CLARKE, Thomas [M.M.]

No.40730, Lance Corporal, Thomas CLARKE M.M.
Aged 21

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly 3416, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 30th August 1918

Thomas Clarke was born in Kedington (Risbridge Q3-1896 4A:757), son of George and Eliza CLARKE (née CLAYDON ? ). He can be variously Clark or Clarke

1901 census...Aged 4, he was at Ruse's Farm, Calford Green, Sturmer Road, Kedington with his father George CLARK [45] a horsekeeper born Stoke by Clare; his mother Eliza [43] born Stoke by Clare; brothers Samuel [21] horseman, born Stoke by Clare, Harry [15] stock man and Benjamin [6] both born Kedington; sisters (all born in Kedington) Kate [11], Annie [10] and Martha [8].

His father died in 1903.

1911 census...Aged 14, a stock man, he was still at Ruse's Farm with his widowed mother; brothers Samuel and Harry (both horsekeepers) and Benjamin (farm labourer); sisters Ruth [23] born Kedington) and Martha.

CWGC have the address as Kings Hill, Kedington

His brother Benjamin CLARKE was killed serving in France in the Sherwood Foresters in 1916 see here

He enlisted in Kedington. The South West Suffolk Echo of 12th June 1915 recorded that Thomas joined the 5th Suffolk, and further reported on 29th July 1918 that he had been awarded the Military Medal.

2nd Battalion war diary :-
30th August- 5:0 am the 76th BDE attacked ECOUST. The objective was reached with slight casualties but owing to the battalion being unable to secure its flanks it had to fall back to the line of ECOUST TRENCH at about 11am.
Reinforcements Lt NE Cooper 2 Lts A Lockwood, AL Baldwin AW Hardy.
On the night of 30/31st the battalion was relieved by the 13th KINGS LIVERPOOL and came back to the line MORY SWITCH-HALLEY AVENUE between MORY and ST LEGER.

No mention there of the 200 plus casualties, including 50 men killed. (Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment"). Thomas rests with 37 of his chums in Ecoust St Mein British Cemetery, 4 more are in nearby H.A.C. Cemetery, 3 in other cemeteries and 6 more have no known grave.

photo: Rodney Gibson

Thomas Clarke M.M. is buried in Ecoust St Mein British Cemetery, grave D:57

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

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