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Henry Clissold


Major Henry Clissold  28th September 1917

He was born on 12th February 1871 in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire; his father, William George, owned Nailsworth Brewery and his mother Julia died in the late 1880s. He was educated at Wycliffe College , Stonehouse and Clifton College  from 1885 to 1889, and at Trinity College Cambridge, where he took a first-class degree in Natural Sciences, from 1889 to 1893. He became an assistant master at Marlborough College  in 1893 and then at Clifton College in 1894, joined Clifton RFC in 1894-95 and was made Captain in 1900-01.


Above an advert for the Clissold family business, The brewery was bought and deliberateley closed down by Cheltenham Brewery to stop their rival, Stroud Brewery, from acquiring it.


Above Clifton XV of 1902-03 Back Row (L-R): H. Clissold, A.J. Gardner, ?, ?, J.H. Inskip, V. Green-Armytage. Sitting; ?, H.B.F. Bingham, Mr H.W. Beloe, F.J. Hannam, E.F. Eberle. On Ground: Claude Watkins Baker, D.A. Clark

Harry taught at Clifton College  until the outbreak of war, when he was given leave of absence to train a field company of Engineers. He went to the Front in April 1915.


In July 1917 the Royal Engineers moved northwards to take part in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, which began on 31st July and continued for three months. They remained in this area until the early part of October and sustained heavy casualties. He was killed sheltering in a dug-out when a heavy shell came through the roof and exploded inside on 28th September 1917.

His death was announced in The Times on October 5th 1917 and said

MAJOR HENRY CLISSOLD, D.S.O., R.E., aged 44, was the eldest son of the late W.G.Clissold, of Nailsworth, Glos. From Clifton College , where he held an entrance scholarship and a leaving exhibition, he went up in 1889 to Trinity, Cambridge , with an exhibition, afterwards increased to a scholarship. He took a First Class in the Natural Science Tripos, and after taking his degree held a mastership for a year at Marlborough . In 1894 he returned to Clifton , and in 1912 he became a house-master. At the beginning of the war he was given leave of absence in order that he might train a field company of Engineers, and since April, 1915, he had been serving at the front. A friend writes :- "A brilliant man of science and mathematician, a most inspiring teacher, and devoted to his profession, his tastes were yet catholic. Literature, music, flowers, travel, football- all were dear to him, and above all his charms might be placed his invincible good temper and optimism, and the wit and sparkle of his talk. He always worked entusiastically for the Clifton O.T.C., a body of R.E.'s, and for some years was in command. In December, 1916, he was awarded the D.S.O., and he had twice been mentioned in dispatches. On September 28 he was sheltering in a dug-out when a heavy shell came through the roof and exploded inside." The C.R.E. of his division writes :- "I have had the greatest admiration for his splendid character, his gallantry, and his unquenchable spirit. He will live in my memory as the ideal of what a soldier should be."

Harry Clissold  is buried at Duhallow A.D.S. Cemetery , Ypres .


Harry Clissold is included in the World War 1 Memorial chapter of For College, Club & Country A History of Clifton Rugby Football Club, printed by MX Publishing in 2009. ISBN 9781904312758



Patrick Casey, 2010
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