CLARKE, George

No.16014, Private, George CLARKE
Aged 26

7th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 30th November 1917

George Clarke was born in Isleham on 14th July 1891 (Newmarket Q3-1891 3B:515) baptised in Isleham on 30th August 1891, the son of Robert and Emma CLARKE (née LOCK ).

1901 census...Aged 9, he was at The Hall Cottage, Isleham with his father Robert CLARKE [38] farm labourer; His mother Emma[34] born Mildenhall, sisters Mabel [11] and Jessie [5] and brother Harold [3]. With the exception of his mother, all were born in Isleham.

1911 census...Aged 19, a grocer's assistant, he was at 88-90 Wilford Road, Nottingham lodging with Thomas CORBY [42] grocer, and Harriet JARRATT [46] housekeeper. His parents were still at Hall Cottage, Isleham with brother Harold and sister Jessie Gladys.

His parents and brother Harold were still at Hall Cottage on 18th September, but sister Mabel was now Mrs Lambert in Freckenham and sister Jessie was Mrs Webber in West Row.

He enlisted in Kingston upon Thames, attested at Norwood on 10th November 1915 for the 11th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
He was 24 years 4 months, a grocer, 5'6" (167.6 cm) tall, weighing 126 lbs (57.3 kg), chest 35"-37" (88.9 to 94 cm), scar on left knee. Posted to 11th Battalion, he was transferred to 12th Bn. on 8th January 1916 and with them in France on 1st May 1916. Promoted Lance Corporal on 22nd June 1916, he reverted at his own request to Private on 2nd July 1916. Wounded on 6th June 1917, he was posted back to England on 9th June 1917. On arrival at Duke of Connaught Red Cross Hospital, Taplow, Bucks it was recorded that his gunshot wound to the scalp was minor, had almost healed . 41 days in hospital, forwarded to Eastbourne and then on leave from 8th to 17th August. Posted back to France on 1st November 1917.
He had been shuffled around the battalions, 3rd, 9th and finally ended up in the 7th, and was posted missing in action on 30th November, presumed dead.

When the British offensive at Cambrai in November 1917 ground to a halt, the Germans counter attacked on 30th November. The German plan was simply to cut off the salient by attacking on each side, with the strongest blow to come on the southern side. The blow fell at 7.30am on the 30th November, and was very fast and effective. By 9am, the Germans had penetrated almost 3 miles towards Havrincourt Wood. 63 men were killed from George's battalion that day, and none has a known grave, all are commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial.

photo courtesy Vernon Place

George Clarke is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France - panel 6

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