Albert Charles Clarke

Service:                Army

Rank:                    Pioneer

Service No:           260778

Unit:                     Royal Engineers

 

  Albert Charles Clarke was born in Bristol. The 1911 census records a 26 year old Albert Clarke at 47 Clouds Hill Road St George Bristol; he was born in 1885, married Jessie Scofield in 1905 & a son Arthur was born in 1910.

The following details have been provided by Albert's Grandson, Colin Clarke.

"As with so many young men Albert lost his life during the First World War. He died on 5th June 1917 at the age of 32. He had been in France for only 8 weeks.

 Albert commenced his training in Ipswich with B Company in the 12th Yeo Cyclists. He then joined a newly formed unit based at Aldershot. The unit was formed on 31st March 1917 and was called the 339th Road Construction Company, Royal Engineers. On the 12th April 1917 they left Aldershot and arrived in France on 15th April. They then travelled south to the army base at Steenwerck, arriving on 18th April. The Company was attached to the 2nd Anzac Corps (Australian and New Zealand Regiments) and involved in the filling of holes in the roads caused by German shelling. At this time shelling was heavy and sustained leading up to the capture of the Messines Ridge on 7th June. Commencing on 30th May the Commonwealth forces had opened up a continuous barrage on the Germans who had responded in a similar manner. Unfortunately in the afternoon of Sunday 3rd June one of the German long range shells exploded near Albert and he suffered severe wounds to the leg and arm. He died two days later on the 5th June in a 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station. Albert’s location at the time of sustaining his wounds was in an area between Steenwerck and a point 9 miles directly south of Ypres in Belgium."

 Albert’s body is buried in the Trois Arbres Cemetery near Steenwerck. Steenwerck is a village on the D77 about 6 kilometres south east of Bailleul, in northern France."

As with all military cemeteries this one is kept in immaculate order, as can be seen in the photograph which was taken in 2002. Albert’s grave is the ninth from the left.

 

These are Albert’s actual medals awarded for his service and engraved with his name and Service No. 260778 around the edge.

         Following Albert’s death, Jessica received a letter of condolence from The Rev. G. Kennedy Tucker who was with him when the end came and also officiated at Albert’s funeral.

         She also received a letter from the Commanding Officer, Capt. W. E. James who had been responsible for the company since leaving Aldershot. Also an official letter came from the Royal Engineers records office at Chatham.

After Alberts death the family continued to live at 47 Clouds Hill Road. This photograph was taken in the garden of that house.

 I would like to thank Colin Clarke for providing this information and allowing the use of these  photographs.

I am grateful to Maggie Sheppard who is a grandniece of Albert for the following Items held in their family collection. Letters home from Albert to his parents and sister (Maggie’s grandmother) also some official correspondence.

Just a selection of the items sent by Albert to his parents and sister.

The official photo of Alberts grave with original wooden cross.

This is a transcription of an official letter received from Imperial War Graves Commision. It is not known if the family did receive the original cross as requested.

 


 

 

References

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

1901 & 1911 UK household census

Soldiers Died in the Great War