© Avening Parish Council 2023
“Preserve, Conserve, Enhance”
30 Augustus Clapton
Private: Royal Marine Light Infantry
The First World War military documents of many Avening men did not survive, and Augustus Clapton is
no exception. We are lucky in that we do have his Military Record Sheet from the time he joined the
Royal Naval Division on the 17th of April 1917. He was a transfer, having enlisted as a volunteer on the
11th of December 1915. The document we have tells us that he joined at Tetbury and that he joined the
"Army". No regiment, no service number!! He was given a new number with the Marines so it is unknown
what he was doing for the previous eighteen months or so. He left for France on the 7th of August 1917
and was unable to be at his father's funeral which took place a month later.
He was drafted to the 1st Royal Marine Battalion on the 27th of September and from here on it was a
baptism of fire and mud for he and his colleagues became involved in the second battle for
Passchendaele. Again, we are unsure as to his movements but from the record he appears to have been
removed from the strength on the 26th of October only to return on the 31st, some five days later.
This particular battle lasted until the 10th of November but rest came only in short bursts. By December
they were in action again in the Battle of Welsh Ridge shortly after the Cambrai offensive but things
became quieter until Ludendorff’s last big push ("Operation Michael") on the front east of the Somme on
the 21st of April 1918.
The Marines were not directly involved on the first day but were drafted in as support during the retreats
from overwhelming forces. They fought at St Quentin and pulled back to Bapaume on the 24th. It was on
this day when Augustus was declared "missing". After weeks of anxiety, his family received a postcard
from him (probably via the Red Cross) saying that he was a prisoner in Eastern France.
The Stroud News reported on this good news on the 5th of July but only ten days later, Augustus died in
a German hospital. The cause of death is not known but the Naval records do not mention "of wounds".
He was the youngest of seven children born to Sydney Clapton and his wife, Harriett (née Fletcher). He
was born at Barn Row, Point Road on the 20th of March 1889 and was baptised in our church a month
later. He was a baker, working for the Fowles family at the bakery at the entrance to Point Road.
He was buried at Valenciennes Communal Cemetery in France, is remembered with honour on our War
Memorial in the church and also on the Royal Marine Memorial in St James' Park, London. He is also
remembered on his parents' headstone in our churchyard. He was unmarried and, although he cannot be
found on the Medal Rolls, his mother would have received his Victory and British Medals.
We have been unable to locate any living relatives.