CLARKE, George

26126, Private, George CLARKE
Aged 32

95th Coy., Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
formerly 16297, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 8th November 1917

George CLARKE was born in Balsham on 13th September 1884 (Linton Linton Q4-1884 3B:523), son of Emma Clarke, grandson of William and Mary CLARKE. Brother Fred and sister Ellen' birth registrations cannot be identified. There is a baptism of Freddy CLARKE in Balsham 15th September 1878 with spinster mother Eliza ?. Also 18 August 1878 Ellen Clarke was baptised, mother, spinster Eliza ?. George's birth certificate has mother as Emma CLARKE. Ellen apparently died in 1901 and Freddy in 1905. With grandfather William dying in 1895 it may explain why the children were brought up by their uncles and aunt.

1891 census...Aged 3,he was at Back Lane, Balsham with his grandfather William CLARKE [62] farm labourer; grandmother Mary [61] born Horseheath; uncles James [32], Harry [28], Arthur [21] and (Aunt or Mother) Emma [23]; brother Fred [14] and sister Ellen [12]. All except his grandmother were born in Balsham. By the 1881 census his brother and sister were already living with the grandparents at Back Lane, Balsham.

1901 census...Aged 16, farm labourer, he was at High Street, Balsham with his uncles Harry and Arthur, (aunt or mother) Emma was the housekeeper; brother Fred (farm labourer) and sister Ellen.

1911 census...He has not been identified in this census. Possibly he had joined the Army, albeit he denied this when enlisting in 1914

He enlisted in Linton on 9th November 1914, in the Suffolk Regiment, giving his age as 29 years 3 months. He was 5 feet 5.75 inches (169.6 cm) tall, chest 35.5 to 37.75 inches (90.2 to 95.9 cm) and weighed 147 lb (66.9 kg). Light grey eyes, brown hair, he was Church of England, next of kin, his uncle Arthur Clarke, West Wickham Road, Balsham.
Initially in the 11th battalion he was transferred to the 13th (Reserve) battalion in September 1915 before being transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on 5th July 1916
Embarked Folkestone for Boulogne on 18th June 1916, joining Base Depot for the B.E.F. on 19th and proceeding to 20th Company on 5th July 1916. He was admitted to hospital (PUO- pryrexia unknown origin- Army for unknown fever) on 7th August, rejoining his unit on 16th.
Wounded on 5th September 1916, admitted to 9 General Hospital, Rouen on 7th, 2 Convalescent Unit, Rouen 12th and Base at Carmiers on 15th before rejoining his unit on 18th September 1916. Transferred to 13 Coy on 16th April 1917, he was quickly moved to 95th Company. Hospitalised on 30th May with foot boil, he rejoined his unit one month later, then enjoyed UK leave from 26th July to 5th August.
Killed in action on 8th November 1917, his effects were sent to his Uncle Arthur at West Wickham Rosd, Balsham, his medals to aunt Ann AMPS at 26 Boundary Place, City Road, Cambridge.

The HQ of the Machine Gun Corps at Folkestone was completely destroyed by fire in 1920 so there is very little on record about them. George died around the end of the 2nd battle of Passchendaele, the 95th Coy M.G.C. (5th Division) being in action there. Harry Griffin from Twyford, Berks died with him.

George Clarke is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, panels 154-159 and 163A

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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