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 Clarence Smith Jeffries

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Clarence Smith Jeffries

  • Birth 26 Oct 1894 Wallsend, Newcastle City, New South Wales, Australia
  • Death 12 Oct 1917 Arrondissement Roeselare, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium
  • Burial Zonnebeke, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium
  • Plot Section 40 Row E Grave 1
  • Memorial ID 9089146

World War I Victoria Cross Recipient. A native of Australia, he received the award posthumously on December 18, 1917 for his actions as a captain in the 34th Battalion, 9th Brigade, of the Australian Imperial Force at the Battle of Passchendale (or Third Battle of Ypres), Belgium on October 12, 1917. The only child of a coal miner, he received his primary education at local schools and apprenticed as a mining surveyor at the Abermain Collieries in New South Wales, Australia where his father was the general manager. In July 1912 he joined the 14th (Hunter River) Infantry Regiment of the Citizens Military Force as a private, and the following year was promoted to the rank of sergeant. When World War I broke out in July 1914, he received a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Citizens Military Force the following month and in February 1916 he transferred to the Australian Imperial Force and placed in command of Company C of the 34th Battalion. In June 1916 he was sent with his unit to England for training and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. In November 1916 his unit was sent to the Western Front in France and posted to the Armentières sector in Belgium, but did not participate in any major engagements until the Battle of Messines in June 1917, where he was wounded and sent to England for recuperation and promoted to the rank of captain. Returning to the Western Front the following September, his unit, as part of the 3rd Australia Division, received orders to attack Passchendale, Belgium on October 12, 1917 and during the attack, he was killed at the age of 22. Initially interred on the battlefield with no identifying marker for his grave, in September 1920 his remains were exhumed, identified, and reinterred at nearby Tyne Cot Cemetery. His Victoria Cross citation reads: "His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officers, Noncommissioned Officers and Man:-Capt. Clarence Smith Jeffries, late Australian Imperial Force. For most conspicuous bravery in attack, when his company was held up by enemy machine-gun fire from concrete emplacements. Organising a party, he rushed one emplacement, capturing four machine guns and thirty-five prisoners. He then led his company forward under extremely heavy enemy artillery barrage and enfilade machine-gun fire to the objective. Later, he again organised a successful attack on a machine-gun emplacement, capturing two machine guns and thirty more prisoners. This gallant officer was killed during the attack, but it was entirely due to his bravery and initiative that the centre of the attack was not held up for a lengthy period. His example had a most inspiring influence." His Victoria Cross and other war medals are on display in the Warriors Chapel at Christchurch Cathedral in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. He is also commemorated on the Memorial Wall of the Sandgate Cemetery in Newcastle.

Bio by: William Bjornstad





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 12 Jul 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9089146
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Clarence Smith Jeffries (26 Oct 1894–12 Oct 1917), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9089146, citing Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium ; Maintained by Find A Grave .