QUEEN’S SOUTH AFRICA 1899-1902, 2 CLASPS, CAPE COLONY, WITTEBERGEN ‘CAPT. STANLEY-CLARKE. 2/CO 1/IMP. YEO.’
William Willoughby Stanley-Clarke, 2nd Company, 1st Battalion Imperial Yeomanry, was killed in action at Brandwater Basin on 26 August 1900. Born in 1868, and educated at Cheltenham, he was the eldest son of the late Colonel Stanley Clarke, 21st Hussars. At the outbreak of the war Captain Clarke was engaged in tea planting in Ceylon; but volunteered for active service. His services were accepted and he was granted the rank of Captain in the army from 10th March 1900, when he joined the Imperial Yeomanry from the 6th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, in which he had served as a Captain from August 1894.
Captain Stanley-Clarke commanded number 2 company 1st battalion of imperial yeomanry from the forming of the battalion.
The Battalion arrived at Cape Town on 23rd and 30th March 1900 and were immediately sent up to the Imperial Yeomanry Base Camp at McKenzie Farm. On the 16th April orders were given for the battalions move ‘up country’ with Captain Stanley Clarke’s no 2 company being ordered to Springfontien. They were joined several days later by HQ and the balance of the Wiltshire’s...
On the 24th August 1900 Captain Clarke, with part of his company were out on patrol, into the Brandwater Basin, here many of the Boers that escaped The Surrender of Prinsloo, were hiding out. The company formed part of a larger force of Leicester Imperial Yeomanry and Port Elizabeth Guards, under Captain Harrison of the Leicester’s (all told around 200 men). Captain Clarke was sent off with a detachment to try and capture a force of Boers who had been reported to be at a farm in the mountains. At daybreak on the 26th, the farm was surrounded but it was discovered that several more Boers were held up in a nearby cave. Captain Clarke and Lieutenant Barclay with a number of men attempted to enter the cave but Captain Clarke was shot and killed and Lieutenant Barclay and a Private were wounded. On hearing the firing, Captain Harrison came up with the Leicester’s but in the confusion of the loss of the two Officers, most of the Boers managed to escape, leaving 1 dead and 17 captured.
‘The Last Post’ states Stanley Clarke was killed at Harrismith, which was under British control at the time but the regimental history make it clear it was during the search for Boer stragglers (which 1st IY were heavy involved) in the Brandwater Basin that the action took place. Captain Stanley Clarke’s name is inscribed on the Eleanor Cross War Memorial at Cheltenham College.
‘The Annals of the Yeomanry Cavalry of Wiltshire’ Vol 2 1893 – 1908, gives a detailed account of the formation of the raising of the Wiltshire companies, Imperial Yeomanry for service in the Boer War and their service during the War itself.
Condition EF, officially engraved naming with original ribbon. Initials never added to naming though unique surname for unit so not an issue. A superb a scarce Boer War Officer casualty medal.