Vivian Hastings Clay 1892 - 1916
Capt 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment
Killed in the Gird Trench S.W. of Ligny-Thilloy
18th October 1916 On his 24th Birthday
from W. A. Warner (Chaplain to the Forces)
V. H. Clay
Day of his death 1
Day of his death_2
The Days before
His brother's dream
My dear Dr. Clay,
You will have heard by now of the death of your gallant son Vivian. I know what a sad blow it will be to you and it is indeed a very sad blow to all of us. However, you have this consolation that he died fighting and encouraging his men to fight. Someone described the fighting of the men who were by his side as magnificent.
The one regret of all of us out here is that he never received any decoration for the Trones Wood fight, when he stood head and shoulders above the others. I hope that, though he is gone , his great services will be suitably acknowledged by the authorities.
His example will never be forgotten; a steady, good Christian, and one of the most modest men one has ever known, respected and admired by all the officers and men of his Regiment. That is how one can sum him up.
Forgive a very hurried line, but we are only just
am with very great sympathy
[Transcriber's note: This letter is undated. The Trones Wood action (8/9th July 1916 ) was where Vivian's first cousin, Robert Richard Clay - then 2/Lt - received his Military Cross - Will Bennet, journalist is recording gallantry awards for the Wiltshire Regiment for WW1. Details of the Trones Wood action can be found in The 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment (99th) by Major W.S.Shepherd M.C. Printed by Gale & Polden Aldershot 1927 pages 84/92. Thanks to Will Bennett and the Redcoats in the Wardrobe www.thewardrobe.org.uk for details of R.R.Clay's M.C. A copy of the Shepherd book is in the possession of the family of the transcriber]