William Hew Clark-Kennedy VC CMG DSO

b. 03/03/1879 Dunskey, Kirkcudbrightshire,Scotland. d. 25/10/1961 Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

William Hew Clark-Kennedy (1879-1961) was the son of Alexander William Maxwell Clark-Kennedy, landed proprietor,  formerly a Captain in the Coldstream Guards, and the Honourable Lettice Lucy   Hewitt Clark-Kennedy, of  Dunskey  House, Portpatrick, Kircudbrightshire.   His  siblings  were  John,  Lettice,  Leopold, Alice, Alexander  and Archibald., and was born on March 3rd, 1879. His parents rented a house there, and the family home was actually at Knockgray, Carsphairn, Galloway, and included a house and farm estate. His grandfather had been decorated in the field for his actions during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Two of his brothers, Alexander and Archibald were both killed in action during the Great War.

William H Clark-Kennedy VC CMG DSO

After service with the British Army in the South African War, he came to Canada in 1902, where he worked for an insurance company.

Clark-Kennedy joined the Royal Highlanders of Canada in 1914, and during the First World War rose to command the 24th Infantry Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. Lieutenant-Colonel Clarke-Kennedy was four times mentioned in dispatches, received the Distinguished Service Order and bar, was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael & St George, and was awarded the Croix de Guerre by France.

Lieutenant-Colonel Clark-Kennedy received the Victoria Cross for his conduct in the Battle of Arras on 27th and 28th August 1918. Over the course of those two days, his battalion suffered numerous casualties near Wancourt in France as it strove to advance through heavy artillery and machine gun fire. In the face of such strong enemy resistance, Clark-Kennedy led his men forward to eliminate machine gun positions preventing the progress of the offensive.

This enabled the entire brigade to reach the Fresnes-Rouvray line. Though wounded, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark-Kennedy remained in command of his battalion until its objective was consolidated.

Clark-Kennedy was presented with his VC, CMG, and a Bar to his DSO in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace on 1st March 1919 by King George V. He returned to Canada after the war. He died on 25th October 1961 in Montreal, Quebec, survived by two of his sons, who both later became Lieutenant Colonels. He was buried in Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal. His medal group including the VC, CMG, DSO and Bar, 1914-15 Starr, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, King George VI Coronation Medal 1937, Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953, Efficiency Decoration, and a Croix de Guerre (France), are held privately in the family.





Bill Mullen – Image of Clark-Kennedy VC’s grave

Dougie Campbell MSP – Image of Clark-Kennedy’s VC stone.

Brian Drummond – images of the Freemason’s Memorial, London and the Clark-Kennedy VC Board in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.