- Name: William CLAMP
- D.O.B: 28th October, 1892
- D.O.A: 9th October, 1917
- D.O.D: 9th October, 1917
- Award: Victoria Cross
- Occupation at time of action: Corporal, 6th Battalion Alexandra Princess of Wales’s Own, (The Yorkshire Regiment), 32nd Brigade, 11th Division
Poelcapelle, Belgium 9 October 1917
9 October 1917
The First World War 1917
On 9 October 1917, in the Battle of Poelcapelle, one of a series of advances intended to drive the Germans off the Passchendaele Ridge, the British sought to exploit the advantage they had gained in the Battle of Broodseinde five days earlier (see above) but only made small gains. The Guards Division attacked the German line near Houthulst Forest, northeast of Langemark, where there had already been fighting a month earlier. Lance Sergeant J H Rhodes distinguished himself in the action by capturing an enemy pillbox. To the south of the Guards Division, 4th Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment advanced north of the Ypres-Staden railway line. Its first objective was Namur Crossing, where the remains of a road ran beneath the railway. In this fighting Private F G Dancox took a German pillbox single- handed. Meanwhile 1st Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Battalion The Royal Fusiliers attacked south of the railway line. In this action, Sergeant J Lister, 1st Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers, captured a German stronghold at Olga House, while Sergeant J Molyneux, 2nd Battalion The Royal Fusiliers, dealt with a series of obstacles around Condé House. South of the Ypres-Staden railway line, 6th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment advanced through Poelcapelle itself but met strong opposition from a German position near a former brewery. Corporal W Clamp succeeded in capturing one of the enemy pillboxes but was subsequently killed while trying to flush out snipers. However, by the end of the day the Germans had been able to reoccupy many of their former positions.
For most conspicuous bravery when an advance was being checked by intense machine-gun fire from concrete blockhouses and by snipers in ruined buildings. Corporal Clamp dashed forward with two men and attempted to rush the largest blockhouse. His first attempt failed owing to the two men with him being knocked out, but he at once collected some bombs, and, calling upon two men to follow him, again dashed forward. He was first to reach the blockhouse and hurled in bombs, killing many of the occupants. He then entered and brought out a machine-gun and about twenty prisoners, whom he brought back under heavy fire from neighbouring snipers. This non-commissioned officer then again went forward encouraging and cheering the men, and succeeded in rushing several snipers’ posts. He continued to display the greatest heroism until he was killed by a sniper. His magnificent courage and self-sacrifice was of the greatest value and relieved what was undoubtedly a very critical situation.