Monday, 27 August 2012

Waterdown - Royal Canadian Legion Br. 551


Location:  Halton Region, City of Hamilton   N 43 20.019  W 079 53.974                                            The Legion is located on the east side of Hamilton Street N, at the corner of White Oak Drive.

This memorial consists of two parts, erected by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 551.  First is the stone memorial, found near the sidewalk, dedicated to those who gave their lives in major conflicts and in all branches of the service.  Second and beside the front doors of the Legion, is an Ontario Historical Plaque dedicated to Leo Clarke, awarded the Victoria Cross in 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.  Also beside the plaque is an anti-aircraft gun, with no plaque or markings.

Marker text:
(Both front and back read the same)



Lionel Beaumaurice (Leo) Clarke, V.C. 1892-1916                 

 After relieving the Australians on the Mouquet Farm Front the Canadian 2nd Battalion was ordered to attack on the south side of the Albert-Bapaume Road. Their objective was the German front trench astride the railway leading to Martinpuich. The fight continued on a front of 500 yards and more than 60 German prisoners were taken. However, the line was continuously bombarded by the German artillery and there were several German counter attacks which were fought off.It was during this time that Corporal Clarke earned his Victoria Cross taking on 20 Germans on his own and routed them.

For the award of the Victoria Cross
[ London Gazette, 26 October 1916 ], Near Pozieres, Somme, France, 9 September 1916, Acting Corporal Lionel ( Leo ) Beaumaurice Clarke, 2nd Bn, Eastern Ontario Regiment, Canadian Expedionary Force.

For most conspicuous bravery ( near Pozieres, France ). He was detailed with his section of bombers to clear the continuation of a newly-captured trench and cover the construction of a "block".After most of the party had become casualties, he was building a "block" when about twenty of the enemy with two officers counter-attacked. He boldly advanced against them, emptied his revolver into them and afterwards two enemy rifles which he picked up in the trench. One of the officers then attacked him with the bayonet, wounding him in the leg, but he shot him dead. The enemy then ran away, pursued by Acting Corporal Clarke, who shot four more and captured a fifth.Later he was ordered to the dressing station, but returned next day for duty.

Although Leo Clarke continued in the battle his wounds became very serious and he was sent to Number One General Hospital, Etretat near Le Havre, where he died on the 19th October 1916. He was buried at Etretat Churchyard, Plot 11, Row C, Grave 3A.

Marker text:
Born near Waterdown, Ontario, Leo Clarke moved to Winnipeg in 1903. He enlisted with the 27th Battalion, C.E.F. in February 1915 and transferred to the 2nd Canadian Battalion later that year. On September 9, 1916, on the Somme battlefront, though wounded, Corporal Clarke single-handedly defended a recently-won trench. Using a revolver and two captured rifles he repulsed an attack by two enemy officers and about twenty others, thus helping to secure the Canadian position. For his courageous action he received the British Empire's highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross. Before his award was announced, however, Corporal Clarke was killed in battle on October 19, 1916, and is buried near Le Havre, France.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.