The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Lieutenant Colonel Lancelot Clarke DSO MID (later VD)

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: Lancelot Fox Clarke

Ancestor's date of birth: 15/01/1858

Ancestor's date of death: 25/04/1915

Cause of Death: Killed in Action, Russell's Top Gallipoli

Service and Life Before the Boer War: Born Emerald Hill, Victoria. At the time of enlistment he was an accountant in St Kilda, Melbourne. He had joined the Victorian Voluntary Field Artillery in 1878 and was commissioned in 1884. He was a serving volunteer officer at the time of the Boer War commanding B battery VFA.

Service Number: Officer - no number

Colony or State of enlistment: VIC Place of Enlistment: Melbourne

Unit: 4th Victorian Imperial Bushmen

Rank attained in Boer War: LTCOL, Date Effective: 22/06/1901

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): COL, Date Effective: 1911

Murray Page: 253, 254, 255, 257, 259

Contingent: Fourth Victorian

Ship: SS Victorian, Date of Sailing: 01/05/1900

Memorial details: Australian War Memorial, Beach Cemetery ANZAC.

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Distinguished Service Order (DSO), Mention in Despatches (MID) (twice), Queen's South Africa Medal with Rhodesia, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal clasps. Volunteer Decoration (VD). 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Personal Characteristics: height 176 cm.

Reasons to go and fight: An experienced volunteer officer

Details of service in war: He was appointed second in command of 4VIB. Service May 1900 - June 1901 in Rhodesia, west Transvaal, Cape Colony contingent separated mid 1900-early 1901, with Major L. F. Clarke commanding C, D, and E squadrons on garrison duty in Rhodesia. Commanded 4VIB after Lt Col Kelly was wounded from 23 February 1901 to 23June1901 Mentioned in Despatches for excellent execution of orders at Zumberg. 22 June 1901 he was appointed lieutenant colonel in acknowledgment of his almost independent command of his three squadrons and his command of 4VIB. He opted to stay on in South Africa in July 1901 and was posted to 5VMR for administration, appointed Martial Law Administrator in district 13, July 1901 - July 1902 and OC Troops North Western Districts Cape Colony July 1901 - October 1902. He was awarded the DSO 'For able command in operations against de Wet' and twice Mentioned in Despatches.

Service and life after the Boer War: On return from the Boer War he continued militia service until 1911 rising to the rank of Colonel. He then was placed on the unattached list until 1914 when he took a job in Devonport Tasmania as a shipping Manager. He was appointed Commanding Officer of the 91st Infantry battalion. When war broke out he was appointed as a lieutenant colonel commanding the 12th Battalion AIF at the age of 56. He was killed on the first day at Gallipoli by a sniper's bullet while rallying his men at Russell's Top on 25 April 1915. He was buried at Beach Cemetery.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Marion Bennet, Chatswood NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: great great Niece


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields