by David Britton.
This book chronicles the experiences of my mother’s brother, Captain Benjamin Chipchase Clayton MC, in the Great War. Ben Clayton was an art teacher from County Durham. He left 40 “Sketches from the Front”, drawn and dated during his 18 months in the Line. The Colonel of his battalion kept a diary, edited and published in 1964 as “General Jack’s Diary”.
Ben appears in the book several times. It is thus possible to link the dated sketches to events in the book, and so to compare Colonel Jack’s written account with Ben’s drawings.
On the 16th August 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele, Captain Clayton led a Forlorn Hope in which his depleted battalion, the 2nd Battalion of the Prince of Wales’s Own West Yorkshire Regiment took its objective, the Zonnebeke Redoubt, before being driven back six hours later.
Captain Clayton was awarded a posthumous MC for his actions that day.
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This book was written by David Britton, a retired surgeon and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. David now lives in Bath, England.