Private George William Burdett Clare VC, 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers

10th July 2020

William Clare was born on 18th May 1889 at St Ives, Huntingdonshire.
He won the Victoria Cross at Bourlon Wood in France on 29th November 1917.
His Victoria Cross citation: “For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty whilst occupying the advanced posts in Bourlon Wood on the night of the 28/29 November 1917. When acting as stretcher bearer during a most intense and continuous enemy bombardment, Private Clare dressed and conducted wounded over the open to the dressing station 500 yards away. At one period, when the garrison of a detached post which was lying out in the open about 150 yards to the left of the line occupied was all out of action, Private Clare crossed the intervening space which was continually swept by heavy rifle and machine gun fire, dressed all the cases and then manned the post single handed until a relief could be sent. Private Clare then carried Lance Corporal Glascoe, the most seriously wounded man, on his back a distance of about 100 yards through intense fire and placed him under cover of a fallen tree whilst he went in search of assistance and a stretcher. He then returned and succeeded in getting Lance Corporal Glascoe down 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 shell holes occupied, he started on the right of the line and personally warned every post of the whole company of the danger, the whole time exposing himself to the direct fire of rifles and machine guns. The shell fire too was incessant the whole time. Private Clare was subsequently killed by a shell early on the morning of 29th November.
Recommendation 1.12.1917.
Awarded Victoria Cross 12.1.1918.
London Gazetted on 11th January 1918.
Medal collected by father at Buckingham Palace 2nd March 1918
Memorials at Cambrai Memorial, France, St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church, Chatteris Cambridgeshire and the War Memorial, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.