Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Clinton Delacherois Irwin

Clinton Delacherois Irwin : Photograph of Clinton by kind permission of Mr William Adams

Photograph of Clinton by kind permission of Mr William Adams

Clinton Delacherois Irwin : (L to R) Military Cross; 1914 Star with clasp '5th Aug.-22nd Nov. 1914'; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal with 'Mentioned in Despatches' oak leaves

(L to R) Military Cross; 1914 Star with clasp '5th Aug.-22nd Nov. 1914'; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal with 'Mentioned in Despatches' oak leaves

Clinton was born on the 3rd March 1882 in Whittington, Manchester. His father was called Delacherois Hastings and his mother was Nona (or Nora) Louisa. Clinton was their eldest child, his siblings were: Philip Hastings, Patrick Hugh, Una Kathleen, Eileen and Thomas Whitmore Crommelin.

Delacherois was a mechanical engineer who owned his own business. In 1891 the family lived on Woodville Road in Altrincham, Cheshire. They were well enough off to employ 4 domestic servants.

Clinton was educated at Rugby School in Warwickshire. When he left school he decided to become an officer in the Army. He trained at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Manchester Regiment on the 22nd May 1901. He was 5 feet 9 inches tall.

In that year his family lived at 'Heywood' in Weaverham, near Northwich in Cheshire. They now employed 5 servants. Clinton was staying with them when the Census was taken that April.

When he joined the Manchester Regiment Clinton was assigned to the 4th Battalion in Portland, Dorset. They moved to Kinsale in County Cork, Ireland before the end of the year, and then to Cork itself in February 1902. Many of the soldiers serving in the battalion would be sent to other units fighting in the Boer War in South Africa, but Clinton would not. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 22nd March 1902.

Clinton attended several training courses that would help him develop as a leader and ensure his soldiers were as capable as possible. He passed a Musketry course at the Small Arms School in Hythe, Kent during September 1901. At Aldershot in Hampshire Clinton achieved a 1st Class pass on a Gymnastics course during September 1904.

The 4th Battalion moved to Aldershot in October 1905. In February 1906 Clinton obtained a Special Certificate in Signalling. Later that year the 4th Battalion was disbanded and Clinton was transferred to the 2nd Battalion on the Channel Island of Guernsey. They moved to Portsmouth, Hampshire in 1907 and then to Ireland during 1909. They were serving in Mullingar, County Westmeath when Clinton left them on the 26th April 1910.

He had been appointed Adjutant of the 6th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). This was a unit of the Territorial Force based in Skipton, Yorkshire. Its members lived as civilians and trained as soldiers during evening and weekend training sessions. As Adjutant Clinton was the only Regular Army officer in the unit. He was responsible for organising training and administration for the Territorial soldiers, as well as directly managing the other Regular soldiers assigned to the battalion. This job included a Temporary promotion to the rank of Captain.

Soon after Clinton took up his new job he married Everilda Hatt-Cook in Northwich on the 1st June. Their daughter Nancy E. D. was born between January and March 1912 in Skipton.

Clinton served as Adjutant for 3 years. He was promoted to Captain shortly before the end of his time with the 6th Battalion, on the 11th December 1912. He returned to the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in the Curragh Camp, County Kildare, on the 26th April 1913. He attended a Refresher Course at Hythe on the 30th June 1913.

As well as his military duties, during the summer of 1914 Clinton was a member of the 2nd Battalion cricket team, along with Captain Charles Trueman, whose medals are also in the Museum of the Manchester Regiment collection.

The First World War broke out in early August 1914 and the 2nd Battalion was immediately mobilised. It sailed to France on the 16th. Clinton did not go with them; instead he went to the Regimental Depot in Ashton-under-Lyne to oversee the mobilisation of Reservists in the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion. These men served as soldiers for a short period every year, but with the outbreak of war they had been called up. They would join the 2nd Battalion once they had been issued equipment.

By the time Clinton joined them the 2nd Battalion had been involved in heavy fighting and had lost several hundred men, including 350 in their first major battle, at Le Cateau on the 26th August. The Reservists he brought with him will have been most welcome. Charles Trueman was one of the casualties.

