Robert Richard Clay MC
1881 - 1963
of a Wiltshire farmer and grandson of a surgeon, uncle Dick was born in
Dinton, Wilts in 1881. He
was, therefore, of the same age as uncle Arthur and Major Gough.
As can be seen from his South African Medals, he served in South Africa during the Boer War as a member of the Imperial Yeomanry and then, at the start of the First War, left for France as Sergeant.
His progress is still being researched but he was variously attached to the 6th Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment, the 2nd Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment and the Artists Rifles. By about December 1916 he had risen to the rank of Capt but was buried by a shell burst and sustained some injuries. It is possible he was with the Artists Rifles at the time.
He received his Military Cross during the Trones Wood action on 8/9th July 1916. There was no citation but the award was Gazetted on the 1st January 1917. His first cousin Capt Vivian Hastings Clay was with him during the Trones Wood action and as noted in the letter of condolence from Chaplain W. A. Warner to Vivian's father there was all round disappointment that Vivian did not also receive an award for gallantry at the same time.
He survived the war to be allowed to retain his rank of Captain and return to his career with the Dorchester, Dorset brewers, Eldridge Pope, to be their representative in Portsmouth where he spent the rest of his life with his brother Frederick Charles Clay.
He died at the age of 82 years in 1963 and his death certificate indicates that injuries received both before and durng the the Great War could have contributed to his death.
He was brother to the maternal grandmother of the wife of the writer. Within days of his death, his brother Fred also passed away at the age of 85 years.