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  • Photograph of Ernest Clarke was published 15th March 1919 in the South Notts Echo and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
Nottingham
Ernest Clarke married Winifred Dugan (born 27th May 1888) in 1908. They had a son James Ernest Clarke born 11th March 1909. In 1911, Winifred and her son James lived with her parents, Thomas and Alice Duggan, at 22, Whyburn Street, Hucknall. Ernest’s pension record card shows his wife Winifred’s later address was 51 Dexter Street, Pawtucket, Rhodes Island, USA.
25 Oct 1918
175819 - CWGC Website
249449
Driver
Royal Engineers
Ernest Clarke enlisted at Newport and served with the 38th Signal Compnay Royal Engineers. He was killed by shellfire whilst sleeping in a barn and is buried at Romeries Communal Cemetery, France.
He had abandoned his wife and child in Hucknall before the war. It was believed that he had left for the United States - he was actually living in Monmouthshire - and his wife had moved there. Following the outbreak of war, he thought about his family and managed to get in touch. Correspondence followed and they agreed that he would return to the family and emigrate to America after the war. That was not to be and he lies in Romeries Communal Cemetery Extension, France. Article published 15th March 1919 in the South Notts Echo :- “A ROMANCE OF THE WAR. “How a Local Soldier Locates the Wife Whom He Had Forsaken. “Seeks Forgiveness, but Death Prevents the Union of Hearts. “Though the war is over information comes to hand concerning fallen men who in some way have been connected with the district, and thus we feel in duty bound to relate the circumstances of their deaths. “The photograph herewith is of a soldier who may be remembered by some of our readers, though he has been out of touch with the town for some years. In addition there are circumstances connected with his career which impart a tinge of sadness to his death. We refer to Driver Ernest Clarke, who left his wife in Hucknall, so we are given to understand. ten years ago, and only six weeks after their marriage. “A son was born, and though enquiries were made, the wife was unable to obtain any knowledge of her husband's whereabouts. Despairing of ever meeting him again, the wife decided to rejoin her sisters, who had emigrated to America, whither the entire family has now gone. There she resides still, in comfortable circumstances, along with the son, who has never seen his father. “Later it transpired that Ernest Clarke had gone to Wales. and in the early part of 1915 he enlisted in the 38th Welsh Division of the R.F.A. Whilst serving his country his thoughts often wandered towards his wife and child, and he discovered that they had made America their home. That was some disappointment to the soldier, but he left no stone unturned till he found out their address. “One can imagine his feelings on the battlefield as he penned his first letter to America to the one whom he had vowed to cherish at the altar, and how he waited, waited, wondering, wondering what its reception would be. Time passes on, and though to the ordinary soldier days and dates were lost in the turmoil of battle, Clarke counted the days, calculated the time the letter would occupy in reaching America, how it would be meditated upon, and what time it would take to send a reply if one should be sent at all. It was an anxious time, but still he continued to do his duty with the colours. “As he was serving in the trenches one day the field postman delivered to Driver Ernest Clarke a letter bearing the photograph of the President of U.S.A. He eagerly broke the seal, and as he devoured the contents his pals noticed the happy smile on his countenance. His wife had forgiven him, and thus correspondence was commenced, accompanied often with souvenirs of the war. Finally it was decided that he should go to America when the war was over. “However, the union of man and wife has been denied, for on October 25 last Ernest Clarke was killed whilst sleeping in a barn. The repentant soldier was on the point of a furlough, and, as will b, observed, he fell in action only 17 days before the signing of the armistice. He had gone through some of the thickest fighting on the Somme, and it is most distressing to think that their romantic career should have been deprived of that fitting finale – the union of hearts. “We may add that Driver Clarke formerly lived at Papplewick, and his wife bore the name of Winnie Duggan, of Whyburn street, Hucknall.” Above information and newspaper article is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918.
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Photos

  • Photograph of Ernest Clarke was published 15th March 1919 in the South Notts Echo and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    Ernest Clarke - Photograph of Ernest Clarke was published 15th March 1919 in the South Notts Echo and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918