|Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)||3345 or 3350||5th Battalion D Coy|
Photos courtesy Melanie Clarke
Jack, as he was known, was born and raised at Crich, the son of William and Ellen Clarke. In different records his name was spelt Clark and Clarke. His mother, Ellen, was the daughter of George and Mary Ann Curzon, a well known Crich family. Prior to the war he worked at Ambergate wireworks, as did his father.
In July 1917, he was wounded and taken as a PoW at Gommecourt, on the same day that Luke Coleman was killed in action. Walter Mellows had been taken prisoner at the same time. John was imprisoned at Langenzala. In 1920 Jack married and had a family with Janet Donaldson, the sister of Alex Donaldson and John Donaldson.
On the Sherwood Foresters record his number is given as 3345, on the PoW records it is 3350.
He was mentioned in a newspaper report of 1915 about the wounding of William Harrison
Derbyshire Courier, 31 August 1915
THOUSANDS OF SHELLS
Crich Lance Corporal wounded
Lance Corporal William Harrison of Crich, attached to the 2nd Notts and Derbyshire Regiment, in writing home during the past few days tell of his getting wounded in action.
He is now at the Heaton Mersey Auxiliary Hospital (formerly a Wesleyan School) and he writes: "I am feeling very sore after my experiences in the last big battle. The sights of the war get worse, and to see the dead and dying is awful. The battle started about 2.45 on Monday, and the noise of hundreds of guns was absolutely deafening. Our order to advance was smartly obeyed, but we had great difficulty in getting along every yard or so we went some of our chaps were knocked down. Thousands of shells were dropping around, but it didn't matter we kept on and gained for our commander what he wanted. Then I was struck by pieces of shell one in the arm two in the side and again in the abdomen. But I am feeling a bit better now, and we are being very well looked after in hospital. Just as we were going into action I saw Sam Briddon, Jack Clark, Walter Mellors and others shouted to us and wished us luck."
Lance Corporal Harrison came across with 200 other wounded soldiers in the – and was sent to Ducie Avenue Hospital, Manchester afterwards he moved to Heaton Mersey. His brother Private E Harrison of the East Surrey Light Infantry was expected to start for the Dardanelles on Tuesday.
Derbyshire Courier, 26 August 1916
WOUNDED AND PRISONER OF WAR
Pte J. Clarke, Crich
Derbyshire Courier 25th of May 1918
Lance Corporal Walter Mellors of Crich Common, who was taken prisoner nearly two years ago has sent home to his parents a photograph of himself taken recently. Judging by the picture he appears to have fared pretty well for food. He was captured on 1 July 1916, the same day that Lance Corporal Luke Coleman fell in action and Private John Clarke was taken prisoner.
Derbyshire Courier, 3 January 1920
The wedding was solemnised at the Parish Church, Crich, last Friday, of Mr John Clarke, of Bennett’s Lane, eldest son of Mrs William Clarke and the late Mr William Clarke, to Miss Janet Donaldson, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs James Donaldson of the Reservoir. The Rev James Williams1 officiated. The bridegroom served with the Sherwoods during the war and was a prisoner in Germany for nearly two years. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a Panama violet velvet dress and white velour hat. Miss Tamar Clarke (sister of the bridegroom) and Miss Maggie Donaldson (sister of the bride) were the bridesmaids, and were dressed in saxe blue. Mr George Curzon officiated as best man. Mr and Mrs Clarke are to live at Fritchley.
Sherwood Foresters Record [
National Archive Great War medal roll shows:- Enlisted Notts and Derbys
Served in the Great War of 1914-18, Was with "D" Coy
Reported in Red Cross Enquiry List 1st September 1916 as missing 1st July 1916
Derbyshire Courier dated 26.8.1916 shows had been wounded and taken prisoner
POW records show he was taken prisoner at Gommecourt on 1.7.1916 and was held in Camp Lager Langensalsa
Son of Mrs E. Clarke of Crich, Derbyshire
John was wounded and taken prisoner at Gommecourt on 1 July 1917. He was imprisoned at Langensala.
Clarke John 3350, 5 Sherwood Foresters, Gommecourt 1/7/16, Camp Lager Langensalsa, born 20/7/90 Crich; Mrs E Clarke
Langensalza was described as the most sinister camp in Germany.
One ex PoW wrote:
"Think of the conditions of 12,000 men huddled together on a large sized ploughed field so situated that it caught all the water draining from the surrounding hills. Sanitary arrangements on a par with those of the native quarter in an Egyptian town. Food of the vilest and unhealthiest nature for human consumption. Long ramshackle dilapidated barracks to hold 700-800 men with no thought in their construction for comfort and accommodation."
He described the guards at Langensalza as being the most brutal and ferocious that he ever saw.
|George||Curzon||Head||60||General Labourer||South Wingfield|
|William||Clark||son in law||20||General labourer||Fritchley|
RG12 piece 2746 folio 88 page 2
1901: Bullin Lane, Crich
|Matilda E||Clarke||daughter||13||Cotton spinner, mill||Crich|
|Mary A||Curzon||mother in law||55||Crich|
|George||Curzon||brother in law||15||Wire warehouseman||Crich|
RG13 piece 3231 folio 46 page 11
1911: North View, Crich
|William||Clarke||Head||40||Labourer in galvanising wire||Crich|
|William Jnr||Clarke||son||17||Limestone worker||Crich|
|George||Curzon||brother in law||25||Wire drawer||Crich|
RG14PN20984 RG78PN1251 RD436 SD4 ED13 SN80
1918 Voters List
John Clarke, Bennett's Lane absent on military service
1939 Register: Bowmer Lane, Fritchley
John Clarke snr b.20 July 1890; wire drawer benchman, heavy work
Jane Clarke b.22 December 1890
John Clarke jnr b.26 Deptember 1920; hosiery worker
Derrick Clarke b.18 August 1924; hosiery orker
one closed record