Full name Arthur Leyland Harrison
Born February 3, 1886, Torquay
Died April 23, 1918, nr Zeebrugge (aged 32 years 79 days)
Major teams England
|Test debut||England v Ireland at Twickenham, Feb 14, 1914 match details|
|Last Test||France v England at Colombes, Apr 13, 1914 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Tournament list|
Lieutenant-Commander Arthur Leyland Harrison is the only England international to have been awarded the Victoria Cross. An all-round games player, as a forward he represented United Services, Rosslyn Park and Hampshire, winning his two England caps in the Grand Slam campaign of 1914. As a serving naval officer he participated in World War One from the start and was mentioned in dispatches in 1916.
In 1918 he was awarded the VC for conspicuous gallantry in the raid on Zeebrugge on the night of the April 22-23, 1918. "This officer was in immediate command of the Naval Storming Parties embarked in 'Vindictive'. Immediately before coming alongside the Mole Lieut.-Commander Harrison was struck on the head by a fragment of a shell which broke his jaw and knocked him senseless. Recovering consciousness he proceeded on to the Mole and took over command of his party, who were attacking the seaward end of the Mole. The silencing of the guns on the Mole head was of the first importance, and though in a position fully exposed to the enemy's machine-gun fire Lieut.-Commander Harrison gathered his men together and led them to the attack. He was killed at the head of his men, all of whom were either killed or wounded. Lieut.-Commander Harrison, though already severely wounded and undoubtedly in great pain, displayed indomitable resolution and courage of the highest order in pressing his attack, knowing as he did that any delay in silencing the guns might jeopardise the main object of the expedition, i.e., the blocking of the Zeebrugge-Bruges Canal."
Eight VCs were awarded as a result of the night's fighting - Harrison was posthumously awarded one of them.
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