V.C London Gazette 4.6.1901 'On February 24 1900, near Strijdenburg, when dangerously wounded and called upon to surrender, Corporal Clements threw himself into the midst of a party of five Boers, shooting three of them with his revolver, and thereby causing the whole party to surrender to himself and two unwounded men of Rimington's Guides.'
The wrong year is recorded in the London Gazette - it should have been 1901 - and was not corrected before Clements' Victoria Cross was engraved.
Sergeant John James Clements, V.C., was born in Middelburg, Cape Colony on 19.6.1872 and enlisted in Rimington's Guides at Naauwpoort on 20.10.1899. Colonel Rimington said that he 'was South African born, and of splendid physique, a good boxer and always ready for a "scrap"' (The Victoria Cross 1856-1920 refers).
Nowhere were these fighting tendencies more apparent than on the patrol of 24.1.1901. Major-General Bruce Hamilton initiated Clements' Victoria Cross award:
'I have the honour to forward herewith a recommendation for the award of the Victoria Cross to Corporal Clements, Rimington's Guides, for an act of valour the particulars of which are stated in the accompanying schedule.
I have personally enquired into the particulars of the case from those who were present, and especially from the late Lieut. Harvey who was commanding the party, and whose testimony on such a matter was absolutely reliable. He told me that when he and Clements were wounded there only remained two of his party (Carlile [sic] and Wilson) against five unwounded Boers at close quarters, and that the former would probably have been obliged to surrender had not Clements with conspicuous courage and devotion, and although dangerously wounded, dashed amongst them and shot three of them with his revolver.
The results of Clements' action was that instead of our party being made prisoners, the Boers themselves surrendered and were brought prisoners to our own camp.
I am very strongly of the opinion that this was an act for which the Victoria Cross should be awarded, and I strongly recommend it for the favourable consideration of the Commander-in-Chief.'
The particulars on the accompanying schedule state:
'On Feb. 24, 1901 a scouting party consisting of Lieutenant Harvey, Corp. Clements and four men, Rimington's Guides, with Mr. Carlyle, intelligence officer, were near a farm about five miles South of Strijdenburg, when they heard that a party of Boers were near. They captured one man and he told them that five others were on a kopje watching them.
They decided to leave one man in charge of the prisoner and to charge the hill. Lieutenant Harvey and Corporal Clements were dangerously wounded but the latter though he had received a bullet through the lungs and was called on to surrender, threw himself into the middle of the Boers and shot three of them with his revolver, thereby causing the whole party to put up their hands. Eventually two Boers were left dead on the field and the remaining four were captured. Corporal Clements has repeatedly shown the greatest courage and constantly risked his life in scouting work.'
Sergeant Clements went to King Edward's Coronation in the Damant's Horse Contingent, was discharged on their return on 15.10.1902 and became a farmer in Natal. He enlisted in Botha's Scouts for the German South-West Africa Campaign at the beginning of the Great War and served there until the autumn of 1915. Clements resumed his occupation as farmer and died at Newcastle, Natal on 18.6.1937, leaving a wife and eight children.