Awards of the Victoria Cross, First World War
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.
To find out how to research a member of the HAC, or how to discover background information on this period, visit the Archives page (where you can also find details about our commemorative publication Reflections of a Regiment: The Honourable Artillery Company and the Great War in Pictures).