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Lieutenant Graham Thomson Lyall

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PERSONAL INFORMATION

Date of birth: 1892-03-08
Place of birth: Manchester, England
Next of kin: Rev. R.H. Lyall
Marital status: single
Language: English
Occupation (attested): Mechanical Engineer
Occupation (normalized): Mechanical Engineer, General
Religion: Church of England
Date of death: 1941-11-28
Buried: Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt, Plot XIX. Row B. Grave 2

MILITARY INFORMATION

Regimental number: 158524
Rank detail
  1. Lieutenant, 102nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Army).
  2. Corporal, Welland Canal Force, Canadian Militia (Army).
  3. Corporal, 81st Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Army).
  4. Corporal, 4th Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Infantry (Army).
Survived war: yes
Awards

Victoria Cross (Cambrai)
Description: For Most conspicuous and skilful leading during the operations north of Cambrai. On September 27th, 1918, whilst leading his platoon against Bourlon Wood, he rendered invaluable support to the leading company, which was held up by a strong point, which he captured by a flanking movement, together with thirteen prisoners and one field gun and four machine-guns. Later, his platoon, now much weakened by casualties, was held up by machine-guns at the southern end of Bourlon Wood. Collecting any men available, he led them towards the strong point, and, springing forward alone rushed the position single-handed killed the officer in charge, subsequently capturing at this point forty-five prisoners and five machine-guns. Having made good his final objective, with a further capture of forty-seven prisoners, he consolidated his position and thus protected the remainder of the company. On October 1st, in the neighbourhood of Blecourt, when in command of a weak company, by skilful dispositions, he captured a strongly defended position, which yielded eighty prisoners and seventeen machine-guns. During the two days of operations, Lieutenant Lyall captured in all three offices, 182 other ranks, twenty-six machine-guns, and one field gun, exclusive of heavy casualties inflicted. He showed throughout the utmost valour and high powers of command.
Date of award: 1918-09-27
Notes: Lyall's Victoria Cross, together with his medal set and citation is on display at The REME Museum of Technology in Arborfield, Berkshire, England.

