The tragic life of 1269/240125 Pte William Clark,|
‘B’ Coy, 1/5th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment.
The information and images in this story have been researched and kindly contributed by Geoff Clark, William's Great Nephew.
After the Nation's War Memorials were erected and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission did their work in the early 1920s, thousands of men died in the years that followed, as a result of their physical and mental wounds.
When the Nation remembers today, all these lads are forgotten.
The souvenirs below show how one of these young men volunteered for his local Territorials as a teenager and went off to fight when the 5th Yorks first went to France in April 1915.
He went through 18 months of the horrors of the War before being wounded in September 1916 in the later stages of the Battle of the Somme. Geoff says that this was in Tyne Street Trench, Martinpuich on the 29th September and that a family memory is that William was gassed at Ypres in April/May 1915.
During this time he sent "silks" back home at Christmas and New Year with "love and kisses" to his mother.
After treatment in a UK hospital, when cards from his family show their concern, he was discharged in May 1917.
We do not know details of his injuries as his Service Records, like so many others, have not survived.
By 1924 he was described as "of no fixed abode".
His mother had thrown him out because of his violent behaviour and he was charged in the local court for trying to get back into his home.
In December 1928 he died of Mania in the Mental Hospital at Hull.
Whether this mental breakdown was hereditary or was caused by the trauma of the War, we will never know.
William was born 16th October 1895 at Fardon Walk, Bridlington Quay, East Yorkshire to Tom Staveley Clark (Master Mariner) and Florence Clark (Nee Sleightholm).
Residing at 9, Clarence Road, Bridlington Quay, East Yorkshire, aged 17, he enlisted in ‘B’ Company ( Bridlington Company ) 5th Battalion ( Territorial ) Yorkshire Regiment on the 3rd of May 1912.
He trained on one or two nights per week at the local drill hall, Cambridge Street, Swindon Street, Quay Road, Bridlington, East Yorkshire.
In March 1913, aged 18, he moved, with his mother and siblings from Bridlington to a sweet and tobacconist shop at 52, Bean Street, Anlaby Road, Kingston Upon Hull and worked as a shunter for the L.N.E.R. in Hull.
His father at this time was a patient in East Riding Mental Asylum at Walkington, East Yorkshire, after being admitted for the third time on the 3rd of June 1911 and eventually dying there in October 1953 without ever being released.
William still attended the training nights in Bridlington ( free rail travel ) and would have stayed with his aunt, Mary Jane Abram (Nee Clark) at 10 Regent Terrace, Bridlington Quay.
He wrote to his Aunt Lucy on Saturday the 23rd of September 1916 (received Wednesday the 27th of September) saying that he was in the pink.
His mother then received a Field Service Postcard on the 4th of October, saying that he was wounded.
He spent some time, from beginning of April 1917 to 16th May 1917 on ward B1 of the 2nd Northern Military Hospital at Beckets Park, Headingly, Leeds, when he was discharged with 5 Shillings a week pension from the Army due to his wounds.
After discharge from the Army, he returned to 52, Bean Street, Anlaby Road, Kingston Upon Hull and after two court appearances in December 1924, died on the 17th December 1928 at the Hull City Mental Hospital, Willerby, East Yorkshire, of exhaustion from mania.
He is buried in Western Cemetery, Kingston upon Hull in grave No. 3598/372 with his mother Florence Clark and his brother Tom Staveley Clark (Machine Gun Corps Reg. No. 144617, who also died of war wounds, at home on the 24th April 1923 ).
Some Postcards sent within the UK had War images.
HULL DAILY MAIL|
22nd December 1924
The Unlucky Thirteenth !
Hull Man Who Broke Window of Mothers Shop
For wilfully damaging a pane of glass in the window of a shop, 52 Bean Street, the property of Florence Clark, his mother, William Clark (30) , a pensioner, of no fixed abode, was fined 5s and ordered to pay the damage, £1.
Prisoner’s mother said that she had to turn him away from home because of his violence towards her.
On December 13th, she said, he came kicking at the front door, shouting to be admitted.
Shortly afterwards she heard the window break, and discovered that he had put his hand through it.
When taken to the infirmary to have his hand attended to, he said:-
“It must have been my unlucky day.”
HULL DAILY MAIL|
23rd December 1924
Twice in Two Days
Bean Street, A Dangerous Place for a Hull Man.
After being fined and warned as to his future conduct at the City Police Court on Monday, William Clark (30), of no fixed abode, again found himself in the dock this morning, charged with causing a crowd to assemble on Monday, in Bean Street, where his mother resides.
It was stated that he had commenced to quarrel and that a crowd of thirty or more people had gathered.
“ I have been here three times this month” cried Clark this morning.
“I want a chance, if I go down Bean Street, I get locked up.”
It was stated by a police constable that his mother dare not let him in.
“I have been up and down the road until I’m sick of it,” he again interrupted, “ and when I’m there, I get rough handled. I will clear out of town where I can find some friends.”
He was bound over on his own recognizance to keep the peace.
Bean Street, Hull.
Shop at 52 Bean Street.|
William's sister, Florence, in the doorway.