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April 17, 1915(1915-04-17) – May 31, 2009 (aged 94)
Martin Clemens.jpg
Martin Clemens and his Solomon scouts
Nickname Martin Clemens
Allegiance  United Kingdom
 Australia
Rank Major

Major Warren Frederick Martin Clemens CBE, MC, OAM ( 17 April 1915 - 31 May 2009) was a British colonial administrator and soldier.

Contents

Early life

Clemens was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. He won scholarships to Bedford School and Christ's College, Cambridge where he studied agriculture and natural sciences from 1933-1937.[1]

Career

In 1938 he joined the Colonial Service where he was sent out to the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP). He served for three years in Malaita, and became a District Officer in 1941. With the coming of the Pacific War, Clemens volunteered for military service in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force and was commissioned a Captain. After a short leave in Australia, Martin Clemens came on an evacuation ship to evacuate British and Chinese to Guadalcanal.

District Officer Clemens was placed as a coastwatcher. He was responsible for nearly fifteen thousand citizens and various other people on the island. The Japanese planned to cut off United States communications with New Zealand and Australia by attacking Guadalcanal. The managers of the coconut plantations had fled Guadalcanal in panic, abandoning the native workers from neighboring islands, who were left to be returned by Clemens. He then established his radio station and coastwatching activities. Though he was a commissioned officer, he cared nothing from the military and had no uniform. A likely catch for the Japanese, who had in early May occupied Tulagi, and in June had commenced the construction of an airfield on Guadalcanal, further isolating Clemens and his activities and forcing him to conduct them from enclaves in the mountains. A barefoot Clemens on his jungle shielded mountain played hide and seek with the Japanese. He was running low on food, supplies, power for his radio and shoes as his had disintegrated.

Guadalcanal became the site of a first major offensive against the Japanese in the South Pacific. Upon the American invasion of Guadalcanal, Clemens and his BSIP Police made contact with the surprised Marines when they marched to the American positions carrying the Union Flag. Cooperation between Clemens and the U.S. Marines made him a key operative on the island. Clemens and his scouts helped the U.S. Marines much with continuous raids on Japanese supplies and radio reports of the enemy's position. His efforts to help the war earned him the Legion of Merit by the U.S., the Military Cross (MC) by the UK, an Order of Australia medal.

Following the war he served in Palestine from 1946-7, Cyprus from 1948-9 returning in 1951-7 as District Commissioner and 1959-60 as Defence Secretary. Offered a position in Burma, he moved to Australia the home of his wife. His later colonial career led to his appointment as Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Personal life

Clemens became an Australian citizen in 1961 and was involved in many charity groups. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1993.

In popular culture

He has also been featured in the video game Medal of Honor: Rising Sun.

Notes

  1. ^ [1]

Memoir

  • Clemens, Martin (2004 (reissue)). Alone on Guadalcanal: A Coastwatcher's Story. Bluejacket Books. ISBN 1-59114-124-9.  

External links

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