Lieutenant Norman Clayton,
1/4th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment.
The register records that he was aged 29 at the time of his death, and was the son of the late William and Clara Clayton of Hapton, Burnley, Lancashire, and the husband of Peggy Clayton of 22, Winsley Road, Colchester, Essex.
Reported in the Burnley Express of 27 May 1916: -
PROMOTED FROM THE RANKS.
Hapton Youth's Gallantry.
Great satisfaction is felt throughout the township of
Hapton on the promotion of Lance-Corporal Norman Clayton to 2/Lieutenant
that took place on April 30th. Lieutenant Clayton joined the Berkshire
Territorials soon after the outbreak of war. He was educated at Hapton
Church School, under the supervision of his father, Mr William Clayton,
now retired at Poulton. After a course at Accrington Secondary School
he entered Manchester University, where he graduated to B.A. He afterwards
accepted a position as assistant master in the Grammer School at Dollar
(Scotland). It was while residing at Dollar that he was selected to play
in the Clackmannon County cricket team. He next moved to Ludlow, in Shropshire,
and afterwards to Hutton, near Preston, where he gave up his position
to join the Berkshire's.
The promotion of 2/Lieutenant Clayton is the result of
an act of gallantry, and the discovery of powers of leadership of the
highest kind. He is spoken of most highly by his comrades and the rank
and file. The action took place in December, and is now fully recorded
in the Berkshire papers.
On December 16th Lance-Corporal Clayton, Private George
F Bowell, and Private E F Cowley were told of on a reconnoitring patrol,
being accompanied by Sergeant Roberts. They proceeded by an hedge towards
the German position, Sergeant Roberts and Clayton being on one side of
the edge, and Cowley and Bowell on the other. With the termination of
the hedge they got into the open, and suddenly some Germans opened fire
upon them from a pit with a machine gun, and also three or four bombs.
They all dropped to the ground, and lay quiet for a while. Clayton had
received a bullet in the wrist. He and Roberts could not see anything
of the other two, and thinking they were "done in", went back
for assistance. Cowley had been badly bruised and dazed, but Bowell was
more seriously injured, and remarked to Cowley that he was "done
After lying down together for a while, Cowley tried to remove his dying comrade, but failed. Taking more strict observations of the spot, he crawled some distance, and was agreeably surprised to meet Clayton coming back with a party. Taking a little detour to avoid the enemy. Cowley was shortly able to point out where he had left Bowell. Lieutenant Clayton had six men with him, and when he got within a short distance of the pit from which the Germans had fired upon them, he left his men and threw three bombs into the pit. Being now satisfied that the Germans had been accounted for, he fetched his party, and brought in Bowell, who had meanwhile died from his severe wounds. Cowley was then attended to, and not until then would Clayton have attention to his wrist, when it was found the bullet had passed clean through.
Reported in the Burnley Express of 5 August 1916: -
HAPTON OFFICER'S DEATH.
News arrived in Hapton on Saturday last that 2/Lieutenant Norman Clayton had been killed in action in France. The remainder of the report repeats that of 27 May 1916.