Corporal 112703 Joseph Clark

Clark Joseph 96 349x600 Clark Joseph 96 422x600

Killed in Action on Friday, 30th August 1918, age unknown.
Buried in Grave II. E. 1. at Bancourt British Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

10th Bn., Tank Corps.
Formerly 676850 Royal Field Artillery.

Son of Mr John Clark, of 24a Walker Street, Toll End, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Coseley, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Mark's Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/205666/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
20 Jevon Street, Coseley, Staffs.
John Clarke (46, Coal Miner, born Coseley), his wife Susannah (42, born Coseley), and their 7 children: John (15, Coal Miner, born Coseley), George (14, Hollow Ware Moulder, born Ocker Hill), Walter (12, born Ocker Hill), Edith (8, born Ocker Hill), Joseph (6, born Ocker Hill), Lily (4, born Ocker Hill), and Jonah (1, born Coseley).

Susannah Clark died in March quarter 1905, and the large family appeared to split up. By 1911 Joseph was the only child living with his father, boarding at 24a Walker Street. The two youngest, Lily and Jonah, were boarding at 245 Toll End Road.

1911 Census
24a Walker Street, Toll End, Tipton, Staffs.
In the household of Henry Purchase were:
John Clark (55, Boarder, Married, Coal Miner, born Upper Ettingshall), and his son Joseph Clark (16, Boarder, Water Pumper, born Roseville).

Personal Data

Joseph Clark is commemorated on the St. Mark's Memorial with his surname spelt as Clarke. Commonwealth War Graves, 'Soldiers Died in the Great War', Medal Index Card, and his Birth Registraton all spell the surname Clark without the 'e'.

After Joseph's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £28/2/3d (28 pounds, 2 shillings and 3 pence); this was paid to his father, John, in March 1919. His War Gratuity was £18/0/0d (18 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Joseph had enlisted in approximately January 1915.

Joseph was killed in action on 30th August 1918, just a day after his brother Jonah died of wounds on 29th September 1918.

Action resulting in his death

The 10th Bn. Tank Company (originally 'J' Battalion) was heavily involved in the Allied success at the Battle of Amiens on August 8th; this was the German Army's "Black Day" from when it was continually pushed back until the Armistice on November 11th. Following Amiens, the 10th Bn. Tank Company was involved in the Second Battle of Bapaume from the August 21st to September 3rd, retaking the town of Albert on August 22nd and Bapaume on August 29th. Corporal Clark's tank, which would have been prefixed 'J', was hit by a shell and he was killed. After being initially buried "by the side of the road close to where he was killed", he is now buried in Bancourt British Cemetery, near Bapaume.

from the site: https://sites.google.com/site/landships/home (page checked November 2019)
10th Battalion had 4 tanks in operation on August 30th 1918 in support of the New Zealand Division; they were J7, J41, J29 and J8 which was commanded by 2/Lt GC Oddy.
J8 and J29 were to operate against Bancourt, and to assist infantry exploitation towards Haplincourt. Bancourt was strongly held and the 2 tanks proceeded to mop it up before advancing on Haplincourt.
J8 fired 70 rounds 6 pdr and 500 rounds SAA but was hit twice in the left track and right side of the hull and burnt out whilst returning from to Haplincourt. One crewman was killed, 2/Lt Oddy and a second crewman were wounded.

Although this does not mention Clark by name, the "one crewman killed" ties up with the Chaplain's words "killed instantaneously by a shell which struck the tank". This may well refer to Corporal Clark.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald September 28th 1918
"A Universal favourite."
Mr John Clark, of Walker Street, Toll End, Tipton, has received intimation that his son, Corporal Joseph Clark of the 10th Tank Corps, has been killed in action. As a boy, the deceased attended Ocker Hill Wesleyan Sunday School. He was, prior to joining four years ago, engaged at the Patent Shaft Works, Wednesbury, where he made many friends, who will regret to hear that he has made the supreme sacrifice.
Captain Galler writes to Corporal Clark's father:- "Dear Mr Clark, I wish to express my sincere sympathy with you in the loss you have sustained through the death of your son. He had been a member of my company ever since the battalion had been in France, and I had come to regard him with the utmost affection and respect. His great skill and courage had always been of the greatest assistance to me in all the actions we went through together. His unfailing cheerfulness in the most trying circumstances made him a universal favourite. The loss is felt very keenly, not only by me, but by all his comrades."
The Chaplain writes as follows:- "Dear Mr Clark, I just send you a line of sincere sympathy from us all in your great loss. Corporal J. Clark was killed in action on August 30th. He was killed instantaneously by a shell which struck the tank. The attack was a great success that day, and I need hardly say that each man set a splendid example of courage and devotion. We buried your son's body yesterday by the side of the road close to where he was killed. The spot will be registered. Your son was a fine soldier, and will be very much missed by all the company. It is lives like your sons who inspire those of us who are left to carry on and bring this war to an end, which God wills. May He give you strength to bear your loss with courage and look beyond the troubles of this current time."
Mr J. Clark is well known in mining circles in the district, and he will receive the sincere sympathy of his friends. He still has three sons in the war.
Mr John Clarke, of 24a Walker Street, Toll End, has had the misfortune to lose two sons in the space of a few days, both being killed in action in France. Corporal Joseph Clark, of the Tank Corps, was killed on August 29th, and his brother Private Jonas Clark (19), of the King's Royal Rifles, was killed on the 30th. The parents have two more sons serving in France.

Not the most accurate article, JonaH on the 29th August whilst serving with the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, his brother Joseph was killed on the 30th August. Their mother had died in 1905, so only one parent.

Tipton Herald October 5th 1918
Deep sympathy goes out to Mr John Clark of Ocker Hill, in the loss he has recently sustained in the death of his two sons in the War.
Last week we published an account of the late Corporal Joseph Clark and briefly referred to his brother, Pte. Jonah Clark, of the King's Royal Rifles. We may add that the latter was also a scholar of the Wesleyan Sunday School, and prior to joining last November was engaged at Crown Meadow Colliery, Toll End. Among the expressions of sympathy the father has received is the following letter of condolence which he much appreciated. "Dear Sir, In taking up the newspaper where the death of our son is recorded, we notice that you have been called to bear a double bereavement. Having passed through trials so recently, our hearts are drawn to those who suffer, and we pray that you and yours may be granted that divine comfort and consolation which alone can help and sustain. We mourn the loss of our loved ones but rejoice in the courage and heroism which enabled them to face death for King and Country." Yours in sorrow, L & J.R. Stockdale.