57781 Charles Anthony LYELL, VC, 1 Scots Guards

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Personal Number: 57781
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Name: Charles Anthony LYELL, VC
    Unit: 1 Scots Guards


    London Gazette : 11 May 1943
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36014/supplement/2143/data.pdf
    FOOT G'DS.
    S G'ds
    Lt The Lord Lyell (57781) from Supp Res to be War Subs Capt 25th Jan. 1943

    London Gazette : 12 August 1943
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36129/page/3625/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the VICTORIA CROSS to —
    Lieutenant (temporary Captain) The Lord Lyell (57781), Scots Guards (Kirremuir, Angus)
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Glasgow Herald, August 13, 1943:

    POSTHUMOUS V.C. FOR LORD LYELL
    Young Scots Peer’s Great Gallantry


    The King has approved the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross to Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) the Baron LYELL, SCOTS GUARDS, of Kinnordy, Kirriemuir, Angus. Lord Lyell was killed on April 27 when overwhelmed by an enemy gun crew, which he had attacked single-handed in Tunisia.

    Lord Lyell is the first Peer to win the V.C. in this war. The only Peer to win the V.C. in the last war was Viscount GORT. Before the last war there had only been three Peer V.C.s.

    The citation states:-
    “From April 22 to April 27, 1943, Captain the Lord Lyell commanded his company, which had been placed under the orders of a battalion of the GRENADIER GUARDS, with great gallantry, ability, and cheerfulness. he led it down a slope under heavy mortar fire to repel a German counter-attack on April 22, led it again under heavy fire through the battalion’s first objective on April 22 in order to capture and consolidate a high point, and held this point through a very trying period of shelling, heat, and shortage of water.

    Inspired Fighting Spirt
    “During this period, through his energy and cheerfulness, he not only kept up the fighting spirit of his company, but also managed through radio telephony, which he worked himself from an exposed position, to bring most effective artillery fire to bear on enemy tanks, vehicles, and infantry positions.

    “At about 18.00 hours on April 27 this officer’s company was taking part in the battalion’s attack on Djibou Arara. The company was held up in the foothills by heavy fire from an enemy post on the left. This post consisted of an 88mm. gun and a heavy machine-gun in separate pits. Realising that until this post was destroyed the advance could not proceed, Lord Lyell collected the only available men not pinned down by fire - a sergeant, a lance-corporal, and two Guardsmen - and led them to attack it.

    “He was a long way in advance of the others, and lobbed a hand grenade into the machine-gun pit, destroying the crew. At this point his sergeant was killed and both the Guardsmen were wounded. The lance-corporal got down to give covering fire to Lord Lyell, who had run straight on towards the 88mm. gun-pit and was working his way round to the left of it.

    So quickly had this officer acted that he was in among the crew with the bayonet before they had time to fire more than one shot. He killed a number of them before being overwhelmed and killed himself. The few survivors of the gun crew then left the pit, some of them being killed while they were retiring, and both the heavy machine-gun and 88mm. gun were silenced. The company was then able to advance and take its objective.

    “There is no doubt that Lord Lyell’s outstanding leadership, gallantry, and self-sacrifice enabled his company to carry out its task, which had an important bearing on the success of the battalion and of the brigade,” concluded the citation.

    Lady Lyell told a reporter last night:- “I am a very, very proud woman to-night. I cannot say that I am surprised, because I know that my husband was a good soldier and was quite without fear.”

    Lord Lyell, who was 29 years of age, succeeded to the title on the death of his grandfather, the first Baron Lyell, in 1926. His father, Major Charles Henry Lyell, who was for seven years member of Parliament for South Edinburgh, died in 1918.

    Specialised in Agriculture
    The young laird of Kinnordy was educated at Eton and at Christ Church College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1935 and B.Sc. in 1938, specialising in agriculture.

    In 1938 he married Miss Sophie Trafford, second daughter of Major Sigismund and Lady Betty Trafford, Wroxham Hall, Norfolk. He was succeeded in the title by his only child, Charles, who was born on March 27, 1939.

    Lord Lyell, who was a captain in the Supplementary Reserve of the Scots Guards, was a member of Angus County Council, which he entered in May, 1937. He was an exceedingly popular laird. His mother, the Honourable Mrs Lyell, is a daughter of the late Mr. Vernon J. Watney, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire. His sister is the Honourable Mrs. Francis Stewart-Mackenzie, of Seaforth.

    This is the 72nd V.C. awarded during this war, 43 having been won by the Army, 16 by the Navy, and 13 by the R.A.F.

