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Remembrance 2020: Orange V.C. Heroes

Robert Hill Hanna originally from Kilkeel and a member of Aughnahoory LOL No. 343B and Ontario LOL No. 2226, was awarded the VC for conspicuous bravery capturing an enemy machine gun post during an action at Hill 70 near Lens on 21 August 1917.

Graham Thomson Lyall originally from Manchester, emigrated to Canada in 1912 but joined the 81st Battalion of the CEF at the outbreak of war. He was awarded his VC for bravely leading his men in several crucial actions during the breach of the Hindenburg Line near Cambrai between 27 September and 1 October 1918. He was a member of Enniskillen LOL No. 720 in Ontario.

Walter Leigh Rayfield (pictured below) tried to enlist in the United States at the outbreak of war but was refused. Eventually he succeeded in joining the 7th Battalion. CEF, and was awarded his VC for bravery and devotion under fire during the Battle of Arras, 2 – 4 September 1918. His actions earned him the nickname ‘Canada’s Sergeant York’. Part of his citation reveals the courage of his action: “He…rushed the section of trench from which the sniper had been operating and so demoralised the enemy by his coolness and daring that thirty others surrendered to him. Again, regardless of his personal safety he left cover under heavy machine gun fire and carried in a badly wounded comrade.” After the war, Rayfield was appointed the Sergeant at Arms at the Ontario Legislature. He was Chaplain of Gideon’s Chosen Few LOL No. 342.


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