Clarence Jeffries VC
Inducted 28 November 2007
Clarence Smith Jeffries was born in Wallsend in 1894. His father, Joshua Jeffries, worked in the mining industry, and during World War I was living at Abermain. It was at Abermain, in 1916 that Clarence enlisted in the 9th Infantry Brigade 34th Infantry Battalion, C Company to serve in World War I.
During an advance at Passchendaele on 12 October 1917, Captain Clarence Jeffries was killed, aged 23 years. He is buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium.
An extract from The London Gazette dated 18 December 1917 records the following citation for his award of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for acts of bravery in wartime:
"For most conspicuous bravery in attack, when his company was held up by enemy machine-gun fire from concrete emplacements. Organising a party, he rushed one emplacement, capturing four machine guns and thirty-five prisoners. He then led his company forward under extremely heavy enemy artillery barrage and enfilade machine-gun fire to the objective. Later, he again organised a successful attack on a machine-gun emplacement, capturing two machine guns and thirty more prisoners. This gallant officer was killed during the attack, but it was entirely due to his bravery and initiative that the centre of the attack was not held up for a lengthy period. His example had a most inspiring influence.”
Captain Jeffries’ Victoria Cross is presently located at Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, NSW.
The Jefferies Memorial Park in Abermain, was established as a war memorial in Commemoration of Clarence in 1947. A housing estate in Adamstown, Newcastle on part of the Bullecourt Barracks land, was named in honour of Clarence in 2005. The Jeffries – Currey Memorial Library at Dudley Public School was dedicated to Claerence Jefferies and William Currey, who also received the Victoria Cross, in 1941.
For more information:
School of Arts, 12 Bathurst St, Abermain