THE VICTORIA CROSS AND CAMPAIGN MEDALS AWARDED TO CORPORAL LEO CLARKE, 2ND BN ( EASTERN ONTARIO REGIMENT ), CEF, HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED BY THE CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM.
11 June 2010

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Corporal Leo Clarke, 2nd Bn ( Eastern Ontario Regiment ), Canadian Expeditionary Force, have been acquired by the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.



( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Corporal Lionel ( Leo ) Clarke,
2nd Bn ( Eastern Ontario Regiment ), CEF

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )

Medal group image:
CWM 20090121-001
Tilston Memorial Collection of Canadian Medals
Photo: Bill Kent. © Canadian War Museum


After relieving the Australians on the Mouquet Farm Front the Canadian 2nd Battalion was ordered to attack on the south side of the Albert-Bapaume Road. Their objective was the German front trench astride the railway leading to Martinpuich. The fight continued on a front of 500 yards and more than 60 German prisoners were taken. However, the line was continuously bombarded by the German artillery and there were several German counter attacks which were fought off.

It was during this time that Corporal Clarke earned his Victoria Cross taking on 20 Germans on his own and routed them.


For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 26 October 1916 ], Near Pozieres, Somme, France, 9 September 1916, Acting Corporal Lionel ( Leo ) Beaumaurice Clarke, 2nd Bn ( Eastern Ontario Regiment ), Canadian Expedionary Force.

For most conspicuous bravery ( near Pozieres, France ). He was detailed with his section of bombers to clear the continuation of a newly-captured trench and cover the construction of a "block".

After most of the party had become casualties, he was building a "block" when about twenty of the enemy with two officers counter-attacked. He boldly advanced against them, emptied his revolver into them and afterwards two enemy rifles which he picked up in the trench. One of the officers then attacked him with the bayonet, wounding him in the leg, but he shot him dead. The enemy then ran away, pursued by Acting Corporal Clarke, who shot four more and captured a fifth.

Later he was ordered to the dressing station, but returned next day for duty.


Although Leo Clarke continued in the battle his wounds became very serious and he was sent to Number One General Hospital, Etretat near Le Havre, where he died on the 19th October 1916. He was buried at Etretat Churchyard, Plot 11, Row C, Grave 3A.

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Iain Stewart, 11 June 2010