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Remembered Today:

The Service of Pte H H Clements!


Guest Ian Bowbrick

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

I recently looked into the service of one Pte Horatio Hambro Clements whose medals had come into the possession of a friend. The set of 6 consisted of the Indian GSM, Queens & Kings SA medals and a 1914 Star trio, mounted in 2 groups of three.

Luckily for me the service record of this otherwise ordinary soldier still existed in the WO 363 catalogue. On reading it a different picture started to emerge. He enlisted in 1891 into the West Yorkshire Regt, serving in India and then South Africa during the war where he had a touch of dysentry which nearly finished him off. He was invalided out of the service in 1902.

August 1914 he enlists again this time in the East Yorkshire Regiment and goes to France on 7 October 1914. Unfortunately his time in France is short and he is wounded on 31 October, GSW to the ankle and returned to the UK. Eventually he is discharged in June 1915. Now you would think OK done your bit in 2 wars, got away with it, lets not tempt fate too far. But not for Clements.

September 1915, he enlists at the age of 43 in an RE Labour Battalion. He uses the name Horatio Clements, but his real address and claims never to have served in HMF. He goes to war for a third time entering France at the beginning of November 1915. This time his war last slightly longer and he is wounded by shrapnel to the shoulder in January 1916 and at some time is gassed as well. This time he is invalided out of the service in June 1916.

Finally Pte Clements decides that his soldiering days are over and returns to being a Fishmonger in South London.

An interesting side issue to this story was that Pte Clements was issued with both a 1914 Star trio for his service in the East Yorks and a 1914/15 Star trio for his service with the RE as well as 1 silver war badge!

He did do the decent thing and return his 1914/15 Star trio, but at the first attempt the War Office returned them back to him for some reason that is not clear :o

They did however keep them the second time he returned them!

I have never heard of a double issue of medals before for two lots of service - Have others come across something similar - Tom?

Cheers - Ian

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Extraordinary story.

I onder...

Did he like France, or French girls or wine perhaps?

Did he not fancy being a fishmonger and put it off as long as possible?

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

Chris,

The medals did come from the family and all that they were able to add was that he loved being in the Army?

Given the choice between being a fishmonger in Streatham and an RE Labour Bn - I think I know which I would chose (where's my shovel?)

Ian

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I have never heard of a double issue of medals before for two lots of service - Have others come across something similar - Tom?

He's lucky to get two sets! One of my great uncles joined up underage, was gassed and suffered a bullet wound in 1915, he rejoined the Army when he came of age, but fell on the 21st March 1918. When his medals were issued to the family they asked why he didn't get the 1915 Star as did his brother (killed in 1916), they were told that his previous service didn't count as he was underage.

However, your story is a good one and I wonder how many more groups like this are floating around out there!

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  • 2 months later...

What a great story!

But it strikes me he was perfectly entitled to both sets of medals. If he had only done the service with the E Yorks he would have got the 1914 trio (which he kept). And if he had only done the service with the RE Labour Battalion he would have got the 1914-5 trio, which he gave back. I'd have kept the lot (or at least the 1914-5 star)!

The story of Lee's great uncles is really sad though.

(I've just come across this track by chance and thought if I added a comment it would come back to the top of the pile and a lot more forum members could read it!)

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