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Old 07-04-14, 20:06
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Default Week 1 - Clifford Stanley Clark

Clifford was the only brother of my maternal grandfather.

He was born on Valentine's Day 1898 at Winscombe, Somerset, the last child of Henry Robert Clark, schoolmaster at nearby Sidcot School (a Quaker boarding school) and Mary Louisa née Buck.

Clifford was brought up in the Quaker Faith and was educated at Sidcot School, as were all his siblings.

At the start of 1916 Clifford left school and became an articled clerk to a chartered accountant (I don't know where).

In Bristol on 6th June 1916 aged 18 years and 4 months he enlisted as a Private in the Somerset Light Infantry (regimental number 35818).

On 2nd July 1916 Clifford applied for a temporary commission in the regular army and was admitted to the Bristol University Officer Training Corps.
The paperwork for this transfer is signed by Clifford's father as he was still a minor and also by the headmaster of his school, Bevan Lean, who certified to Clifford's good moral character over the past four and a half years. Both these men strongly opposed warfare (being Quakers and pacifists), but believed any man should make his own decision whether to fight or not.

Clifford was transferred to Topsham Barracks, Exeter on 20th February 1917 for Officer Cadet Training.

He was formerly discharged from the Somerset LI on 9th June 1917 and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery 465th Battery, 65th Brigade (Special Reserves) the following day.

On 2nd August 1917 he was posted to France.


The London Gazette of 26 July 1918 reported that Clifford had been awarded the Military Cross:

Quote:
2nd Lt. Clifford Stanley Clark, R.F.A., Spec. Res.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When in charge of a gun at a forward position placed there to command points whence the enemy would debouch, he maintained his gun in action with great spirit until all his ammunition was expended, when he skilfully withdrew.
When the war ended Clifford was transferred to the Army of occupation in Germany.

We have a letter written by Clifford to his sister in England dated 20th May 1919 in which he complains of the extremely hot weather and says he and many other soldiers are sleeping outside because of the conditions.

A telegram was later sent to Clifford's parents:

Quote:
31 5 19
Request no. 36 casualty clearing station reports May thirtieth Lieut CS Clark MC 465 Bty 65 Bde dangerously ill pneumonia further news sent immediately received visit not possible

From: secretary war office
In fact when this telegram was written, Clifford was already dead.

The following day they sent another:

Quote:
Deeply regret at 36 casualty clearing station refer to Lieut C S Clark MC RFA 465 Bty 65 Bde died of ?? pneumonia at 5pm on May thirtieth the Army ???? express sympathy.

From: secretary war office
On 3rd June 1919 Clifford's mother wrote to her sister.....(extract below)

Quote:
My dear Sophie,

Our dear Boy passed quietly away on 30th at 5pm, before it was possible for us to hear of his illness....... The sad news came this morning - two letters written on the same day by the Matron - a most kind account of the dear one's illness. They all loved him in Hospital and every care was taken to pull him through. He was never left by day or night and the last words dear Clifford said were, "Are Father, Mother and sisters safe?" ...........Clifford will be buried in the cemetery near the hospital..........I cannot tell you how we feel........I hope Grandma will help him over the river......Your loving Sister
Clifford was buried at the Sulz Cemetery, Cologne (now Cologne Southern Cemetery) Grave ref I. F. 24 (originally numbered as grave 116)

This photo was taken soon after:


Later a permanent memorial was erected:


On 7th August 1919 Clifford's personal effects were returned to his family:

Pocket watch with photos etc
Wrist watch
Nail file
Writing pad
Cigarette case (leather)
Fountain pen
Pencil
1 Key

This is a link to the Winscombe War Memorial site. It had never occurred to me to check whether Clifford was included as he died after the war ended and not of wounds etc. But his name is there, second in the first column.
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Old 07-04-14, 20:10
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I would like to try and find out where Clifford was between the time he was posted abroad (Aug 1917) and the end of the war, but I don't know how to go about it.
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Old 08-04-14, 06:54
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Some info here, Merry.

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/fo...owtopic=125645
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Old 08-04-14, 06:59
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Thanks Shona.

Do you know - if I google and find anything related to RFA 465th Battery, 65th Brigade for the appropriate time frame, but relating to other soldiers, does that mean Clifford would have been there too? ie would the battery/brigade have constantly moved as one unit, at least up to Nov 1918?
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Old 08-04-14, 07:03
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I think they did.
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Old 08-04-14, 07:09
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I just found a list of his personal effects, so have added that to the initial post.
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Old 08-04-14, 07:13
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There's a war diary, Merry. Read this on the Great War Forum.

WO 95/455 65 Army Field Artillery Brigade 1917 May - 1919 Aug.

Individual RFA batteries didn't keep separate diaries (except in some exceptional circumstances, if acting independently).

From 8 July to 3 Sept 1917 the Brigade (four batteries of 18-pounders) was attached to II Corps, which was in Fifth Army in the Ypres sector.
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Old 08-04-14, 07:13
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This is a great idea - creating mini biographies of individuals who served. I have been meaning to do this for a long time, so this is just the push I needed.

Putting together all the info I had on Clifford proved to me the only bits of information I had regarding his war service before I started our FH (joined underage and died of the Spanish 'flu in France) were all incorrect.

Just got to decide who to do next week........
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Old 08-04-14, 07:14
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Thanks again Shona. I will keep looking
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