Clark T.C.

THOMAS CHRISTOPHER CLARK 1891-1917

16942 Private T.C. Clark, 8th Bn., East Yorkshire Regiment was killed in action 3 May 1917 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.[1]  He was about 25 years old and is commemorated on the Butterknowle War Memorial and the memorial plaque in the St. John the Evangelist Church, Lynesack.

Family Details

Thomas Christopher Clark was born 11 November 1891 at Copley,[2] the son of Leonard and Ann Clark.  There were at least 6 children, 5 born within the Parish of Lynesack and Sofley:

  • Myles bc.1882 at Kimblesworth, Co. Durham
  • Sarah bc. 1884
  • John bc. 1887
  • William bc.1889
  • Thomas bc.1891
  • Ernest bc.1893[3]

In 1901, the family lived at Essex Row, Butterknowle and Leonard worked as a coal miner (hewer). [4] By 1911, Thomas and his father lived with his older brother Myles and his family at Armstrong Villa, Butterknowle.  19 year old Thomas was a coal miner (putter).  Myles and Leonard were coal miners (hewers). [5]  In 1916, Thomas married Mary E. Smith at Burnley, Lancashire.[6]

Service Details

9 September 1914: Thomas Clark attested aged 22 years and 10 months. [7]  He joined the Durham Light Infantry and he was allocated the regimental number 14685. [8] However, the Statement of Services section of the Attestation Form records that he was with the Reserve Cavalry Regiment before transferring to the East Yorkshire Regiment 13 February 1915.  He was posted to:

  • 3th Battalion, the East Yorkshires 2 March 1915
  • 8th Battalion, the East Yorkshires 26 January 1916
  • the Depot 19 March 1916
  • in October 1916 he was posted elsewhere (undecipherable)
  • 1st Battalion, the East Yorkshires 16 January 1917
  • 8th Battalion, he East Yorkshires 18 January 1917 [9]

The 8th (Service) Battalion, the East Yorkshire Regiment was formed in Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire as part of K3, Kitchener’s New Army and came under the orders of the 62nd Brigade 21st Division.  It landed in Boulogne, France in September 1915 and was transferred to the 8th Brigade 3rd Division.[10] By January 1917, the 8th Brigade consisted of the following units:

  • 2nd, the Royal Scots (2/RS)
  • 1st, the Gordon Highlanders
  • 7th, the Shropshire Light Infantry
  • 8th, the East Yorkshire Regiment (8/EYR)
  • 1st, the Royal Scots Fusiliers (1/RSF)
  • 8th Machine Gun Company formed 22 January 1916
  • 8th Trench Mortar Battery joined 18 April 1916 [11]

From 18 January to 3 May 1917, the date when Private T.C. Clark was reported as missing, the 3rd Division was part of VI Corps, Third Army and involved in the following actions which were phases of the Battle of Arras:

  • The First Battle of the Scarpe: 9-14 April
  • The Second Battle of the Scarpe: 23-24 April
  • The Battle of Arleux: 28-29 April
  • The Third Battle of the Scarpe: 3-4 May [12]

The Third Battle of the Scarpe: a summary

After securing the area around Arleux at the end of April, the British launched another attack east from Monchy to try to break through the “Boiry Riegel” and reach the “Wotanstellung” a major German defensive fortification.  This was scheduled to coincide with the Australian attack at Bullecourt in order to present the Germans with a 2 pronged assault, hoping to force the Germans to retreat further east.  The attack was launched 3 May and neither prong was able to make any significant advances and the attack was called off after incurring heavy casualties.

8/East Yorkshire Regiment: in action [13]

30 April: Plans and preliminary orders were issued for the next attack on the Red Line, 8/EYR to relieve 1/RSF in the line.

1 May: Monchy: The Germans put down a heavy barrage behind the front line.  1 killed and 3 wounded.  1/RSF and Royal Scots returned to the line to take up battle positions.  Monchy and its outskirts hit by the usual shelling.

2 May: Monchy shelled.  German batteries subject to heavy gas shell bombardment.  During the evening while the relief was taking place and troops were moving into their assembly positions, the enemy retaliated and quite a number of casualties were suffered.

3 May: Monchy:

“At 3.45am the attack started.  Enemy was very quick with his barrage.  2nd Lt. Knee was killed [14] before the start.  The attack was not successful but posts were established in part of the 8th Bde sector.  The battalion had many casualties.  Our good Padre Capt. C.W. Mitchell was mortally wounded during the afternoon while attending to our wounded under terrible shell fire.  Other officers killed were 2nd Lt. Dalton, Cox, McIntyre.  2nd Lt. Price died of wounds.  2nd Lt. Le Breton, Edwards were wounded.  2nd Lt. Biddy is missing.  Total casualties 35 killed, 161 wounded, 39 missing.”

Private T.C. Clark was reported as missing.

4 May: Orders were received to re-organise and the wounded were evacuated from No-Man’s Land under the Red Cross flag.

5 May:  The Battalion HQ was shelled all night.  Work on posts and trenches continued.  2nd Lt. Pappa was killed and buried where he fell.  Work proceeded under heavy sniping and occasional shelling.  There were 20 casualties.

6 May:  Hostile shelling as usual but the situation was generally quieter.  The Brigade was relieved by the 9th Brigade which commenced at 10pm and completed by 5.30am.

Later research records that between 3 and 6 May 8/East Yorkshire Regiment lost 6 officers and 60 other ranks killed in action or died of wounds.   The officers were 2nd Lieutenants Biddy, Cox, Dalton, McIntyre, Pappa and Price.  5 officers and 46 other ranks including Private T.C. Clark were killed in action or died of wounds 3 May 1917.[15]  Private T.C. Clark was initially reported as missing but as a result of the lapse in time, presumed to be dead since 3 May 1917.

Private T.C. Clark served 2 years 238 days[16] and he was awarded the British War and Victory medals.[17]  His effects were issued to his widow, Mrs. Mary E. Clark.[18]

Commemorations

Private T.C. Clark has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France.  It commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the UK, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918 the eve of the Advance to Victory and have no known grave.  [19]

References

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales 1837-1915 Birth Index Vol.10a p.256 Auckland 1891Q4 The Phillips family tree and others on Ancestry quote a birth date of 11 November 1891.

Note: On other family websites there is a photo of a Private T.C. Clark.  This soldier is wearing headgear with a Fusiliers style cap badge – could it be the Royal Scots Fusiliers which served in the same Brigade?  To the best of our knowledge he didn’t serve with this regiment.  This photo is displayed below.

Thomas Christopher Clark Center Standing

[3] 1901 & 1911 census records

[4] 1901 census

[5] 1911 census

[6] England & Wales Marriage Index 1916-2005 Vol.8e.p.286 Burnley 1916Q4

[7] Army Form B.2065

[8] Soldiers Died in the Great War

[9] Statement of the Services

[10] http://www.1914-1918.net/eastyorks.htm

[11] http://www.1914-1918.net/3div.htm

[12] www.1914-1918.net/3div.htm & http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1917.htm

[13] 8/EYR War Diary

[14] Officers Died in the Great War Note: Lieutenant Knee served with 4/EYR and was attached to 8/EYR

[15] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[16] Statement of the Services

[17] Medal Roll card index

[18] UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1929

[19] CWGC

Photographs:

Thomas Christopher Clark Center Standing

Arras Memorial

Arras Memorial

CLARK T.C. Inscription Arras Memorial

CLARK T.C.
Inscription
Arras Memorial

One thought on “Clark T.C.

  1. Pingback: BUTTERKNOWLE | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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