Claud Castleton

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Claud Charles Castleton
Portrait of 1352 Sergeant Claud Charles Castleton, 5th Company, Australian Machine Gun Corps
Born (1893-04-12)12 April 1893
Kirkey, Lowestoft
Died 29 July 1916(1916-07-29) (aged 23)
Pozières, France
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1915–1916
Rank Sergeant
Unit 5th Machine Gun Company, 5th Brigade, 2nd Division
Battles/wars

World War I

Awards Victoria Cross
Photo by Terry Macdonald

Claud Charles Castleton VC (12 April 1893 – 29 July 1916) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early life[edit]

Claud Castleton was born in Kirkey, Lowestoft. Educated at a council school, he won a scholarship to the grammar school. In 1912 he set off on a long adventure, stopping first at Melbourne, Australia. He worked in various parts of Australia before heading to New Guinea, intending to earn funds for the return journey to England via New Zealand, India and Africa. Matters changed with the outbreak of the First World War; he joined the Australian force formed in New Guinea for the defence of the area in the face of German warship activities.

World War I[edit]

In March 1915 Castleton returned to Sydney and enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. He subsequently served at Gallipoli, where he earned promotion. He was 23 years old, and a Sergeant in the 5th Machine Gun Company, 5th Brigade, 2nd Division when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.[1]

On the night of the 28/29 July 1916 near Pozières, France, during a night attack the infantry was temporarily driven back by the intense machine-gun fire from the enemy trenches. Many wounded were left in "No Man's Land" lying in shell holes. Sergeant Castleton went out twice in the face of this intense fire, and each time brought in a wounded man on his back. He went out a third time and was bringing in another wounded man when he was himself hit in the back and killed instantly.

Castleton is buried at Pozières British Military Cemetery, Somme, France, 3 miles NE of Albert (Plot IV, Row L, Grave 43).

Legacy[edit]

Castleton's Victoria Cross is displayed at the Australian War Memorial (Canberra, Australia). Castleton Crescent in the Canberra suburb of Gowrie was named in his honour.[2] There is a brass plaque to him at the former South Cliff Congregational Church, now St Nicholas's Catholic Church, in south Lowestoft.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wigmore 1986, p. 48.
  2. ^ Castleton Crescent, ACT placenames, www.actpla.act.gov.au
  3. ^ [1] Suffolk Churches site

References[edit]

External links[edit]