliver Holmes WOODWARD CMG, MC+2 Bars, MiD

WOODWARD, Oliver Holmes

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 1 December 1915, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 1st Tunnelling Company (inc. 4th Tunnelling Company)
Born: Tenterfield, New South Wales, 8 October 1885
Home Town: Tenterfield, Tenterfield Municipality, New South Wales
Schooling: Newington College (Sydney) and School of Mines (Charters Towers)
Occupation: Metallurgist/Mine Manager
Died: Natural causes, Hobart, Tasmania, 24 August 1966, aged 80 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

1 Dec 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, Sydney, New South Wales
20 Feb 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 1st Mining Corps: AIF, Corps Troops, HMAT Ulysses, Sydney
20 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 1st Mining Corps: AIF, Corps Troops, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
7 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 1st Tunnelling Company (inc. 4th Tunnelling Company), Messines
2 Jul 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Captain, 1st Tunnelling Company (inc. 4th Tunnelling Company)

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

One of only FOUR men to have been awarded the Military Cross with TWO Bars. 

Of Beneath Hill 60 fame 

Oliver Holmes Woodward (1885-1966), mining engineer, metallurgist and soldier, was born on 8 October 1885 at Tenterfield, New South Wales, son of native-born parents Sydney Arthur Woodward, storekeeper, and his wife Jemima Johnstone, née Reid. He was educated at public schools and for two years at Newington College, Sydney. Early practical mining experience at Irvinebank, North Queensland, was followed by three years at Charters Towers where he worked underground and studied part time at the School of Mines. In 1909 he was awarded the W. H. Brownemedal for mining and in 1910 the medal for metallurgy. Further experience underground qualified him as a mine-manager. As such he went in 1913 to Mount Morgan and then to Papua where he assisted the geologist (Sir) Colin Fraser at the Laloki and other mines. Late in 1914 Woodward returned to Mount Morgan to recover from malaria.

In August 1915 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force; he was commissioned and posted to No.1 Company of the newly raised Mining Battalion. He sailed for France in March 1916. On its arrival in Flanders the battalion was broken up and the 1st Tunnelling Company became an independent engineer unit. Deployed in the Armentières sector, France, the company fought on the surface as well as underground and in June 1916 Woodward won the Military Cross for blowing up a snipers' post in no man's land.

Early in 1917 the company took over mining operations in a sector south-east of Ypres, Belgium, which included deep galleries under the German lines; these led to two mines, one charged with 53,000 lb. (24,041 kg) of explosives and the other with 70,000 lb. (31,752 kg). For months the company protected these mines, using listening posts and counter-mines, until the opening of the battle of Messines when they were fired with devastating effect. Woodward, by this time a captain, headed the team in charge and personally fired the mines.” - READ MORE LINK

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