Clifford Burge

Memorial: Olveston

Regiment: Canadian Infantry

Medals: 1914–15 Star, British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 - 1921, Victory Medal

Rank and number: Private 31

Parents: Rose and Henry Burge

Home address: 25 Clarendon Road, Weston-super-Mare

Pre-war occupation: Carpenter

Date of birth: 1890

Date of death: 25/04/1915

Buried/Commemorated at: Ypres Menin Gate Memorial (Panel 24 26 28 30), West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

Age: 25

Further information:

The Burge family home was in Weston-super-Mare, where father Henry was a compositor and a printer’s foreman. The family, who lived at 25 Clarendon Road, comprised mother Rose and children Clifford, Percy, Elsie and young Harry. Their uncle George Burge worked in the prison service

On leaving school Clifford was apprenticed as a carpenter and then joined the Somerset Light Infantry for five years and served in the 4th Battalion. On his release and still a bachelor, he decided to emigrate to Canada, where for a short time he once again took up the trade of carpenter. However, shortly after the outbreak of the war, on the 23rd of September 1914, Clifford, at the age of 24, signed his Attestation Papers at Valcartier in the northern outskirts of Quebec City. With the service number of 31, Private Burge was assigned to the 8th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry, otherwise known as the Manitoba Regiment or, to a group of confused German prisoners, ‘The Black Devils’— hence their eventual cap badge. By now his mother had moved to 212 St Paul’s Road in Weston-super-Mare. There must have been a family member who came to live in the Olveston parish area during or immediately after the First World War; it is not known who this was but it is likely to have been his sister Elsie

In December 1914 the 8th Battalion arrived in England and trained at Westdown and Larkhill Camps in Wiltshire. By February 23rd 1915 they were in the trenches having left Bristol on February 10th in the SS Archimedes and landed at St Nazaire. During the second Battle of Ypres, which started on April 23rd 1915, a major engagement took place at St Julien when the Germans employed a gas attack. The French Colonial (Turcos) troops were in the front line trenches but they retreated under the German advance. The Canadians came forward and with great tenacity repulsed the enemy despite major loss of life. The valour of the Canadian Infantry is remembered in the battle location names of Alberta, Winnipeg and the memorial of the Brooding Soldier at Vancouver Corner. The 8th Battalion was in trenches to the east of St Julien at Gravenstafel with the orders ‘to hold at all costs’ against the encircling Germans

Clifford Burge, who was in ‘A’ Company, died of gas poisoning on the 25th of April and his body is thought to have been buried as a result of heavy German shelling. He is one of the 54,896 men remembered on the Menin Gate at Ypres

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

Forces War Records and CWGC