CLARKE, Bernard

No.6745, Private, Bernard CLARKE
Aged 32

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on 18th June 1917

Bernard Clarke was born in Tostock (1st qtr 1885 Stow 4a:747), son of Samuel and Anna Eliza CLARKE (née MURTON). His age is recorded wrongly by CWGC

1891 census...Aged 6, he was at The Green, Tostock with his father Samuel CLARKE [50] labourer; his mother Ann E [39]; brothers Harry [17] labourer, Ernest [14], Samuel [13], Arthur [11], Edlen (Reginald)[10] and Walter [2]; sisters Ethel [7] and Lily [3]. All were born in Tostock

1901 census...Aged 16, farm servant, he was at Coterill Farm, Terrington with Wiganthorpe. Yorks with farmer John SWANN and his wife Alice. His parents were still at Tostock Green with Harry, Arthur, Reginald, Walter and Cedric [10], Lily and Beatrice [6]

1911 census...Aged 26, he was a Private in the 2nd Suffolks at Aldershot. His parents were still at Tostock Green with Lily, Walter, Cedric and Beatrice.

He married Elsie S COUSINS in 1915(Chesterton). Their son Victor Francis Percival CLARKE was born on 27th January 1917 at London Road, Trumpngton.

The pension card has his mother at "Honeysuckle Cottage", Tostock Green. He is added to his brother's card, but strangely there is no card for him recording his widow. CWGC have her at London Road, Trumpngton.

His brother Walter was killed in 1915 see here

He enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds.

From Lt.Col. Murphy's book "The History of the Suffolk Regiment" :-
The Battalion were in trenches near Monchy-le-Preux. On 14th June at 7:30 am they launched an attack on INFANTRY Hill and within an hour had captured HOOK Trench and an hour later had taken the remainder of the trench system on the hill. After a certain slackening in the situation the enemy counter-attacked at about 5 in the evening., the garrisons of HOOK, TOOL and LONG trenches being subjected to a violent bombardment. The Germans succeeded in getting almost up to the parapet of HOOK before being finally checked. In helping to repel this counter-attack the 529th Company, Royal Engineers lost half their strength. Day broke, enabling great losses to be inflicted on the Germans as they fled from one shell hole to another. The casualties in the Battalion between 13th and 18th June amounted to 250.

Daily losses were not always possible to confirm in the heat of battle but the deaths recorded by CWGC on the last day (18th) were 46 of which only four have a known grave.

photo CWGC

Bernard Clarke is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Faubourg d'Amiens bay 4

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