A century on, a hero is honoured
Town pays tribute to Victoria Cross winner
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