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Clement Robertson

Clement Robertson VC (15 December 1890 – 4 October 1917) was born at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Clement Robertson
Clement Robertson.jpg
Born 15 December 1890
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Died 4 October 1917 (aged 26)
Zonnebeke, Belgium
Buried Oxford Road Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank Captain
Unit The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment
(Attached Tank Corps)

World War I  

Awards Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross


Early lifeEdit

Clement's father, a captain in the Royal Artillery, was serving in South Africa when Clement was born on 15 December 1890. The family was from Ireland and Clement grew up in Delgany in County Wicklow, although he went to school at Haileybury before attending Trinity College, Dublin to study Engineering. After his graduation he went to Egypt to work as an Engineer on the Nile irrigation project. On the outbreak of the First World War he returned to England to enlist. He and his four brothers were keen Golfers and were founder members of the Delgany Golf Club. Clement won the Captain's Prize in the first year it was played for in 1908.

Military careerEdit

He was 26 years old, and an acting Captain in The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment, British Army, attached to A Battalion, Tank Corps during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.[1]

The citation reads:

On 4 October 1917 at Zonnebeke, Belgium, Captain Robertson led his tanks in attack under heavy shell, machine-gun and rifle fire over ground which had been ploughed by shell-fire. He and his batman had spent the previous three days and nights going back and forth over the ground, reconnoitering and taping routes, and, knowing the risk of the tanks missing the way, he now led them on foot, guiding them carefully towards their objective, although he must have known that this action would almost certainly cost him his life. He was killed after the objective had been reached, but his skilful leading had already ensured success.[2]

He was buried at Oxford Road Cemetery, Belgium, 2 miles (3 kilometres) north-east of Ypres, in Plot II, Row F, Grave 7.[3]



Robertson is also commemorated:

  • in his parish church at Delgany, County Wicklow[4]
  • in Delgany Golf Club, of which he was a founder member, where his name is the first on the Captain's Prize Trophy.
  • on one of the panels on the walls of the entrance hall of the 1937 Reading Room, Front Square, Trinity College.[5]
  • Plaque and Royal Tank Regiment flag at Merlijn Restaurant at Reutel Crossroads.
  • Bridge over Reutelbeek upgraded to Memorial Status and now named “Robertson’s Bridge”