Robert Hill Hanna

Hanna, Robert Hill, VC

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Robert Hill Hanna
CSM Hanna, VC

Born: 6 August 1886, Kilkeel, County Down, Northern Ireland

Died: 15 June 1967, Mount Lehman, British Columbia

Also known as Company Sergeant-Major (CSM) Hanna, VC Lieut. Robert Hanna, VC

Robert Hill Hanna moved to Canada in 1905. During WWI he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. By the summer of 1917 was a Company Sergeant-Major (CSM) serving with the 29th Infantry Battalion.

On 21 August 1917 CSM Hanna’s company was attempting to overpower a German strongpoint on Hill 70, near Lens in France. In the course of three assaults on the enemy position, the company had suffered several casualties, including the loss of all of its officers. While his company continued to take casualties from the heavy machine gun fire coming from the strongpoint, Hanna calmly collected a party of men and led them in a fourth attack, rushing through the dense barbed wire protecting the position. When he arrived inside the strongpoint, CSM Hanna bayoneted three of the enemy and clubbed a fourth with his rifle, enabling the position and its machine gun to be captured.

For the bravery and leadership he demonstrated in this action, Hanna received the Victoria Cross. He died in Mount Lehman, British Columbia on 15 June 1967.

Victoria Cross Citation:

“For most conspicuous bravery in attack, when his company met with most severe enemy resistance and all the company officers became casualties. A strong point, heavily protected by wire and held by a machine gun, had beaten off three assaults of the company with heavy casualties. This Warrant Officer under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, coolly collected a party of men, and leading them against this strong point, rushed through the wire and personally bayonetted three of the enemy and brained the fourth, capturing the position and silencing the machine gun.
This most courageous action, displayed courage and personal bravery of the highest order at this most critical moment of the attack, was responsible for the capture of a most important tactical point, and but for his daring action and determined handling of a desperate situation the attack would not have succeeded.
C.S./M. Hanna’s outstanding gallantry, personal courage and determined leading of his company is deserving of the highest possible reward.”

London Gazette, no.30372, 8 November 1917

Robert Hanna is interred at the Masonic Cemetery (aka Pacific Heritage Cemetery) plot 49, section c grave 2

Masonic Cemetery, plot 49, section c grave 2

Follow Stephanie Allen:

I learned my love of “spirit walking” from my Mother, Barbara Ann Scott. My Mum was an avid genealogist who spent many days in cemeteries in Ontario, Quebec and Scotland. I joined my Mother on many of these research visits and found that I was really moved by some of the inscriptions, the dates and trends. I realized that much could be learned about the local history of an area by examining the cemeteries. I have continued to be inspired to visit cemeteries in communities even if I don’t know anyone who is interred there. I have stumbled upon former Canadian Prime Ministers, artists and athletes. I have also discovered many small communities and vanished villages near and far from home. This web site is about acknowledging the many great Canadians who shaped the Canada I know.

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