Sidney Clarke

Memorial: Almondsbury - Sunday's Hill

Regiment: Gloucestershire Regiment

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

Rank and number: Private 30541

Parents: Walter and Rose Clarke

Marital status: Married

Home address: Lilybed Cottage, Pilning, Bristol

Pre-war occupation: Baker's Assistant

Date of birth: 1893

Place of birth: Saltford, Bath

Date of death: 30/10/1917

Buried/Commemorated at: Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 72 to 75), Belgium

Age: 25

Further information:

Sidney was the son of Walter and Rose Clarke. His father, Walter, was born in Bristol and his mother Roseina (Rose) came from Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. In 1911 Walter and Rose were living at 9 Blands Row, Redwick, Pilning, with six children; Sidney aged (18), Walter (12), Dorothy (8), Alfred (5), Edwin (3) and Norah Kathleen 3 months old. Walter was a Rural Postman and Sidney was a baker's assistant. Sidney, Walter and Dorothy were born in Saltford, Somerset, near Bath while Alfred, Edwin and Norah were all born in Pilning.

In 1917 Sidney was living with his wife Lilian Mabel Clarke in Lilybed Cottage, Pilning, Bristol.

Sidney enlisted in Bristol (No. 30541) in 1917, in the 14th (Service) Battalion (West of England) Gloucestershire Regiment. This Regiment was involved in the West European theatre of war, around Flanders.

Sidney Clarke was Killed in Action on 30 October 1917 aged 25 and he is remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 72 to 75) in Belgium.

Sidney's brother, Walter is also remembered on the Pilning memorial.

The 14th (West of England) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment was raised at Bristol on the 22nd April 1915, by the Citizens Recruiting  Committee, as a Bantam Battalion, with troops who were under the normal regulation minimum height of 5 feet 3 inches. After initial training close to home, on the 23rd June the Battalion was adopted by the War Office, they joined 105th Brigade, 35th Division at Masham, Yorkshire. The Division moved to Salisbury Plain for final training in August  They were ordered to Egypt in late 1915, but the order was cancelled and they proceeded to France, landing at Le Havre on 30th January 1916, the Division was concentrated east of St Omer. They were in action during the Battles of the Somme at Bazentin Ridge, Arrow Head Copse, Maltz Horn Farm and Falfemont Farm.

The Division received new drafts of men to replace losses suffered on the Somme, but the Commanding Officer soon discovered that these new recruits were not of the same physical standard as the original Bantams, being men of small stature from the towns, rather than the miners and farm workers who had joined up in 1915. A medical inspection was carried out and 1439 men were transferred to the labour camps. Their places were taken by men transferred from the disbanded yeomanry regiments, who underwent a quick training course in infantry methods at a Divisional depot set up specifically for that purpose.

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

Publication: Village Heroes. Pilning and Severn Beach History Group. Nancy Vowles and Val George researched and put together the information. Forces War Records, CWGC and