b. 19/06/1872 Middleburg, South Africa. d. 03/03/1940 Newcastle, South Africa.
John James Clements (1872-1937) was born on 19th June 1872 in Middelburg, Cape Colony, South Africa. He grew up into a farming family prior to his involvement in the military. Shortly prior to the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899, Clements had enlisted with a regiment called the Rimmington’s Guides, named after its commanding officer. The regiment later became known as Damant’s Horse after their commanding officer changed.
On the 24th February, 1901, near Strijdenburg, when dangerously wounded through the lungs and called upon to surrender, Corporal Clements, threw himself into the midst of a party of five Boers, shooting three of them with his revolver, and thereby causing the whole party to surrender to himself and two unwounded men of Rimington's Guides.
Clements was recommended for, and awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry in the London Gazette of 4th June 1901. He was presented with his medal on 1st July 1902 by the Prince of Wales (later King George V) in Horse Guards Parade, London.
Following his service in the Boer War, Clements returned to his farm. He then served with the Botha’s Scouts in the German South West Africa campaign during the First World War. Once the war was over, he again returned to his farm in the Natal. He died on his farm aged 64 on the 18th June 1937. He was buried in the Town Cemetery, Newcastle, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. On the 21st October 1999, his medals were auctioned at Spinks and were purchased for a hammer price of £65,000 by the Ashcroft Trust, and are now displayed in the Imperial War Museum.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM.
NEWCASTLE TOWN CEMETERY, NEWCASTLE, SOUTH AFRICA. DUTCH REFORM SECTION
John Clements' medal collection including VC on display at Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London (August 2014).
Picture - Derek Walker