|Date of birth:||1881|
|Place of birth:||Colborne nr Richmond, North Yorkshire|
|Regiment / Division:||Prince Alberts Somerset Light Infantry|
|Died:||4th September 1916 aged35 years|
The enlistment and service record of John Trenery Clements has not survived. From his commonwealth war graves entry and the roll of honour we know that John “volunteered in September 1915 and was sent to France in the same year. Whilst on the western front he fought during the battle of the Somme at Fricourt and Mametz Wood and was killed in action on September 4th 1916”
John progressed through the ranks to Corporal in Prince Alberts Somerset Light Infantry. The 6th (Service) Battalion was formed at Taunton in August 1914 as part of ‘K1’, the first 100,000 young men persuaded to volunteer by posters showing Lord Kitchener himself summoning these men to arms to show their patriotism, Known as “Kitchener’s Volunteer Army”.
The 6th battalion came under command of the 43rd Brigade, 14th (Light) Division. Initially without equipment or arms of any kind, the recruits were judged to be ready by May 1915, although its move to the fighting front was delayed by lack of rifle and artillery ammunition. The 14th (Light) Division served on the Western Front throughout the war.
John Trenery Clements was one of 420,000 British service men who by the end of the battle of the Somme in November 1916 had lost his life. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme and Southampton Cenotaph ‘remembered with honour’
Like all the others who gave their lives in this conflict he was posthumously awarded the Victory medal and the British medal in recognition of his services to his country.
The silver British War Medal was awarded for service in World War One. Also called the British Empire campaign medal, it was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Squeak’.
The bronze Victory medal, also called the Inter Allied Victory Medal was awarded to those who received the British War Medal. This medal was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Wilfred’.
Life before the war
Very little is known about John Trenery Clements. A Yorkshire man born in 1881 in Colborne near Richmond, North Yorkshire, who for reasons unknown migrated south to marry a Southampton girl. From their marriage certificate we know that his fathers name was George, but that he had died by 1906. George Clements appears to be a very popular name in Yorkshire in 1881 when John was born there were 213 ‘Clements’ enumerated in Yorkshire alone. None of the families match ours.
On 12th September 1906 John aged 25, a porter at South Western Hotel on Canute Road, Southampton married Rosina Comley born 1887 in Southampton. They married at Sholing Parish Church witnessed by Bessie Comley and George Comley.
In 1911 the family lived at Malmesbury, Thornhill, Bitterne with his brother in law and family. They had 4 children but one had died by 1911. John was a labourer.
From the census we have established that the following children were born to John and Rosina Clements:
- John Trenery was born in 1881
- Gertrude Florence was born in 1907 and died in 1908. I believe she is the child mentioned in the 1911 census.
- Rosina Ellen was born in 1908.
- Bessie was born in 1910.
- Maud H was born in 1913. On free BMD her mothers maiden name is listed as Comley.
In 1916 the widow Rosena Clements and family were living at 136 Percy Road, Southampton when they received notification of his death.
Researched by DHW – May 2013.
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