Emil John Hamilton CLARKE

Poppy

CLARKE, Emil John Hamilton

Service Numbers: 1255, Officer
Enlisted: 23 January 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 11th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Kapunda, South Australia , 5 December 1891
Home Town: Prospect, Prospect, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Killed in Action, Bullecourt Nord-Pas-de-Calais France, 15 April 1917, aged 25 years
Cemetery: Bapaume Communal Cemetery
(I. 6.) Bapaume Communal Cemetery
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide Rowing Club WW1 Pictorial Honour Board, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kapunda District Honour Board, Penneshaw Kangaroo Island Men Roll of Honor WW1, Prospect Roll of Honour A-G WWI Board
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World War 1 Service

21 Jan 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1255, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
23 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia
6 Jul 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
27 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Benalla (A24)
8 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 24th Field Artillery (Howitzer) Brigade
11 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 110th Australian (Howitzer) Battery
18 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 4th Divisional Ammunition Column
29 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 24th Field Artillery (Howitzer) Brigade
1 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 24th Field Artillery (Howitzer) Brigade
25 Jan 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 11th Field Artillery Brigade
11 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 11th Field Artillery Brigade , Bullecourt (First)

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Biography

Information from AWM / Adelaide Rowing Club and NAA Service Papers:

Emil John Hamilton Clarke (more commonly known as Jack Clarke) was born at Kapunda, South Australia on 5 December 1891. His parents, Anna Wilheina (nee Schlinke) and Benjamin Clarke had 9 children. He enlisted on 21 January 1915 in Adelaide and stated he was a 23 years old and a bank clerk living at Prospect in Adelaide. He was allocated to the 9th reinfrocements of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment and he was bound to embark with them, however, did not so as he was transferred to a School of Instruction where he underwent officer training. He was granted a comission as a 2nd lieutenant on the 6 July 1915.

It would appear that because of this his service record resulted in much confusion as Emil Clarke is reorded as both having embarked on HMAT Star of England (A15) on 21 September 1915 as a private and as a 2nd lieutenant on HMAT Benalla (A24) on 27 October 1915. Indeed, however, he only embarked once on HMAT Benalla (A24) as a 2nd lieutenant with the 11th reinfrocements of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment.   

Not landing at Gallipoli he was sent to Egypt and in April 1916 he was transferred to the 24th Howitzer Brigade and attachted to the Brigade Headquarters but posted to 110th Battery a couple days later. A week later he was again transferred to the 4th Divisional (Ammunition/ Artillery?) Column and served with them for three months before finally been transferred back to the 24th Field Artillery Brigade. After serving in Egypt, he proceeded to France, where on 1 October 1916, he was promoted to Lieutenant and later transferred to 11th Field Artillery Brigade (43rd Battery) on the 25 January 1917. Lieutenant Emil Clarke was killed in action near Bullecourt, France, on 15 April 1917 and buried in the Communal Cemetery at Bapaume, France. He was 25 years old.

He was killed in the aftermath of the First Battle of Bullecourt when the Battery had pulled their gun further out onto a road to get a better angle at the enemy which was attacking. The Battery was observed by the enemy guns and when Major Pybus (commanding the 43rd Battery) noticed this he called together the personal of the battery and was about to give the order to evacuate when enemy shells started exploding among the group. Major Pybus was killed, and Liuetenant Clarke (commander of the left section of guns) was also killed. Around 14 men and officers were killed altogether and several more wounded. Depending on which version is accurate Clarke was either wounded before dying or killed instantly. The events of what was exactly happened are also slightly different, however, a general colleration can be found giving a rough indication.       

As a end note, the AWM holds 4 letters written by Emil Clarke during World War One. The letters were sent to his parents, who then posted them to one of his 8 siblings, with instructions to send them to the next sibling and then return them to their mother after all the siblings had read the letters.  

1914/15 Star: 10660

British War Medal: 18724

Victory Medal: 18656

Memorial Plaque and Scroll: 356628

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