Clive Hulme

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Alfred Clive Hulme
Clive Hulme VC.jpg
Born (1911-01-24)24 January 1911
Dunedin, New Zealand
Died 2 September 1982(1982-09-02) (aged 71)
Te Puke, New Zealand
Allegiance  New Zealand
Service/branch Crest of the New Zealand Army.jpg New Zealand Military Forces
Years of service 1940–43
Rank Warrant Officer
Unit 23rd Battalion

World War II

Awards Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross
Relations Denny Hulme (son)

Alfred Clive Hulme VC (24 January 1911 – 2 September 1982) was a New Zealand recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He received the decoration for his actions during the Battle of Crete in 1941. He was also the father of champion Formula One racing driver Denny Hulme.

Early life[edit]

Alfred Clive Hulme was born in the city of Dunedin, New Zealand, to a clerk and his wife. Known as Clive, he attended Eastern Hutt School. Powerfully built, he was interested in wrestling in his youth. In 1934 he married Rona Marjorie Murcott and the couple were to have two children. In the late 30's, he worked as a farm labourer in Nelson.[1]

Second World War[edit]

A few months after the outbreak of the Second World War, Hulme enlisted in the New Zealand Military Forces for service abroad with the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF). He was posted to the 23rd Battalion. He was 30 years old and a sergeant in the 23rd Battalion, (The Canterbury Regiment) 5th Brigade, 2nd Division, 2NZEF during the Second World War when the actions took place during the Battle of Crete for which he was awarded the VC.

The citation from the London Gazette dated 10 October 1941 reads:

Sergeant Hulme exhibited most outstanding and inspiring qualities of leadership, initiative, skill, endurance, and most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty from the commencement of the heavy fighting in Crete on 20 May 1941, until he was wounded in action 28 May 1941. On ground overlooking Maleme Aerodrome on 20 and 21 May he personally led parties of his men from the area held by the forward position and destroyed enemy organised parties who had established themselves out in front of our position, from which they brought heavy rifle, machine-gun and mortar fire to bear on our defensive posts. Numerous snipers in the area were dealt with by Sergeant Hulme personally; one hundred and thirty dead were counted here. On 22, 23 and 24 May, Sergeant Hulme was continuously going out alone or with one or two men and destroying enemy snipers. On 25 May, when Sergeant Hulme had rejoined his battalion, this unit counter-attacked Galatas Village. The attack was partially held up by a large party of the enemy holding the school, from which they were inflicting heavy casualties on our troops. Sergeant Hulme went forward alone, threw grenades into the school, and so disorganised the defence that the counter-attack was able to proceed successfully.

On Tuesday, 27 May, when our troops were holding a defensive line in Suda Bay during the final retirement, five enemy snipers had worked into position on the hillside overlooking the flank of the battalion line. Sergeant Hulme volunteered to deal with the situation and stalked and killed the snipers in turn. He continued similar work successfully through the day.

On 28 May at Stylos, when an enemy heavy mortar was bombing a very important ridge held by the battalion rearguard troops, inflicting severe casualties, Sergeant Hulme, on his own initiative, penetrated the enemy lines, killed the mortar crew of four, put the mortar out of action, and thus very materially assisted the withdrawal of the main body through Stylos. From the enemy mortar position he then worked onto the left flank and killed three snipers who were causing concern to the rearguard. This made his score of enemy snipers thirty three stalked and shot. Shortly afterwards Sergeant Hulme was severely wounded in the shoulder while stalking another sniper. When ordered to the rear, in spite of his wound, he directed traffic under fire and organised stragglers of various units into section groups.
— The London Gazette, No. 35306, 10 October 1941.[2]

His brother Harold Charles ("Blondie") Hulme, was killed while also fighting in Crete.[3] Hulme's use of an acquired German parachutists' smock during some of his stalking has occasionally been criticised.[4]

The wounds Hulme received on Crete saw him evacuated to New Zealand for treatment and rehabilitation. He was declared medically unfit in February 1942 and discharged from the 2NZEF. However, three months later he was recalled to active duty. He served on the Home Front until September 1943 at which time he was discharged again from the New Zealand Military Forces, having been promoted to warrant officer.[1]

Later life[edit]

After the war he lived at Pongakawa, near Te Puke, running a cartage company and involved with water divining and oil prospecting. His son Denny Hulme won the Formula One World Drivers' Championship in 1967.[1]

Hulme died at Te Puke on 2 September 1982, and was buried in the civilian section of the Dudley-Vercoe Cemetery in the town.

Hulme's grave


Hulme's VC was displayed at the QEII Army Memorial Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand. On 2 December 2007 it was one of nine Victoria Crosses that were among a hundred medals stolen from the museum.[5] On 16 February 2008, New Zealand Police announced all the medals had been recovered as a result of a NZ$300,000 reward offered by Michael Ashcroft and Tom Sturgess.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Taylor, Richard J. "Hulme, Alfred Clive 1911–1982". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "No. 35306". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 October 1941. p. 5936. 
  3. ^ "23 Battalion, Battle of Crete,
  4. ^ "Fury over attack on father's war service", Bay Of Plenty Times
  5. ^ Derek Cheng (December 2007). "Army medal theft 'insult' to our nation's heritage". nzherald. Retrieved 2 December 2007. 
  6. ^ NZPA (February 2008). "Medals stolen from Waiouru Army Museum recovered". nzherald. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 


  • Harper, Glyn; Richardson, Colin (2007). In the Face of the Enemy: The Complete History of the Victoria Cross and New Zealand. Auckland, New Zealand: HarperCollins Publishers (New Zealand). ISBN 1-86950-650-2.