THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT
CLIFTON George Herbert
31363, Lieutenant Colonel, New Zealand Engineers

CITATION
Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 26 December 1941 Issue 35396, p7334
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the operations in Greece between 10th March and 29th April 1941 and especially for his
untiring efforts during the withdrawal from Katerine and Servia Passes on the 16th April and succeeding days. Colonel Clifton was responsible for
the demolition policy during the withdrawal of the ANZAC Corps. The success of these operations to a great extent depended on the work carried
out by this officer which was of a very high order. Later when explosives were not available, he scoured the country and finally discovered depth
charges in a wrecked Greek destroyer and carried out demolitions right up to the line of the beaches in the Peloponessus. The work of this officer
was excellent. He displayed energy and ability which was an inspiration to everyone with whom he came in contact

Bar to the Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 20 February 1942 Supplement 35465, p893
For conspicuous gallantry, outstanding leadership and initiative. On 28/29 November 1941 Colonel Clifton volunteered to lead a convoy of 250
vehicles for some 25 miles through enemy lines, from the Gabr Saleh area. The convoy carried supplies, pol, water and ammunition for 1 NZ
Division, and it was vital that it should get through to Tobruk. That the convoy reached its destination safely in spite of the fact that it had to travel
through country in occupation by the enemy, was due to Colonel Clifton’s personality and example, which inspired confidence in the drivers, all of
whom showed marked coolness and fortitude when fired on by the enemy

2nd bar to the Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 18 September 1945 Supplement 37274, p4684
On the 4th September 1942, Brigadier Clifton accompanied by another officer, a wireless and a driver was investigating a forward detachment near Alamein when he was taken prisoner by enemy commanded by a German officer. After being interrogated by Field Marshall Rommel, he was driven away in a truck. Taking advantage of the dust, he rolled out but was seen by a guard. The next day he escaped from a camp at Metren by climbing through a small window. He walked for six days and was only 10 miles from British lines when he was caught by three German officers. He was then sent to Veano in Italy but during February 1943, he again escaped through a window. He reached the Swiss frontier before he was caught and after receiving his punishment at Veano was sent to Gavi. Although it was deemed impossible to escape from Gavi, Brigadier Clifton attempted to do so in April 1943 and was caught on the roof. The plans Brigadier Clifton had perfected to evacuate all prisoners of war at the time of the Italian Armistice were frustrated by the treachery of the Italian Commandant, and the Germans were allowed to occupy the camp without opposition. Feverish efforts were made to open up a disused tunnel but before this work could be completed the Germans began to transfer the prisoners of war to Germany. Many officers hid, including Brigadier Clifton. However their absence was detected, a search commenced and the majority were discovered. On the 16th September 1943, Brigadier Clifton was taken to Germany. After the train had turned north at Ausburg, Brigadier Clifton jumped out of a window, but was seen by the engine driver who raised the alarm. He was apprehended by an NCO who shot at close range, smashing Brigadier Clifton’s thigh bone and it was some months before he could walk again. In March 1945 Brigadier Clifton was at Oflag XII B, and taking advantage of an air attack he escaped through the wire on the 22nd March. Although his route lay through a forbidden zone, he walked for four days and three nights until he was just behind the German lines near Weis. He hid until the enemy retreated during the night and reported to an American unit next morning

Military Cross
Gazetted
Awarded for service in Waziristan during Northwest Frontier service 1919-1921

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted


AWARDS
Distinguished Service Order and 2 bars
Military Cross
India General Service Medal 1908
       Waziristan, Mahsud 1919-20
1939-45 Star
Africa Star
France and Germany Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
       Mention in Despatches
NZ War Service Medal
New Zealand Operational Service Medal
New Zealand Service Medal 1946-49
Coronation Medal 1953
NZ Long and Efficient Service Medal
New Zealand Defence Service Medal

NOTES
Born 18 September 1898, Greenmeadows, Napier, New Zealand
Died 13 March 1970, Taupo, New Zealand