A cen­tury on, a hero is hon­oured

Town pays trib­ute to Vic­to­ria Cross win­ner

Hamilton Advertiser - - ALL ABOUT LANARKSHIRE - Robert Mitchell

De­spite the hail of lead that had pinned him down in the Bel­gian mud, Cor­po­ral Wil­liam Clamp steeled him­self for the as­sault on the con­crete block­houses ahead.

As he raced across the bat­tle­field, two of his com­rades were cut down and the at­tempt on the en­emy po­si­tion failed.

They were another pair of ca­su­al­ties in the Great War, a con­flict that had al­ready claimed mil­lions of lives since its out­break three years be­fore.

Un­de­terred, Clamp gath­ered two more brave souls and led another charge. Ar­riv­ing first at the block­house, he hurled his bombs in­side and stormed the build­ing, emerg­ing with a ma­chine gun and around 20 prison­ers, march­ing them back to his own lines un­der heavy fire.

And later that day he would help root out a Ger­man sniper nest be­fore fall­ing vic­tim to one of their bul­lets.

It was on Oc­to­ber 9, 1917, at Poel­capelle in the Ypres Salient, that Clamp made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice, and his re­mark­able ac­tions that day earned him the great­est hon­our the Bri­tish Armed Forces can be­stow.

And this week, a cen­tury af­ter his in­cred­i­ble feat of brav­ery, Mother­well gath­ered to pay trib­ute to him.

A spe­cial memo­rial paving stone was un­veiled in the town’s Duchess of Hamil­ton Park on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 9.

It marked 100 years since he was awarded the VC fol­low­ing his death at the Bat­tle of the Poel­capelle, Flan­ders.

At the cer­e­mony were 17 mem­bers of The York­shire Reg­i­ment, in­clud­ing the Lieu­tenant Colonel, who marched in full uni­form into the memo­rial park to take part in the ser­vice.

Chil­dren from schools across the town were also in­vited to take part in the trib­ute.

Provost of North La­nark­shire, Jean Jones, presided over the ded­i­ca­tion of the com­mem­o­ra­tive paving stone.

An ad­dress was given by Col Clive Man­tel, MBE, of The Green Howards and the ci­ta­tion for Cpl Clamp VC was read out by Lt Col David O’kelly, reg­i­men­tal sec­re­tary of The York­shire Reg­i­ment.

Pupils Sha­nia Moody, Scott Robert­son, Angie Heit­man and Candice Frew, from Fir Park Sec­ondary School, read out a bi­og­ra­phy on the fallen sol­dier.

The Last Post was fol­lowed by a minute’s si­lence and Reveille be­fore wreaths were laid at the Ceno­taph.

Provost Jones de­liv­ered the clos­ing re­marks, fol­lowed by the bene­dic­tion from Roberta Hut­ton, Moder­a­tor of the Pres­bytery of Hamil­ton.

As well as pro­vid­ing a last­ing legacy of the hero, it is hoped that the newly-laid com­mem­o­ra­tive paving stone will en­able res­i­dents to gain a greater un­der­stand­ing of how their area fit­ted in to the First World War story.

For val­our Wil­liam Clamp won his VC dur­ing the First World War

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