Lest we forget | Nip Clifford

As we commemorate Anzac Day – I’m sharing some local stories to recognise and remember those who sacrificed so much, so we can enjoy what we have today.

William Francis ‘Nip’ Clifford was born on 16 May 1892 at Wallsend NSW, to parents James Clifford, a miner, and Bridget O’Connor. He was known as Nip due to his short stature – he stood at just 5 feet and 6 inches.

Nip enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 19 February 1917 in the 3rd Battalion, 24th Reinforcement.

Nip’s brother, Terence Thomas Clifford, 3rd Battalion, was killed in action on the Western Front on 23 August 1918. He is buried in the Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres.

After the end of the war, Nip enlisted in the AIF Special Service and from 1919 to late 1920, he escorted internees to Germany.

After the war Nip organised boxing tournaments in the Narromine area, and became a very highly thought of boxing promotor and coach. The club he established in Dubbo was “run on strict lines, there will be no danger of junior members learning bad habits, and it will keep the lads off the street”.

In 1936 Nip was the Narromine RSL Sub-Branch’s delegate at the RSL State Congress in Sydney.

Nip also had two periods of service during World War II, from 20 August to 10 June 1941 (Service Number N77307) and 18 June 1941 to 29 July 1942 (Service Number N272272). On 29 July 1942 he received a medical discharge from the 32nd Australian Infantry Training Battalion.

Just 5 months after his discharge, Nip passed away suddenly from a heart attack in Dubbo. He was just 50 years old.

He was accorded a military funeral and buried at the Old Dubbo Cemetery on 28 December 1942 – however today the exact location of his grave is unknown.

On 13 September 2021, Nip’s death was officially acknowledged as being related to his military service. An official memorial plaque has been erected in the NSW Garden of Remembrance at Rookwood Cemetery.

*contributed by Patrick Bourke, Royal Australian Historical Society

Commemorating those who served, and remembering those who died … Lest we forget.

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