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  • Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)
Person Details
Worksop Nottinghamshire
Wilfred was the son of George William Clarke. Military records show that Wilfred was born in Worksop but there is a possibility that Worksop has been confused with Warsop. According to his army service record he was 20 years 307 days old when he attested in January 1915 ie. born about 1894. Described as Wilfred's 'unmarried wife' on one military record, Elizabeth Emma Hempsall (b. 21 December 1892) and their daughter Sarah Hannah Clarke Hempsall (b. 2 June 1914), were accepted by the Army as his dependants. Elizabeth lived with her parents, Frederick and Harriet Hempsall, at 3 Vallance's Yard, Nursery Street, Mansfield, and Wilfred gave this as his address when he attested in 1915. Elizabeth completed a record for the army after Wilfred's death listing his dependants and surviving blood relatives. She gave her name and that of their daughter Sarah but the names and addresses of Wilfred's relatives were largely illegible other than appearing to name a brother (age 27), a half-brother ?Frederick (24) and a sister (36). Elizabeth married Samuel Atkin in 1924 (O/N/D Mansfield, Hempsall/Atkin). In 1939 she was living on Victoria Terrace, Kirkby in Ashfield, with her sons Douglas (b. 13 December 1927) and Joseph R (b. 25 June 1929). The records of two other members of the household remain closed but may have been those of her daughter Gwendoline D (b. 1925) and son Samuel JF (b. 1926). There is a record of the death of an Elizabeth Emma Atkin of Leamington Street, Leicester, who died in Leicester in 1963 but was buried in Kingsway New Cemetery, Kirkby in Ashfield on 24 January. His daughter Sarah Hannah married John A Mumford in 1934 and in 1939 they were living in Selston where John was a colliery worker. Sarah died in 1991.
He was a coal miner when he attested in 1915
17 Jan 1917
760609 - CWGC Website
18649
3 Vallance's Yard, Nursery Street, Mansfield. Enlisted Mansfield
Private
6th Bn York and Lancaster Regiment
6th Battalion Yorks and Lancs Regiment. Wilfred enlisted in Mansfield on 29 January 1915 age 20 years 307 days. He was a coal miner and living at 3 Vallance's Yard, Nursery Street, Mansfield, the home of Elizabeth Emma Hempsall who was the mother of his daughter Sarah. Their names appear on his service record although Wilfred nominated his father, George William Clarke, as his next of kin (address illegible). Wilfred joined at the Regimental Depot of the 9th Bn York & Lancaster Regiment. On 9 February 1915 he forfeited 28 days pay for absence. He was awarded 10 days FP [Field Punishment] No.2 on 25 February 1915 and 14 days FP No.2 on 8 June 1915. He then forfeited pay for absence (dates illegible). Wilfred deserted on 25 July 1915 and was struck off the muster roll on 25 September 1915. However, he was apprehended in Mansfield Woodhouse that month and remanded by the court 'to await escort.' (See 'Extra information') Wilfred was sentenced by the Army on 16 October 1915 for (1) 'When on active service deserting HM service (2) losses by neglect of equipmenht clothing and necessaries. He was sentenced to one year hard labour and pay for deficiencies of equipment . This was remitted to 12 months detention and pay for deficiencies and the charge sheet was annotated 'Proceeded with draft to Dardanelles' (date obscured). According to his service record he served a total of 1 year 354 days: Home 29 January 1915-24 October 1915 (269 days), Mediterranean 25 October 1915-26 June 1916 (246 days), France 27 June 1916-17 January 1917 (205 days). Wilfred was killed in action on the River Ancre on 17 January 1917. No age is given on the CWGC record but there has been a suggestion that he was under-age when he enlisted and might have been 17 years old when he was killed ie. born about 1900. However, this seems unlikely given the age of his partner, Elizabeth (b. 1892), and that of his daughter (b. June 1914). Wilfred has no known grave and is another name appearing on the Tiepval Memorial. He qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Courtesy of Robert Illett
Four of Elizabeth's brothers served in the war and two, Richard William Hempsall and Walter Abdy Hempsall, were killed. They are also commemorated on the Mansfield St Peter Memorial. (See records on this Roll of Honour) Mansfield Reporter, 24 September 1915: ‘Mansfield Police Court. Deserters in Court. Wilfred Clarke was brought up in custody, on Wednesday, charged with being a deserter from the 9th Yorks. and Lancs. Battalion. Pc Chappell stated that he apprehended prisoner in Sherwood-street Mansfield Woodhouse, 9.00pm on the previous day. When charged, he replied, ‘I have had a good run for my money, having had two months of it.’ Prisoner had nothing to say in court and he was remanded to await escort.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser 17 August 1916: a report about the Hempsall family states the son-in-law of Mrs Hempsall a Pte Wilfred Clarke had been killed 17 January 1917 and that his widow was living with her mother. There is no record of a Clarke/Hempsall marriage. On the service record his daughter is listed as Sarah Hannah Clarke Hempsall and his medals were sent to Elizabeth Hempsall ('Mrs EE Hempsall') in 1920, Registers of Soldiers' Effects: records of payment made to Miss Elizabeth Emma Hempsall who was his sole legatee. The record is annotated in the margin 'self and children (sic)' although no record has been found of a second child.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)
    Wilfred Clarke - Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)