The Canadian Expeditionary Force is regarded for its military prowess, often seen and spoke of as the “shock troops” of the greater B.E.F during the First World War. Though a brutally efficient military machine, it was comprised mostly of young men from service backgrounds. Such is the case of Wallace Lloyd Algie, VC, who listed his pre-war occupation as a banker. Schooled at the Royal Military College of Canada, Algie leaned on his schooling after enlisting with the C.E.F on April 19th, 1916 as an officer.
Though the 20th Battalion, CEF fought in countless battles, Algie was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Cambrai, the day after the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Divisions had captured the towns. Stiffened resistance just past the town forced countless acts of bravery from the attacking Canadians, and Algie’s proved no less heroic.
“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.”
Falling in service of his country, Wallace Lloyd Algie never lived to see it again. He is buried with countless other Canadian heroes at the Niagara Cemetery in Iwuy, France. As No Stone Left Alone commemorates the centennial year of the 1918 Armistice, we also commemorate those who paid the ultimate price.