Although Clinton crossed to France on the 20th October, we don't believe he actually reached the 2nd Battalion until the 5th November. By this time they were serving around Ypres in Belgium and fighting in what would become known as the First Battle of Ypres.

The 2nd Battalion stayed in the Ypres area over the winter of 1914 and spring of 1915. During April Clinton was taken ill. He had to be evacuated to the UK on the 15th. We don't know what was wrong with him or where he was treated.

Clinton's conduct during this period was recognised when he was Mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette of the 22nd June 1915. He was awarded the Military Cross the next day. There was no citation to his award, so we don't know whether it was awarded for a specific act of bravery or for distinguished service over a period of time.

By October Clinton was well enough to return to duty. He became a Brigade Major in what we believe was the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division on the 11th. This unit was based at Grantham in Lincolnshire. Clinton's job will have been to plan and coordinate training for the soldiers in his Brigade. He held this job until the 10th January 1916.

We don't know what Clinton was doing between then and April 1916. At this time he joined the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment just south of Kut al Amara in Mesopotamia, now called Iraq. He was promoted to Major on the 22nd May and at around the same time became Second in Command of the 1st Battalion. During August Clinton served as Temporary Commanding Officer. Everilda gave birth to the couple's second daughter, Flavia H., in London between October and December 1916.

The British held their positions and did not begin to advance north until January 1917. Shortly after their offensive began, Clinton again took command of the 1st Battalion. This job included a promotion to Temporary Lieutenant Colonel.

Clinton led the 1st Battalion as they took part in the capture of Baghdad during mid March. They then spent the summer of 1917 in reserve near the city. He returned to his former job as Second in Command of the battalion during September. During his time in command Clinton will have worked closely with Frank Adams, who was the battalion Adjutant. Frank's medals are also in the Museum of the Manchester Regiment collection. Frank took this photograph of Clinton, although we don't know exactly where or when.

The 1st Battalion returned to the front in early November to take part in the capture of Tikrit. After this Mesopotamia became a fairly quiet theatre of war, so on the 23rd April the 1st Battalion was moved into what was then known as Palestine to assist British and Imperial forces fighting there. Clinton spent 2 months in this area before he was evacuated back to the UK. He had been taken ill again. The war ended in November 1918.

During 1919 the British Army demobilised hundreds of thousands of soldiers and disbanded many units. The 1st Battalion in Palestine was one of these. It was reformed at Blackdown near Aldershot on the 9th July 1919 and Clinton was one of its members. He served with it for just under a year before being assigned to be Adjutant to the Manchester University Officer Training Corps (OTC) on the 11th March 1920.

Clinton's job with the OTC was very similar to his job with the 6th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) 10 years earlier. The OTC was made up of students at the university who attended military training during evenings and weekends. Clinton will have organised training for them and ensured standards were kept high.

After 4 years Clinton returned to the 1st Battalion, which meant he returned to Guernsey. After just 1 month, though, he retired on the 14th May. He was granted the Honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

We don't know much about Clinton's life after he left the Army. He was appointed to the OTC at Oundle School in Northamptonshire on the 1st July 1924. We don't know what his job was with this unit, but it is likely to have been similar to his role with the Manchester University OTC. A major difference will have been that the Cadets at Oundle were younger.

We don't know how long Clinton spent at Oundle, or what he did after he left. We know he attended a number of Manchester Regiment Reunions during the 1930s. His life after this is a mystery.

In 1957 Clinton and Everilda lived at Silver Bridge in North Chideock, near Lyme Regis in Dorset. He died there on the 10th March, aged 75. He was buried 3 days later in St Giles Parish Church in the village. Everilda continued to live at Silver Bridge. She died on the 11th August 1960 in Sherborne, Dorset. She was 74.

Clinton's brother Thomas had served as a Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) during the First World War. He was wounded during October 1918 and died on the 31st in the London Hospital. He was 22 years old. He is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery near Woking, Surrey. Philip became an officer in the Royal Navy in July 1901, and served until 1920. He reached the rank of Commander, which is the naval equivalent of Clinton's rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Clinton's medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in April 2001.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council