Captain P. Benjamin Beattie Clegg

 

Unit : "B" Company, 10th Parachute Battalion

Army No. : 226920

Awards : Bar to Military Cross

 

On the afternoon of 19th September 1944 at Arnhem, Captain Clegg took over command of B Company, 10th Battalion. By then only one Subaltern Officer was left. Almost immediately he had to conduct a very difficult disengaging action across a very exposed piece of ground which was covered by Machine Gun and Mortar fire. Captain Clegg by his personal example and leadership and complete disregard of all personal danger managed to withdraw his Company in good order and with a minimum of casualties.

 

As dusk the same day the enemy launched a very strong attack against 10th Battalion's new positions, and before the Battalion had time to dig in properly. It was largely due to Captain Clegg's example in moving from section to section, particularly where the fighting was fiercest, and encouraging the men to greater efforts, that the enemy was unable to break through.

 

Again, in the late morning of the 20th September, Captain Clegg led his Company in a most spirited bayonet attack in the final stages of which he personally attacked and destroyed a German Machine Gun post.

 

In the late afternoon the Battalion, now sorely depleted in strength, was ordered to attack and capture a cross-roads held by the enemy on the Divisional perimeter at Oosterbeek. To secure these cross-roads it was necessary to clear eight houses and their gardens. Captain Clegg personally led the assault on and cleared three of these houses against bitter opposition from the enemy. In the third house he was very seriously wounded in the jaw by Machine Gun fire but insisted on carrying on until all the enemy were exterminated, and the three houses cleared and organised in a state of defence. During this time he was losing a great deal of blood and was in great pain. He finally consented to have his wounds dressed and had just handed over his Company to the senior Sergeant when he collapsed.

 

From the time he landed until he collapsed Captain Clegg, in this period of very bitter and confused fighting, carried out his duties in an exemplary manner. The leadership of this very gallant officer was outstanding with his own personal courage and complete disregard of danger an inspiration and example to all his men.

 

Years later, Clegg wrote of Arnhem, "I remember more than anything the tiredness - almost to the point that being killed would be worth it."

 

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