Lieutenant (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Reginald Leonard (Bill) Haine VC MC
Haine was a member of the 1st Battalion’s No. 3 (or C) Company and went with it to France on 18 September 1914. He was awarded the VC for his actions at Gavrelle on 28-29 April 1917 during the battle of Arras, when, as stated in his citation, “our troops, occupying a pronounced salient, were repeatedly counter-attacked. There was an ever-present danger that if the enemy attack succeeded, the garrison of the salient would be surrounded.” His “superb courage, quick decision and sound judgement were beyond praise, and it was his splendid personal example which inspired his men to continue their efforts during more than thirty hours of continuous fighting.” Haine later served in the Indian Army’s 35th Sikhs and was awarded the Military Cross for his actions on the North-West Frontier of India on 17 May 1919.
Lieutenant (later Captain) Alfred Oliver Pollard VC MC and Bar DCM
Like Haine, Pollard was also a member of the 1st Battalion’s No. 3 Company in 1914 and was awarded the VC for his actions at Gavrelle on 29 April 1917 during the battle of Arras. His citation states that “with only four men he started a counter-attack with bombs, and pressed it home till he had broken the enemy attack, regained all that had been lost and much ground in addition … By his force of will, dash and splendid example, coupled with an utter contempt of danger, this Officer, who has already won the DCM and MC, infused courage into every man who saw him.” Pollard served in the Royal Air Force during the 1920s and was a writer of crime and mystery fiction; his many works also include an autobiography about his First World War experiences.
Lieutenant (Acting Captain) Thomas Tanatt Pryce VC MC and Bar
Pryce, who had also joined the HAC’s 1st Battalion in 1914, was commissioned into the Gloucestershire Regiment in 1915 and was awarded his posthumous VC as Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, the Grenadier Guards. This was awarded as a result of his actions on 13 April 1918 when, with only 40 men, he held back an enemy battalion for ten hours. He was aged 32 when he died, “last seen engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle with overwhelming numbers of the enemy”. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Hainaut, Belgium.
Company Quartermaster Sergeant John Patrick Kenneally VC
John Kenneally was the assumed name of Leslie Jackson (15 March 1921 – 27 September 2000). He served in 275 Battery of the HAC’s 86th Regiment. During his time in the regiment he overstayed a period of leave and was sentenced to a period of detention. Following this, he deserted from the HAC and fell in with a gang of Irish labourers. Through them he purloined an identity card, enlisted in the Irish Guards - no questions asked - and by March 1943 was sailing with the 1st Battalion for Tunisia. A month later he was making his name in the epic action on the “Bou”. He won his VC as a Lance Corporal during the penultimate phase of the Tunisian campaign in April 1943. His VC citation states: “His rapid appreciation of the situation, his initiative and extraordinary gallantry in attacking single-handed a massed body of the enemy and breaking up an attack on two occasions, was an achievement that can seldom have been equalled.”
Major Robert Henry Cain VC
Robert Cain (2 January 1909 – 2 May 1974) was admitted to the HAC in September 1928. He was given an emergency commission into The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers in 1940 and transferred to The South Staffordshire Regiment (I Airborne Division) in September 1942. Major Cain was commanding a rifle company of the South Staffordshire Regiment during the Battle of Arnhem, Holland, on 19 September 1944, when his company was cut off from the rest of the battalion. Over the next six days his company was closely engaged with enemy tanks, self-propelled guns and infantry. Major Cain, by his outstanding devotion to duty and remarkable powers of leadership, was to a large extent personally responsible for saving a vital sector from falling into the hands of the enemy.
Brigadier-General Sir Robert Loyd-Lindsay VC KCB, Baron Wantage
Sir Robert Loyd-Lindsay KCB, later Lord Wantage (17 April 1832 – 10 June 1901) served as the HAC’s Colonel Commandant from 1866 to 1869. He was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Crimean War for his actions on 20 September 1854 at the Battle of the Alma and 5 November at the Battle of Inkerman. At the time he was serving as an Ensign with the Scots (Fusilier) Guards. The London Gazette described his actions as follows: “When the formation of the line of the Regiment was disordered at Alma, Captain Lindsay stood firm with the Colours, and by his example and energy, greatly tended to restore order. At Inkerman, at a most trying moment, he, with a few men, charged a party of Russians, driving them back, and running one through the body himself.” He was Member of Parliament for Berkshire, and later Lord Lieutenant, and was influential in founding the British Red Cross.
Colonel Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer GC OBE
Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer (3 February 1915 – 2 May 2015) joined the HAC as an enlisted soldier in 1940, and received an emergency commission into the Royal Engineers later that year. He was awarded the George Cross for his sustained courage in bomb disposal work. In addition to the high risks associated with bomb disposal work, Archer was confronted with the challenges of new types of fuse. Due to his skill and, as he put it, his luck, a significant number of bombs were safely dealt with and the War Office were provided with new fuses to examine. His citation noted that “The fact that Lt Archer has enjoyed such remarkable immunity from death in no way detracts from his record of deliberate and sustained courage coupled to devotion to duty of the highest order.” Archer was chairman of the VC and GC Association from 1994 to 2006.