Altrincham WW1 

John Oliver Clemson

Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:04th Bn
Name of Rgt or Ship:Royal North Devon Hussars
How Died:Died of Wounds
Country of burial:GallipoliGrave Photo:Yes
Cemetery or Memorial:Lala Baba Cemetery
Town Memorial:Not Listed
Extra Information:
Born 30th May 1882, the son of John Henry & Sarah Jane L. Clemson (nee
Oliver).    Birth registered at Prestwich R.D. - during the September
quarter 1882 - ref: 8d/382.   His father died, aged: 33, during the
September quarter 1889 - Salford R.D.

1891 Census - Brookfield House, Bury Old Road, Broughton, Salford.     Son
- aged: 8 - born: Manchester.  Head of Household, his widowed mother -
Sarah Jane Clemson - aged: 36 - Living on her own means - born: Manchester.
    Also listed - 4 sisters, 1 brother and 3 servants.

Note from Elspeth Griffiths, Archivist, Sedburgh School - JO Clemson's name
is on a RoH in St Mary's Church Applethwaite Windermere with others of  the
'Boys of the Old College* who fell in the Great War and who attended St
Mary's Church Applethwaite Windermere'.  This was a prep school on, I
believe, the site of the former Windermere College.   Also Educated at
Sedbergh School - No. 962 in the School Register, attended from 1897 to
July 1900.  He then progressed to Exeter College, Oxford.   At one time, he
was the Master of the Stevenstone Foxhounds.

1901 Census - Red House, Windermere, Westmoreland (next to or part of The
Preparatory College, Windermere)    Boarder - aged: 18 - born: Manchester. 
There were only four pupils.

Enlisted in the Army in 1910.

1911 Census - Bydown House Swimbridge Barnstaple (a large mansion house).  
 Friend - UnMarried - aged: 28 - occ: Gentleman, Private Means - born:
Crumpsall, Manchester.   Also staying at this house was Mary MacKinnon -
his future wife - Sister in Law to the head of Household - aged: 28 - of
Private Means and born at Calcutta.   Head of Household was Robert &
Margaret Jameson.

His widowed mother was then residing at "Parkside", Bradgate Road, Dunham
Massey.    Head - Widowed - aged: 56 - of Private Means.   Also her
daughter Edith Clemson - UnMarried - aged: 31, plus four servants.

In 1912, he purchased at auction Stevenstone Manor House owned by Lord
Clinton.  Stevenstone was a massive stately home within the parish of St
Giles in the Wood, near Great Torrington, North Devon.  Stevenstone
contained four reception rooms, eight bathrooms, and 27 bed and dressing
rooms.  It was partially demolished in 1912 and was largely abandoned in
the 1930s, it is now an ivy covered ruin.

MIC - Mobilised on the 4th August 1914 and drafted to Gallipoli on the 24th
September 1915.   Awarded BWM - 15 Star - Victory.

Promoted to Lieutenant in 1913 and Captain in October 1915.

Married wealthy heiress - Mary MacKinnon the 3rd daughter of the late John
& Mrs. MacKinnon, 10 Hyde Park Gdns, London during the March quarter 1912
in the Paddington R.D. - ref: 1a/29.   They had one daughter.
"Soldiers Died" states that he was in the Household Cavalry & Cavalry of
the Line (Inc Yeomanry & Imperial Camel Corps).

The Sedbergh School Register states that he was Killed in Action on the 6th
January 1916, however, both the "Soldiers Died" and the CWGC state that he
died on the 9th December 1915.  "Soldiers Died" also states that he died of

WO 374 states - that he was 6 feet 2 inches in height and his occupation
given as: Gentleman Farmer, Peaghalm, Powinghton, North Devon.    He
applied for a commission in the Royal North Devon Hussars on the 10th July
1909 and was commissioed as 2nd Lieutenant on the 17th July 1909.  In a
reply dated the 28th April 1919,  to a request by the War office to confirm
which address she wanted his memorial and scroll to go to, his widow
replied that she was residing at "Stevenstone, Torrington, Devoon.   In his
Letters of administration, dated the 8th August 1916, his estate was valued
at £19,546. 16. 11d the grantee - his widow Mary Clemson.    His "Field
Service - report of the death of" form, dated 31st December 1915, states
that he was serving with the 1/1st Bn - Royal North Devon Hussars

Rd: "British Regiments at Gallipoli" states that the 1/1st Bn Royal North
Devon Yeomanry were part of the 2nd South Western Mounted Brigade. From
Colchester, Essex, they entrained for Liverpool and embarked on the S.S.
"Olympic" on the 24th September I 915, sailing on the 25th.  They arrived
at Mudros on the 1st October, where they remained in harbour, they then
travelled onto Sulva Bay, landing there on the 9th October, where they went
straight to bivouacs at Oxford Street, Karakol Dagh, attached to The 11th
Division.  On the 3rd November, they relieved the 11th Bn. Northumberland
Fusiliers in the firing line at Jepson's Post.  On the 11th November, they
were themselves relieved and went back to Oxford Street.   On the 15th
November they marched, via Lala Baba and Salt Lake to Support trenches -
'A' Section, attached to the 2nd Mounted Division.   On the 18th November
they went to Brigade Support at Willow Tree, Cater's House and Tints
Corner.  On the 24th November they relieved the 1/1st West Somerset
Yeomanry in the front line at White House sector,   On the 29th November
they were relieved and went back to Lala Baba, attached to the 53rd
Division.   On the 9th December (the day John died) they were attached to
the 2nd Mounted Division and returned to the forward area on the 10th,

Conditions at Sulva were atrocious following a violent south-westerly storm
on the 26th November 1915, which was followed by torrential rain that
continued for 24 hours.  This brought a wall of water into some of the
British trenches and with it decomposing bodies and all manner of equipment
and debris.  As the rain eased on the night of the 27th November the wind
timed into an icy northerly gale and the rain quickly turned to snow  It
was not until the 30th that weather conditions improved enough to take off
sick and injured and in that time alone some 5,000 men had suffered from
frostbite and over 200 had drowned or died of exposure.  On the 7th
December the decision had been taken to evacuate the troops from Gallipoli,
but too late to save Captain Clemson. On the 9th December, the Turks
attacked in the northern sector their shelling from 38 guns causes 202
British casualties - it is quite likely that John was one of these
casualties, dying from his wounds the same day.

Death reported in the 07/01/1916 edition of the Altrincham Guardian.

Listed in the Guardian Year Book - Roll of Honour for 1917.

Commemorated on the war memorial in St Mary's Church Applethwaite,
Windermere.  There is a memorial to him in St. Giles in the Wood Parish
Church, near Torrington, Devon.

See also -

Memorials found on:
Altrincham & District Roll of Honour
Sedbergh School
Similar Names