Clifford Bree

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Jersey's Great War heroes:

Clifford Bree


Military Medal winning postman Clifford Bree

This is one of a number of articles published by the Jersey Evening Post on 10 November 2018, the day before the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War. They tell the stories of a number of Jerseymen and Jerseywomen who were distinguished by their bravery during the war. Some survived to recount their own experiences, others perished in the conflict and never saw their native island again.

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Clifford Bree was awarded the Military Medal for bravery under fire after treating hundreds of injured soldiers on the front line over the course of the war. The eldest of seven children, he was born in Jersey in 1895 and brought up in the island.

Merseyside training

As an 18-year-old he joined the Great Western Railway as a cashier and in 1914 he was sent to the Birkenhead office in Merseyside for training.

He was originally drafted into the Army as a soldier and it was only after a visit from his father, a strict Methodist, that he was persuaded to transfer to the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was sent to Blackpool for basic medical training before 63rd Field Ambulance was deployed as part of the West Lancashire division to the French battlefields.

During his years of service in the Medical Corps he came to the aid of troops at the Somme, Ypres, Cambrai and Arras.

Shell explosion

In 1917 at Ypres his division was hit by an exploding gas shell, which resulted in the deaths of ten of his fellow stretcher-bearers and one officer. He discarded his gas mask to treat the wounded more easily and, as a result, he lost his senses of smell and taste, which he never regained.

Later in the same battle he volunteered to run across no-man's-land under constant machine-gun and sniper fire, and it was for this brave action that he received the Military Medal at the end of the war.

After being demobbed in 1919 he returned to Birkenhead, before going on to work in Manchester and Hull. He came back to Jersey with his wife Ida in 1929 and was presented with a gold watch by the States for his war service.

Family tree


Clifford Bree's family tree

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