Edmund De Wind
De Wind was born in Comber, County Down, on December 11, 1883. Educated at Campbell College, he worked as a clerk in the Bank of Ireland until 1911 when he came to Edmonton, where he was employed by the Canadian Bank of Commerce, before enlisting in the 31st Canadian Battalion in 1915.
He fought in the battles of St. Eloi, Ypres, and the Somme. In September 1917, he qualified for a commission and was transferred to the 17th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles with the rank of Lieutenant. On the first day of the Battle of Arras he was in charge of a machine-gun post at the Race Course Redoubt near Grougie. De Wind held his ground for seven hours that day despite being twice wounded. Though the battalion’s casualties were heavy, De Wind stayed at his post. Twice he also went over the top in the face of German machine-gun and rifle fire to assault and subdue a German trench. In spite of his wounds, he continued to fight on until reinforcements arrived. But by the time they reached him he was dead.His name and picture appear in the memorial book of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce as well as in the All Saints Cathedral memorial in Edmonton, Alberta. In addition, a mountain in Jasper Park is named after him. His Victoria Cross was presented to his mother by King George V at a private investiture at Buckingham Palace. De Wind’s brother Norman, who moved to the United States, had possession of his Victoria Cross up until his death sometime in the late 1970’s.
Robert Hill Hanna
Robert Hill Hanna was born at Aughnahoory, Kilkeel, County Down, on August 6, 1887, the son of Robert Hanna. He was baptised in Kilkeel Presbyterian Church by the Rev. Robert White, and was educated at the nearby Ballinran School. After his school days were over, he was engaged in farming for a while, and in 1905, aged 18, emigrated to Canada, settling in British Columbia.
It was here that he joined the Vancouver based Ontario LOL No 2226, which was not an unexpected move, given his family ties to Aughnahoory LOL No. 343B.
He worked as a lumberman until 1914, before enlisting as a private on November 1 that year in the Canadian Army. Three years later, on September 21, 1917, at Lens, France, Bob Hanna, by now a CSM, won his coveted Victoria Cross. The citation published in the London Gazette, of November 8, 1917, detailed the event as follows -" CSM Hanna’s company met with the most severe enemy resistance at a heavily protected strongpoint, which had beaten off three assaults. All of the officers had become casualties.This Warrant Officer, under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, cooly collected and led a party against the strong point, rushed through the wire and personally killed four of the enemy, capturing the position and silencing the machine-gun."
"This courageous action was responsible for the capture of a most important tactical point."
Hanna was decorated with the Victoria Cross by His Majesty King George V at Buckingham Palace on December 5, 1917. Some time later, Robert Hanna, by now a lieutenant, returned home to Kilkeel, and at a great public meeting in the Square, upwards of 3,000 people applauded his courage. The Rev. Alfred Eadie, one of the speakers, remarked on the honour and distinction that Robert Hanna had brought to the Kingdom of Mourne, while other speakers spoke in appreciative terms of Lieutenant Hanna’s gallantry.He was subsequently discharged from the army and returned to Vancouver where, as reported in the August, 1919 edition of The Orange Standard, he was given a hearty and enthusiastic welcome by a large attendance of members and guests of LOL No 2226, and mentioned in the Grand Secretary’s report of the proceedings of the Grand Orange Lodge of British Columbia for 1918.
Returning to civilian employment he ran a logging camp until 1938 and married Hannah, a girl of Scottish parentage in 1930. They had two boys John, who died in infancy, and Robert. Robert Hanna died on June 15, 1967, at Mount Lehman, British Columbia, and is buried at the Masonic Cemetery at Burnaby, B.C. His nephew, also called Robert Hill Hanna, still works the family farm at Aughnahoory and the family’s long connection with Orangeism still remains, as he proudly wears the colours with Kilkeel True Blues LOL No 1034