Arthur Ross CLAYTON


Guernsey Number:
Career: 1897 to 1898
NFC Games:
NFC Goals:


Tall and imposing, Arthur Clayton squeezed in some senior football with Norwood before graduating as a doctor who, in World War I, would rise to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and earn the Distinguished Service Order.

Arthur was born at Yankalilla on 14 May 1876, the son of John Clayton, storekeeper, and his wife Elizabeth, née Cornish.  He was a member of the St Peter’s College team which vanquished Prince Alfred College 6.8 to nil in their annual football match in 1896.  A year later he kicked two goals with Norwood.  At the start of the 1898 season he was a member of the Norwood team which walloped West Adelaide 14.19 to 3.0 in the first match played at the Jubilee Oval.

Arthur graduated in medicine at the University of Adelaide in 1903 and after picking up post-graduate degrees in London in 1905, settled in Moonta as a general practitioner in 1907, surgeon to the Moonta Mining & Smelting Co in 1908 and medical officer for Moonta in 1909.  Three years later he was commissioned in the Australian Army Medical Corps and before the outbreak of World War I was regimental medical officer to the 24th Light Horse.

On 10 September 1915 he joined the Australian Imperial Force as a captain and served in military hospitals in Heliopolis, Egypt.  From August 1916, as a member of the 12th Field Ambulance in France, he dealt with casualties from the battles of Pozières and Mouquet Farm.  Promoted to major, he transferred to the 8th Field Ambulance and was acting commander of the 5th Division’s main dressing stations during the battles of Bullecourt.  He retained command from early in 1918 at the Somme until the Armistice, except for a period in April-May after he was slightly wounded.  Awarded the DSO in June and confirmed as a lieutenant-colonel in November, he was from April 1919 commanding officer of the AIF’s field ambulances in Belgium before  returning to Australia in August.

Discharged in December, he returned to medical practice in Moonta and married Nellie Harbison at St Mary’s Anglican Church, Wallaroo, on 12 September 1922.  He was Mayor of the Moonta Corporation in 1924-26 and 1939-40, a warden of the Anglican Church and a Freemason.  He served as president of a host of local sporting organisations, including the Yorke Peninsula Football Association for terms before and after the war.

Arthur Clayton was 87 when he died on 2 September 1963. His wife predeceased him.  There were no children

P Robins June 2019

Reference :William A. Land, 'Clayton, Arthur Ross (1876–1963)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 30 June 2019.

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