Jul 23, 2014

James Herbert Clegg [1891 - 1917]

Joseph Clegg and Elizabeth Parr married in Victoria, Australia in 1875 and soon started their large family. First along came Alice in 1876 and then in quick succession came seven others before James Herbert Clegg came on the scene in June 1891 when they were living at Wandin Yallock.

The Clegg family were considered one of the Pioneer Families of the Silvan District and much is written about them from their early days in that area.

Young James had only just turned four years of age when his mother died in August 1894.

James Herbert Clegg enlisted in the AIF on the 3rd July 1915 at Melbourne and listed his father - Joseph Clegg - as his Next of Kin.  He was given the service number 3279.

Just 3 mths later he embarked Melbourne on board the HMAT NESTOR bound for Egypt.

As part of the 46th Battalion, James arrived in France on 8th June 1916 and was destined for the Western Front. A couple of weeks later was at Sailly-le-Sec in France fighting in the trenches alongside his mates of the 46th Battalion.

It is needless to say the trauma these Diggers went through as we have read many books and seen much of their suffering during the horrific time of WW1. I doubt even the photos show any of us how traumatic their lives must have been with injuries and illness amongst the troops during this time.

By August 1916 the 46th Bn was participating in its first major battle of WW1 - The Battle of Pozieres. Initially the Battalion provided carrying parties for supplies and ammunition during the 2nd Divisions attack on 4th August and then, with its own division, defended the ground that had been captured.

It was here on 30th August - during the Battle of Pozieres - where James was wounded with Shell Shock. He remained in hospital for one month and discharged from hospital in early September.

On 15th September and again on 24th October 1916, James was on Parade "unshaven" and for these crimes he was charged a days pay for each crime.

While at Rouen in Haute Normandie in France, James was admitted to Hospital with influenza and eventually transferred to England for a long recuperation period.  It was not until March the following year that he was eventually discharged from hospital and transferred to the 65th Battalion for a period of time, perhaps for further training.

In the meantime, on the 11th April 1917, his original 46th Battalion took part in the attack mounted against the heavily defended village of Bullecourt - part of the formidable Hindenburg Line to which the Germans had retreated during February and March.   

By the 22nd May 1917, when James was at Wareham in  England his superiors had him transferred back to the 46th Battalion once again and he found himself back in Belgium!

From the 7th June to the 14th June 1917 the Battle of Messines (Belgium) took place.
The primary objective of this particular battle was the strategically important Wyschaete-Messines Ridge, the high ground south of Ypres. 

Messines Ridge

Two weeks later, the 46th Battalion was located at Ploegsteert Wood and where the major battle on Hill 63 took place as part of the Battle of Messines.

A dummy tree used as an observation post on Hill 63 by Australian troops during the battle of Messines in June 1917

Hill 63 as it is today and where James Herbert Clegg was KIA.

Messines was the first time Australians and New Zealanders had fought side by side since the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.

and it was here - on Hill 63 - that James Herbert Clegg was Killed in Action.

His personal effects of a wallet, diary, handkerchief and photos were returned to his father in Australia on board the "Barambah".

James was buried at the Underhill Farm Cemetery, Ploegsteert in Belgium.

James Herbert Clegg

[1892 - 1917]

Lest We Forget

Underhill Farm Cemetery

The following family members were attached to the 
46th Battalion and prior to WW1 
were unknown to each other.

Raymond Everard Bartram....... KIA 07 June 1917

Ernest Cockbill Kendrick .......... KIA 05 April 1918

James Herbert Clegg ............... KIA 02 July 1917

all three fought in the 

Battles of Pozieres, Messines, and Sailly-le-Sec

This website will be of interest to those with any family member that fought at Pozieres:

Pozieres Memorial Park

James Herbert Clegg's name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory at the AWM in Canberra on:

  • Sun 17 August, 2014 at 2:12 am
  • Tue 30 September, 2014 at 4:46 am
  • Sat 22 November, 2014 at 9:25 pm
  • Fri 16 January, 2015 at 10:09 pm
  • Mon 9 March, 2015 at 11:59 pm
  • Fri 24 April, 2015 at 8:17 pm
  • Fri 5 June, 2015 at 1:22 am
  • Sun 12 July, 2015 at 6:19 pm
These dates and times are estimates. The actual time of projection could change as a result of weather and other factors, so it is advisable to check closer to the date. In the rare event of a temporary loss of electrical power, the names scheduled for display in that period will not appear until the next time listed.

with grateful thanks to the AWM (Australian War Memorial) and NAA (National Archives Australia) 
for the above information and some of the images.


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