Born: 16th May 1891, Skipton, North Yorkshire.
Died: 10th August 1918; age 27; Died of Wounds received at the Attack on the village of Hallu, near Le Quesnel, while escorting three German prisoners to Brigade Headquarters, a large enemy shell fell within twenty feet of the party severely wounding him in the body and legs. He was immediately attended to and then placed on an ambulance to be taken to the nearest dressing station, but he died before reaching there.
Residence: Seymour House, Moosmin, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Occupation: a Waiter.
Enlistment Details: Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba; Date: 22nd December 1915; Age: 24 years; Religion: CofE. Next of Kin: 293, Norwich Road, Ipswich. Height: 5ft 6ins, dark complexion, brown eyes & brown hair. Signed up for the Duration of the War.
Embarked: Halifax, Nova Scotia on board the S.S.’Empress of Britain’ – 20th May 1916.
Disembarked: Liverpool – 30th May 1916. Proceeded for service overseas.
Embarked: Southampton – 12th August 1916.
Disembarked: Havre – 13th August 1916.
Granted 10 days Leave of Absence – 1st June 1917 – returned from leave – 15th June 1917.
Granted 14 days leave to England – 12th January 1918 – returned from leave 23rd January 1918.
William fought on the Somme and Ancre, and he was one of the gallant band of 189 Canadians who held Vimy Ridge for five days – Penrith Observer – 10th August 1918.
Rank: Private; Service Number: 148605.
Regiment: Canadian Infantry, Manitoba Regiment, 78th Battalion, ‘D’ Coy.
Medals Awarded: Good Conduct Medal – 22nd December 1917 & Victory, British War & Military Medal – For bravery in the Field at Souchez River.
Gazetted 24th April 1917.
Relatives Notified & Address: Eldest son of Henry Blackwell Clarke & Sarah Clarke, of 33, Brunswick Square, Penrith, Cumberland.
1901 ‘Grasmere’, Tuddenham Road, Ipswich.
William was 9 years old and living with his parents & sister.
Henry Blackwell Clarke, 35, a Journalist & Reporter – Newspaper, born Blackpool, Lancashire.
Sarah Clarke (nee Gibson), 37, born Fleetwood, Lancashire.
Daisy Clarke, 11, born Nelson, Lancashire – died 1910, Ipswich.
Henry Cecil Clarke, 5, born Ipswich.
In October 1902, William’s father, Henry Blackwell Clarke, of Grasmere, Tuddenham Road, Ipswich was appointed liquidator in the voluntary winding up of the “Ipswich Journal” Printing and Publishing Company. Limited.
18 year old, William arrived at St. John’s, New Brunswick, Canada, on the 18th March 1910. He had travelled on the S.S. ‘Empress of Ireland’ of the Canadian Pacific Line, departing from the port of Liverpool. He wanted to do farming.
William wrote out his Will on the 2nd August 1916 – to his mother, Sarah Clarke, of 293, Norwich Road, Ipswich. Later, from the 11th September 1916 of Haig House, 56, Springfield Land, Ipswich.
William’s Victory, British War and Military Cross medals were sent to his mother, of 33, Brunswick Square, Cumberland. She received the Memorial Scroll on the 23rd March 1922, and the Memorial Plaque on the 1st April 1922.
There is also an original 1920’s green-slated park bench, at Penrith Castle Park, Cumbria dedicated to the memory of William, with the lettering set in heavy cast iron. http://www.mrdanthompson.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/the-life-and-death-of-william-gibson-clarke
Penrith Observer 15th August 1922
VISIT TO PENRITH SOLDIER’S GRAVE
Mr. and Mrs. H.B. Clarke, Brunswick Square, Penrith, last week paid a visit to their son’s grave in the new British Cemetery at Caix, about 24 kilometers south of Ameins. William Gibson Clarke joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers in 1915, and came to England. After a period of training in this country he went to France with his regiment, and his conduct in the field gained him the Military Medal. He took part in the first offensive on the Somme in July, 1916, and was killed there. Many Cumberland and Westmorland men – members of the Lonsdale Battalion of the Border Regiment – made the supreme sacrifice on the same day in that sector. Mr. Clarke found that the cemeteries are well kept, and the authorities have shown wonderful ability in the matter of identification. Much has been done to restore the Cathedral at Ameins, which was greatly damaged by bombardment from the Germans. All over the district there are still many evidences of German bombardments, but the French peasants have been very industrious, and much of the destruction has been effaced.
Canadian Infantry, Manitoba Regiment, 78th Battalion: