Today in WW1: Stretcher-bearer wins the VC

George William Burdett Clare took part in actions in France which would win him the Victoria Cross.

Clare, who was born in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, on May 18, 1889, was a 28-year-old private in the 5th Lancers (Royal Irish).

He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on November 28/29, 1917 at Bourlon Wood, France, during the Battle of Cambrai, at which he was killed.

This photograph, taken earlier this year, shows his name on the Cambrai Memorial to the Missing at Louverval.


The citation for his VC, which was published in the London Gazette on January 8, 1918, reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when, acting as a stretcher-bearer during a most intense and continuous enemy bombardment, Pte. Clare dressed and conducted wounded over the open to the dressing-station about 500 yards away. At one period when all the garrison of a detached post, which was lying out in the open about 150 yards to the left of the line occupied, had become casualties, he crossed the intervening space, which was continually swept by heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, and having dressed all the cases, manned the post single-handed till a relief could be sent. Pte. Clare then carried a seriously wounded man through intense fire to cover, and later succeeded in getting him to the dressing station. At the dressing-station he was told that the enemy was using gas shells to a large extent in the valley below, and as the wind was blowing the gas towards the line of trenches and shell-holes occupied, he started on the right of the line and personally warned every company post of the danger, the whole time under shell and rifle fire. This very gallant soldier was subsequently killed by a shell.”

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