Private 65201 Jonah Clark

Clark Jonah 96 400x600

Died of Wounds on Thursday, 29th August 1918, age 19.
Buried in Grave IV. E. 9. at Douchy-Les-Ayette British Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

5th Bn., King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. 187th Brigade of 62nd Division.
Formerly 60889 West Yorkshire Regiment.

Son of Mr John Clark, of 24a Walker Street, Toll End, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Coseley, Enlisted: Lichfield, 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/582765/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Jonah Clark registered September quarter 1899 in Dudley.

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, Cola 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
245 Toll End Road, Tipton, Staffs.
William Wilkes (71, Railway Porter, born Alvechurch), his wife Sarah Ann (68, born Worcester), and Lily May Clarke (14, Boarder, born Coseley), and Jonah Clarke (11, Boarder, born Coseley).

Personal Data

Jonah 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 Jonah's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/0/10d (2 pounds and 10 pence); this was paid to his father and sole legatee, John, in December 1918. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Jonah had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

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

Action resulting in his death

Jonah Clarke died on wounds on 29th August 1918 and was buried in Douchy-les-Ayette British Cemetery. His was one of the original 81 graves, the cemetery was expanded post-war by the concentration of graves from numerous small cemeteries.

We cannot be sure when Jonah received the wounds which led to his death, but statistically it was likely to have been 27th August 1918 near Mory, which is about 6 miles west of Douchy-les-Ayette.

Orders for an attack by the 62nd Division at the village of Mory were received during the afternoon of 25th August. The attack was to commence at 6am on 26th August following a barrage by British artillery. Further orders were received on the afternoon of the 26th for a continuation of the attack the next day (Tuesday 27th August) at 7.30am.

The 5th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (5/KOYLI) came into action on 27th August. Their objective for the attack was a sunken road running north-south about ½ mile west of the village of Vraucourt; on the sunken road, at a cross roads, lay a sugar factory. 'D' Company was to lead the attack, with 'B' Company in support.

Everything progressed well until the attacking troops came to the road junction north-east of the factory when they were hit by fire from German machine gunners who had managed to survive the artillery barrage.

The War Diary of the 5/KOYLI states: "On ascertaining the situation Lieut. R.A. Houghton who was in command of the support company, collecting what men he could from his own company and other units, took up a defensive line which he was ordered to hold at all costs. Parties of the attacking company ('D') who were absolutely cut off dribbled in during the afternoon and at night along Banks Trench and around the left flank."

During the attack, 5/KOYLI suffered 24 Other Ranks and 4 Officers killed, and 114 Other Ranks wounded.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald September 28th 1918
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 (not Jonas) 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.