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John Clarke


John Clarke was born in Openshaw, Manchester on May 2, 1888, and was the elder of two children born to John and Ruth Clarke. His younger sister, Mary Elizabeth, was born in late 1889 or early 1890. In 1891, the family were living at 24 Prince Street in Ardwick. John’s father worked in the cotton waste trade his whole life.

Early Life

By 1901, the Clarkes had moved to 4 Sunny Bank in Gorton, where they were to live for at least the next ten years. John and Mary Elizabeth were at school.

Chester College

John left Chester College in 1907 and was employed as an Assistant School Teacher by the Manchester Education Authority. John married Edith Newport, a Shorthand Typist, on May 9, 1917 at the parish church, St. George the Martyr: Abbey Hey.

Military Service

On December 18, 1914, John attested for service as Private 19003 in the 16th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers; he reported for service in Llandudno the following day. John had pre-war military experience having served with the 1st Royal Cheshire R.G.A. Volunteers. His progress through the ranks was swift. He was appointed Lance Corporal on January 6, 1915, and two days later he was promoted to Corporal. By February 1915, he was the Company Quarter Master Sergeant of “A” Company. He was then appointed to a commission in the 14th Battalion Manchester Regiment on June 29, 1915. He was subsequently attached to the 16th Battalion of the same Regiment.

Lest We Forget

On March 21, 1918, John Clarke was with the 16th Battalion Manchester Regiment when the German Spring Offensive began. John Clarke was taken prisoner by the Germans and died of influenza on October 25, 1918 at the Fortress Hospital, in Cologne.

Post Mortem

John was buried in Südfriedhof (Southern Cemetery), in Cologne. More than 1,000 allied prisoners and dozens of German servicemen were buried here during the First World War.