- Name: Brett Mackay CLOUTMAN
- D.O.B: 7th Nov, 1891
- D.O.A: 6th Nov, 1918
- D.O.D: 15th Aug, 1971
- Award: Victoria Cross
- Occupation at time of action: Acting Major, 59th Field Company, Corps of Royal Engineer, 5th Division
- Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
Pont-sur-Sambre, France 6 November 1918
6 November 1918
The First World War 1918
As the Battle of the Sambre continued, in the sector north of Fourth Army on the night of 5-6 November 1918 Third Army established a bridgehead across the Sambre, which here flowed north-east through Maubeuge. As no artillery had yet crossed the river it was important to secure the bridges. It was for his gallant attempt on 6 November, ultimately unsuccessful, to save the Quartes Bridge north of Pont-sur-Sambre, that Major B M Cloutman was awarded the VC. In the following days Third Army pushed forward and by the Armistice had almost reached the Belgian border. Cloutman’s VC action was the last one of the First World War.
For most conspicuous bravery on the 6th November, 1918, at Pont-sur-Sambre. Maj. Cloutman, after reconnoitring the river crossings, found the Quartes Bridge almost intact but prepared for demolition. Leaving his party under cover he went forward alone, swam across the river, and, having cut the “leads” from the charges, returned the same way, despite the fact that the bridge and all approaches thereto were swept by enemy shells and machinegun fire at close range. Although the bridge was blown up later in the day by other means, the abutments remained intact.