Bice, Lieutenant Edward John MC

No 3 Sqn AFC

Edward Bice was born in Melbourne on 9 November 1892 and was working as a Marine Engineer, while a Corporal in the AMF Engineers, when he enlisted in the 24th Infantry Battalion in Melbourne on 6 March 1915, after which he was soon posted to the Headquarters Machine Gun Section before he departed from Melbourne on HMAT A14 Euripides on 10 May 1915. He served at Gallipoli until evacuated with dysentery in December, after which he was sent to Egypt to recuperate. In May 1916 he transferred to the 6thMachine Gun Company, and went with that unit to the Western Front, where he was commissioned in September 1916 and then promoted to Lieutenant the following January. In May he was wounded in the neck during an action for which he was awarded the Military Cross; the citation appeared in the Gazette of 17 July 1917: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Although wounded, he remained in action with his gun under heavy bombardment, and caused many casualties during enemy counter-attacks.

In September 1917 he transferred to the AFC. After pilot training he was posted to No 3 Sqn AFC in June 1918 as an RE 8 pilot. He was killed in action on 8 August 1918 when shot down near Mericourt after leaving at 11.05 on a Contact Patrol flying RE 8 C2309 with Lt J E Chapman as observer, who was also killed. The RE 8 was last seen to be in combat with eight or nine Fokker D.VIIs. Oblt Robert Ritter von Greim of Jagdgruppe 9 claimed an RE 8 south of Morcourt at 12.50; it was the 18th of his eventual 28 victories. Men from the 4th Pioneer Battalion saw the aircraft crash, and it was first hoped that the airmen had survived the encounter with the Germans but, on 10 August, the squadron received advice from the 112th Howitzer Battery that the bodies had been found and buried. Papers carried by Lt Bice were returned to his squadron.

Lt E J Bice is buried in Grave I I 12 at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France.

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