b. 28/10/1892 Motherwell, Scotland. d. 09/10/1917 Poelcapelle, Belgium.
William Charles Clamp (1891-1917) was born at 2 Bridge Street, Motherwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland on 28th October 1892. His father, Charles Henry Clamp, born at Daisy Bank, Staffordshire, was an iron bundler. He married Christina Dundas on 27th May 1892 at Motherwell, Lanarkshire. She was working as a bleachfield worker at the Bowfield Women Houses, Lochwinnoch, at the time of her marriage. Later Charles worked at the Etna Iron & Steel Co and the family lived at 13a Reid Terrace, Flemington, Motherwell. Charles and Christina had a very large family of sixteen children including William who was their eldest.
William was educated at Craigneuk Primary School, Wishaw and also attended the Motherwell Salvation Army Sabbath School and played cornet in the Motherwell Corps Band. He was a member of the Good Templar Lodge. William was employed by Messrs Hurst, Nelson and Co at their wagon works in Flemington. He enlisted in the 6th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) TF on 2nd January 1914. He was mobilised when war broke out and went to France on 20th March 1915 with 1/6th Battalion Cameronians. William was wounded twice and after the second time he transferred to 6th Yorkshire on 10th January 1917. He returned to duty just before his last action. In his last letter home to his mother he wrote, “Don’t worry about me, Mother, for, whatever happens, my soul is right with God.”
On 9th October 1917 at Poelcapelle, Belgium, 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.
Shortly afterwards, William was hit and killed by a sniper, and sadly his body was not recovered, and he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. As he never married, the VC was presented to his parents by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 2nd March 1918. In addition to the VC, he was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. When his parents died the VC passed to his brother James. When he died, it passed to his sister, Jessie Kelly, who sold it to the Regiment in 1967. The VC is held by the Green Howards Museum, Richmond, Yorkshire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GREEN HOWARDS MUSEUM, RICHMOND, YORKS.
BURIAL PLACE: TYNE COT MEMORIAL, ZONNEBEKE, BELGIUM. PANEL 52 TO 54.
William Clamp's medals at the Green Howards Museum, Richmond (Picture - Andrew Swan).
William Clamp's memorial in Craigneuk, Scotland (Thomas Stewart).
War Illustrated, 9th February 1918