South African Memorial Plaque, World War 2, C303447 Gunner F.G. Clayton, Cape Corps, South African Forces, Killed in Action on 20th June 1942 in Egypt.
These 2 pieces are usually affixed to a wooden stand which is missing, the reverse screws and nuts are still there.
The plaques distinguish the cause of death on the bottom scroll section, this one reads:
“KILLED IN ACTION – WORLD WAR 1939 1945
C303447 GNR F.G. CLAYTON C.C.
GESNEUWEL – WEREDOORLOG”
The bottom featuring the same as above but translated into Afrikaans.
Private F.G. Clayton was part of the Cape Corps, South African Forces in World War 2.
He went missing and never found, being declared as killed in action on 20th June 1942.
He was the son of Frederick G Clayton and Martha L. Clayton.
He left behind his wife Jane Clayton.
As his body was never found, he is now commemorated on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt, Column 153.
The Cape Corps, was primarily a regiment for so called “Coloured” South Africans to serve in the war, judging from his name it appears that Gunner Clayton was a white man in the corps.
The “Fall of Tobruk” or Axis Capture of Tobruk happened between 17-21 June 1942, a number of Cape Corps men were taken as Prisoners of War following the surrender.
The date of his death, 20th June 1942, would suggest he was Killed in the fighting.
ON 21st June 1942, two complete Infantry Brigades of the South African 2nd Infantry Division, along with their supporting units were captured during the fall of Tobruk.
The following extract from THE CAPE COLOURED CORPS AND THE EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
OF THE COLOURED PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA 1795-1977 by WILLIE RAYMOND HOODS B.A., BEd., M.Ed.
“By April 1942, the number of N.M.C. and Cape Corps men employed with the Union Defence Force and the South African Air Force Units, stood at over 28 000. This was the largest number of non-Whites ever to serve with the South African Forces in the Middle East and Central Mediterranean Forces during the war.
With the tragic reverse suffered by the Allied Forces at the fall of Tobruk in June 1942, the need for more Cape Corps MT Coys became even more vital as about one third of the Allied Transport Units had been lost in the retreat. The fall of Tobruk was a sad and hard blow to the U.D.F. Of the total 10 722 Allied Force members killed, 380 were members of the Cape Corps.”