    View attachment 140286
     

    Attached Files:

  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Casualty
    Captain LYELL, CHARLES ANTONY
    Service Number 57781
    Died 27/04/1943
    Aged 29
    1st Bn. Scots Guards
    V C
    2nd Baron of Kinnordy. Son of the Hon. C. H. Lyell, M.P., and of the Hon. Mrs. Lyell (nee Watney); husband of Lady Lyell (nee Trafford), of Kinnordy, Kirriemuir, Angus. B.Sc. (Oxon.): Christ Church. County Councillor for Angus.
    INSCRIPTION: KILLED IN ACTION AT DJEBEL BOU ARADA "FORTI NON IGNAVO"
    Buried at MASSICAULT WAR CEMETERY
    Location: Tunisia
    Number of casualties: 1447
    Cemetery/memorial reference: V. H. 5.
    See cemetery plan


    CITATION:
    The citation in the London Gazette of 12th August, 1943, gives the following details; From 22nd April, 1943, Captain the Lord Lyell commanded his company with great courage, ability and cheerfulness. He led it down a slope under heavy mortar fire to repel a German counter-attack on 22nd April, and led it again under heavy fire on 23rd April in order to capture and consolidate a high point, which was held through a very arduous period of shelling, heat and shortage of water. In the evening of 27th April, Lord Lyell's company, while taking part in an attack, was held up by fire from a position which consisted of an 88-millimetre gun and a heavy machine-gun in separate pits. Lord Lyell led four men to attack this position; he was far in front of the others, and destroyed the machine-gun pit with a hand-grenade. Then, aided by covering fire from the only uninjured man of his party, he attacked the 88-millimetre gun pit before its crew could fire more than one shot. He killed a number of them before being overwhelmed and killed himself. The few survivors withdrew and his company was able to advance and take its objective. Lord Lyell's outstanding leadership, gallantry and self-sacrifice enabled his company to carry out its task, which had an important bearing on the success of the battalion and of the brigade.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  4. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    For dbf.

    I've been waiting many a month to be in a position to post this.

    Extract form a book that I've known all my life, which until today has been on long time loan to a staunch family friend. Today the book came home.

    From "THE BRONZE CROSS - A Tribute to Those who Won the Supreme Award for Valour in the years 1940-45" Historical Text by F. GORDON ROE F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S. Published December 1945.

    Some corner of a foreign field, Djebel Bou Arada, Tunisia.

    Always remember, never forget.

    The Bronze Cross Lord Lyell.jpg
     
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  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks for adding that Jim.

    Full citation from London Gazette : 12 August 1943, with notes below from The Scots Guards 1919-1955, Erskine

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36129/page/3625/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the VICTORIA CROSS to —
    Lieutenant (temporary Captain) The Lord Lyell (57781), Scots Guards (Kirriemuir, Angus)
    From the 22nd April, 1943, to 27th April, 1943, [1] Captain The Lord LYELL commanded his Company, which had been placed under the orders of a Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, with great gallantry, ability and cheerfulness he led it down a slope under heavy mortar fire to repel a German counter attack on 22nd April [2], led it again under heavy fire through the Battalion's first objective on 23rd April in order to capture and consolidate a high point, and held this point through a very trying period of shelling, heat and shortage of water During this period, through his energy and cheerfulness, he not only kept up the fighting spirit of his Company but also managed through Radio Telephony, which he worked himself from an exposed position, to bring most effective artillery file to bear on enemy tanks, vehicles and infantry positions.

    At about 1800 hours on 27th April, 1943, this officer's Company was taking part in the Battalion's attack on Dj Bou Arara [3] The Company was held up in the foothills by heavy fire from an enemy post on the left this post consisted of an 88 millimetre gun and a heavy machine gun in separate pits Realizing that until this post was destroyed the advance could not proceed, Lord Lyell collected the only available men not pinned down by fire—a sergeant, a lance-corporal and two guardsmen [4] —and led them to attack it He was a long way in advance of the others and lobbed a hand grenade into the machine gun pit destroying the crew At this point his sergeant was killed and both, the guardsmen were wounded the lance-corporal got down to give covering fire to Lord Lyell who had run straight on towards the 88 millimetre gun pit and was working his way round to the left of it So quickly had this officer acted that he was in among the crew with the bayonet before they had time to fire more than one shot He lulled a number of them before being overwhelmed and killed himself The few survivors of the gun crew then left the pit, some of them being killed while they were retiring, and both the heavy machine gun and 88 millimetre gun were silenced
    The Company was then able to advance and take its objective.

    There is no doubt that Lord Lyell's outstanding leadership, gallantry and self-sacrifice enabled his Company to carry out its task which had an important bearing on the success of the Battalion and of the Brigade.


    1. The dates should be 19th and 20th April
    2. Should be 20th April.
    3. It was on Djebel Bou Aoukaz, not Bou Arara, that Lord LYELL won his Victoria Cross; it is interesting to note that several officers describing the battle in contemporary letters wrongly refer to the hill as Bou Arara, which is one of the "Hills Ridiculous" from which the attack was launched.
    4. They were :
    Porter and Chisholm both received the Military Medal.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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