RESEARCH INFORMATION

LAC ID: 539801
Attestation record(s): image 1, image 2
Service file: B5803-S008
Uploader's Notes: Graham Thomson Lyall was born in Manchester, England, on 8 March 1892, the son of the Reverend Robert Henry Lyall and Agnes Lisette Wells of Darwen, Lancashire. He was educated at Nelson Municipal Secondary School. On graduation from Secondary School, he studied mechanical engineering before emigrating to Canada in 1912. He first settled in Welland, Ontario, and then moved to Chippawa, when he took employment with the Canadian Niagara Power Company in Niagara Falls. Three days after the outbreak of The Great War, Lyall joined the 19th "Lincoln" Regiment in St Catharines, Ontario (# 1919). He was placed on Active Duty and posted to the Welland Canal Field Force which provided guards along the canal, at hydro electric facilities in the Niagara Peninsula, and at the international bridges to the United States. Lyall served in the 19th Regiment until September 1915 when he was accepted by the 81st Battalion, C.E.F. That battalion recruited heavily in the Niagara area, although its headquarters were at the Exhibition Grounds in Toronto. He sailed for England with the battalion on 16 May 1916. The 81st Battalion was broken up in England and its men sent as reinforcements to battalions already in France. The 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles had suffered 89% casualties at Sanctuary Wood, Belgium, on 2 June 1916, and the next day only 76 out of 702 men answered roll. By the end of the month 350 men, Lyall amongst them, joined 4 CMR as reinforcements. Lyall wrote in 1919 that he had transferred to 4 CMR as a Private, but the regimental history gives his rank on TOS as Corporal. Lyall served with the battalion with distinction during the Battle of the Somme in September of 1916 and during the Battle of Arras, 1917. The capture of Vimy Ridge took place during this last battle, and Lyall received a battlefield commission for his conduct during the operation. He was sent to Officers' Training School at Bexhill-on-Sea, England. On graduation, Lieutenant Lyall was posted to the 102nd Battalion, C.E.F., which had been in France for some time. The battalion was part of the 11th Canadian Infantry Brigade and took part in the Ypres campaign in 1917 and the Battle of Amiens, 1918. In September of 1918, the Canadian Corps was tasked to breach the Hindenburg Line on the Canal du Nord in a drive to capture Cambrai. The 102nd would pass through units of the 10th Brigade after they had secured the crossing of the canal and capture the southern flank of Bourlon Wood. It was during this operation that Lyall won the Victoria Cross. King George V presented Lyall with his Victoria Cross at an investiture on 15 March 1919 at Buckingham Palace. Just over a month later, Lyall married Elizabeth (Elsie) Moffat Frew, and settled in Airdrie, Scotland. He became Managing Director of Aerocrete (Scotland) Limited, a building construction industry. Lyall joined the British Territorial Army, and in 1939 was a Major commanding the 3rd AA Division Workshop Company, Royal Army Ordnance Corps. On outbreak of war, he was placed on Active Duty and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He proceeded overseas to North Africa in 1940. In October 1941 he was promoted Colonel and appointed Commanding Officer of the 87th Lines of Communications Sub Area of the 8th Army. He died in his sleep of a heart attack on 28 November 1941 and is buried in the Halfaya Sollum Cemetery, located on the main coastal road from Mersa Matruh, eleven miles from the Libyan border.
Uploader's Research notes: Graham Thomson Lyall was born in Manchester, England, on 8 March 1892, the son of the Reverend Robert Henry Lyall and Agnes Lisette Wells of Darwen, Lancashire. He was educated at Nelson Municipal Secondary School. On graduation from Secondary School, he studied mechanical engineering before emigrating to Canada in 1912. He first settled in Welland, Ontario, and then moved to Chippawa, when he took employment with the Canadian Niagara Power Company in Niagara Falls. Three days after the outbreak of The Great War, Lyall joined the 19th "Lincoln" Regiment in St Catharines, Ontario (# 1919). He was placed on Active Duty and posted to the Welland Canal Field Force which provided guards along the canal, at hydro electric facilities in the Niagara Peninsula, and at the international bridges to the United States. Lyall served in the 19th Regiment until September 1915 when he was accepted by the 81st Battalion, C.E.F. That battalion recruited heavily in the Niagara area, although its headquarters were at the Exhibition Grounds in Toronto. He sailed for England with the battalion on 16 May 1916. The 81st Battalion was broken up in England and its men sent as reinforcements to battalions already in France. The 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles had suffered 89% casualties at Sanctuary Wood, Belgium, on 2 June 1916, and the next day only 76 out of 702 men answered roll. By the end of the month 350 men, Lyall amongst them, joined 4 CMR as reinforcements. Lyall wrote in 1919 that he had transferred to 4 CMR as a Private, but the regimental history gives his rank on TOS as Corporal. Lyall served with the battalion with distinction during the Battle of the Somme in September of 1916 and during the Battle of Arras, 1917. The capture of Vimy Ridge took place during this last battle, and Lyall received a battlefield commission for his conduct during the operation. He was sent to Officers' Training School at Bexhill-on-Sea, England. On graduation, Lieutenant Lyall was posted to the 102nd Battalion, C.E.F., which had been in France for some time. The battalion was part of the 11th Canadian Infantry Brigade and took part in the Ypres campaign in 1917 and the Battle of Amiens, 1918. In September of 1918, the Canadian Corps was tasked to breach the Hindenburg Line on the Canal du Nord in a drive to capture Cambrai. The 102nd would pass through units of the 10th Brigade after they had secured the crossing of the canal and capture the southern flank of Bourlon Wood. It was during this operation that Lyall won the Victoria Cross. King George V presented Lyall with his Victoria Cross at an investiture on 15 March 1919 at Buckingham Palace. Just over a month later, Lyall married Elizabeth (Elsie) Moffat Frew, and settled in Airdrie, Scotland. He became Managing Director of Aerocrete (Scotland) Limited, a building construction industry. Lyall joined the British Territorial Army, and in 1939 was a Major commanding the 3rd AA Division Workshop Company, Royal Army Ordnance Corps. On outbreak of war, he was placed on Active Duty and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He proceeded overseas to North Africa in 1940. In October 1941 he was promoted Colonel and appointed Commanding Officer of the 87th Lines of Communications Sub Area of the 8th Army. He died in his sleep of a heart attack on 28 November 1941 and is buried in the Halfaya Sollum Cemetery, located on the main coastal road from Mersa Matruh, eleven miles from the Libyan border.

ARCHIVAL INFORMATION

Date added: 2004-09-04
Last modified: 2015-11-30