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Rifleman 391102, 9th London Regiment (Queen’s Victoria Rifles).

Died of wounds 1st July 1916, age 30.

Buried in Gommecourt British Cemetery No. 2, Hebuterne, France.

Former student of physics.


 

Clifford was born at Padiham, Burnley, in 1885. The son of William Henry and Alice Riley. He was educated in Todmorden, Lancashire and entered Manchester University in 1904 gaining a BSc. in 1907 and MSc in 1910. He began a teaching career working at schools in Dumfries, Goole and Hendon.

In November 1914 Clifford enlisted in a local territorial unit the 9th (Queen Victoria’s Rifles) Battalion, London Regiment. The regiment was amongst the first Territorials in action on the Western Front entering the line in early November 1914. Clifford saw extensive combat with the “Queen Vic’s” fighting in the offensive at Hill 60 near Ypres, Belgium, in 1915 in which they won the first Victoria Cross awarded to a Territorial in the War.  In early 1916 they were transferred to the all Territorial 56th (London) Division ready for the attack on the Somme. A highly experienced Division it was tasked with carrying out a diversionary attack at Gommecourt in the opening hours of the offensive its aim to draw German reserves away from the main attack. As part of the diversion the “Queen Vic’s” went over the top at 07.30 taking two lines of enemy trenches before being halted short of the German third line. They held on until 20.20 that evening when mounting casualties and determined counter attacks caused them to withdraw to the start line. During the course of the days fighting Clifford was wounded and died shortly after.