Princess Mary Christmas gift tin : Private H F N Oliver, 20 Battalion

Unit 20th Australian Infantry Battalion
Place Africa: Egypt
Accession Number REL34746
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Brass, Gilded brass, Paper, Silver
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1914
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Description

Embossed gilded brass tin with a hinged lid. The lid features, at its centre, the profile head of Princess Mary within a circular wreath, flanked on each side by the letter 'M'. There is a decorative border portraying heraldic and military devices, and the words 'IMPERIUM BRITANNICUM', 'CHRISTMAS 1914', and the names 'BELGIUM', 'JAPAN', 'FRANCE', 'RUSSIA', 'SERVIA' and 'MONTE NEGRO'. The tin contains the original new year greeting card from Princess Mary, and a .303 brass bullet cartridge with sterling silver 'head' containing a small pencil. Impressed on shaft of the cartridge is Princess Mary's crest.

History / Summary

Received by 2767 Hugh Francis Nyanza Oliver, who was born in Goondiwindi, NSW in September 1883. Before the war Oliver served with the New Zealand voluntary forces and when he returned to Australia was also a member of various rifle clubs. He joined the AIF as a private in Sydney on 20 July 1915 and sailed for Egypt with 20 Battalion on 2 November aboard HMAT Euripides. Oliver was transferred to 56 Battalion on 16 February 1916 and sailed to France in June where he saw action on the Western Front. On 20 July he was wounded by a high explosive shell. Having injured his shoulder and suffering flesh wounds to his chest, Oliver was sent from Boulogne for treatment in England. He remained in England working at AIF Headquarters where he was promoted to temporary corporal on 18 April. Oliver contracted tuberculosis in May and this, together with his previous injuries, rendered him unfit for further service. He returned to Australia on HMAT Demosthenes, embarking on 27 July and was discharged on 8 November. On his discharge Oliver reverted to the rank of private, however his medals were issued with the rank of acting sergeant. There is no information on his service record to indicate when he was promoted to this rank. Hugh Francis Nyanza Oliver died on 11 September 1942, aged 59 years old.