Lord Lyell was the son of the Hon. Charles Henry Lyell and his wife Rosalind Margaret Watney.  His father died in 1918 and he succeeded his grandfather in 1926

He was educated at Eton and Matriculated in 1932. He graduated in 1936.

He married Sophie Mary Trafford on 4 July 1938. They had one son.

He joined the 1st Battalion The Scots Guards and in 1940, he moved his wife and son from their house in London to the ancestral home Kinnordy at Kirriemuir, Angus. It had not been a home since 1928. The house had no central heating, and, but for a simple 50-volt generator, no electricity. Lady Lyell set about decorating the rooms one by one, furnishing them in style and had electricity installed in 1950.

In April 1943, the final battles for North Africa were taking place and the Battalion was near Tunis.

He was awarded The Victoria Cross, posthumously. The citation in the London Gazette of 12 August, 1943 stated,

“From 22nd April, 1943, Captain the Lord Lyell commanded his company with great courage, ability and cheerfulness. He led it down a slope under heavy mortar fire to repel a German counter-attack on 22nd April, and led it again under heavy fire on 23rd April in order to capture and consolidate a high point, which was held through a very arduous period of shelling, heat and shortage of water.
In the evening of 27th April, Lord Lyell's company, while taking part in an attack, was held up by fire from a position which consisted of an 88-millimetre gun and a heavy machine-gun in separate pits. Lord Lyell led four men to attack this position; he was far in front of the others, and destroyed the machine-gun pit with a hand-grenade. Then, aided by covering fire from the only uninjured man of his party, he attacked the 88-millimetre gun pit before its crew could fire more than one shot. He killed a number of them before being overwhelmed and killed himself. The few survivors withdrew and his company was able to advance and take its objective. Lord Lyell's outstanding leadership, gallantry and self-sacrifice enabled his company to carry out its task, which had an important bearing on the success of the battalion and of the brigade”

He is buried in the Massicault War Cemetery, Tunis. Plot V. H. 5.

He is commemorated on the MCC Roll of Honour, on the Kirriemuir War Memorial and on the Barony Church, Kirriemuir Memorial.

In addition, he is commemorated on a memorial slab set into the walkway at Cumberland Close, Kirriemuir. This commemorates him and 2 other VC holders from Kirriemuir

Richard Henry Burton VC  (29 January 1923 – 11 July 1993)
He retired to Kirriemuir

"On 8 October 1944 at Monte Ceco, Italy, when an assault was held up, Private Burton rushed forward from his platoon and engaged a Spandau position with his tommy gun, killing three of the crew. Later, again showing complete disregard for his own safety he disposed of the crews of two machine-guns and thanks to his outstanding courage the company was able to consolidate the position. Afterwards, in spite of the fact that most of his comrades were either dead or wounded, he repelled two counter-attacks, directing such accurate fire that the enemy retired."

Charles Melvin VC  (2 May 1885 - 17 July 1941)

"No. 871 Pte. Charles Melvin, R. Highrs. (Kirriemuir) –
For most conspicuous bravery, coolness and resource in action. Pte. Melvin's company had advanced to within fifty yards of the front-line trench of a redoubt, where, owing to the intensity of the enemy's fire, the men were obliged to lie down and wait for reinforcements. Pte. Melvin, however, rushed on by himself, over ground swept from end to end by rifle and machine-gun fire. On reaching the enemy trench, he halted and fired two or three shots into it, killing one or two enemy, but as the others in the trench continued to fire at him, he jumped into it, and attacked them with his bayonet in his hand, as, owing to his rifle being damaged, it was not “fixed." On being attacked in this resolute manner most of the enemy fled to their second line, but not before Pte. Melvin had killed two more and succeeded in disarming eight unwounded and one wounded. Pte. Melvin bound up the wounds of the wounded man, and then driving his eight unwounded prisoners before him, and supporting the wounded one, he hustled them out of the trench, marched them in and delivered them over to an officer. He then provided himself with a load of ammunition and returned to the firing line where he reported himself to his platoon sergeant. All this was done, not only under intense rifle and machine-gun fire, but the whole way back Pte. Melvin and his party were exposed to a very heavy artillery barrage fire. Throughout the day Pte. Melvin greatly inspired those near him with confidence and courage."