Lt W.L. Algie, VC

Wallace Lloyd Algie was born on 10 June 1891 at Alton in Ontario, Canada, the son of James and Rachel Algie. His father was a medical doctor whose practice covered Peel County, near Toronto. The family later moved to Toronto itself. Algie was educated at Alton Public School and when his schooling was completed, he worked in banking before entering the Royal Military College of Canada. After graduating as a lieutenant, he served initially in The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and then the 40th Regiment.

In April 1916, Algie enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, a brother having already volunteered to serve in the First World War. Initially posted to the 95th Battalion, he was later transferred to the 20th Battalion, which arrived in France the following year to join the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade on the Western Front. He took part in the Battle of Hill 70 and in the subsequent operations around Lens.

Lieutenant Algie was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Passchendaele on 11 October, 1918 while serving with the 20th Battalion. The citation for this award reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice on the 11th October, 1918, north-east of Cambrai, when with attacking troops which came under heavy enfilade machine-gun fire from a neighbouring village. Rushing forward with nine volunteers, he shot the crew of an enemy machine gun, and, turning it on the enemy, enabled his party to reach the village. 

He then rushed another machine gun, killed the crew, captured an officer and 10 enemy, and thereby cleared the end of the village. 

Lt. Algie, having established his party, went back for reinforcements, but was killed when leading them forward. 

His valour and personal initiative in the face of intense fire saved many lives and enabled the position to be held.”

– The London Gazette, 28 January 1919

Algie’s body was retrieved and he was buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Niagara Cemetery at Iwuy, 5 mi (8.0 km) north east of Cambrai.

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