Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1943, Captain Charles Antony Lyell V.C., 2nd Baron Lyell, 1st Battalion, the Scots Guards, was killed in action at Dj Bou Arada in Tunisia.
The son and grandson of Liberal members of parliament, he succeeded to his title at the age of thirteen, and was educated at Eton. He joined the Scots Guards in 1940, was posted to North Africa, and by 1943 was involved in the battles taking place on the outskirts of Tunis.
His actions during the days leading up to his death earned him the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross. The citation provides the details: “Captain 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 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 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”
He is buried in the Massicault War Cemetery near Tunis, and is commemorated on the Kirriemuir War Memorial as well as on the Barony Church memorial.
Charles, from Chelsea, was 29 years old and married with a son.