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TOPIC: Fredrick John Clarke

Fredrick John Clarke 4 years 11 months ago #24404

  • SusieW
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Hi Ian

I'm (hopefully) attaching the copy from the Bucks Standard which gives all the information I have about Fredrick Clark. It is actually notification about the death of his son (who's plane went down in WWII) but it gives a potted history of Fred's military career - just in case this helps. It's all I have had to go on.

Many thanks once again.

Susie

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Fredrick John Clarke 4 years 11 months ago #24405

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Susie
Well at least the newspaper cutting gives us some idea of his medals: QSA, KSA, WW1 trio (including either a 1914 Star or a 14-15 Star), LSGC and MSM. A pity the 2692 Clarke was not your GGF; why not try having some research done - or do it yourself if you are PC savvy - concerning the possible Clarkes on the 1st Bn Suffolk Regt medal rolls? Then a matter of trying for the enlistment papers, etc., if they still survive.
There are a lot of pitfalls and blind alleys in this game. Just a matter of knowing how far you want to go. Even if you come up with nothing really concrete, your GGF had an excellent career in Empire service!
Regards
IL.

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Fredrick John Clarke 4 years 11 months ago #24503

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Susie,

Well tracing your ancestor is going to be difficult.

I have been looking at every piece of reference material I have, which is quite considerable and I cannot find him serving with the Suffolk Regiment during the Boer War.

I have checked the following:

Regimental Journal
Queen's South Africa Medal Roll
King's South Africa Medal Roll
South African Field Force Casualty Returns
Records of Released Prisoners

The newspaper article mentions him being a POW for twelve months - I can confirm that no member of the Suffolk Regiment was a POW for this long. The Regiment arrived in the Cape Colony on the 28th of November 1899; I stand to be corrected, but I believe that all British Prisoners who had been in captivity for a great period of time had been released before November 1900, making this detail unlikely.

Also, the newspaper article mentions a South African Medal with five bars. This must relate to the Queen's South Africa Medal. The average amount of bars to the QSA Medal awarded to the Suffolk Regiment was three. There are a few who had four bars, who served away from the Regiment with the 8th Mounted Infantry and there are some who had five bars, who served with the 1st Mounted Infantry, unfortunately, your ancestor isn't amongst them.

There are numerous omissions and mistakes throughout historical records, but as I can't find him anywhere in any of the documents relating to the Suffolk Regiment, I am inclined to think that your ancestor served with another regiment and possibly also in the Mounted Infantry, given the QSA Medal with five bars.

The Bars or clasps were awarded in recognition of a soldier being at a particular battle or being active in a particular area for a set period of time. Hence the Mounted Infantry and Cavalry units tend to have more bars to their medals, because they were more mobile and able to get to so many places.

I do not have a subscription to Ancestry, but maybe someone who has could do a more general search on your behalf in the hope of identifying his records, otherwise it will involve a trip to the National Archives.

I also checked the London Gazette in an attempt to find the entry for him being 'Mentioned in Despatches' during WW1, but without more detail this was also to no avail.

I am sorry to have to say that I have drawn a blank on this one, but maybe someone else can help?

Kind regards

Ian

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Fredrick John Clarke 4 years 11 months ago #24508

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Dear Ian

Thank you so much for taking the time to look at all these things - it is very good of you. I'll get on the case with Ancestry and will speak to the older members of the family to see if they can provide any more clues.

With best wishes,

Susie

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Fredrick John Clarke 4 years 11 months ago #24509

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That is certainly a very interesting piece of newspaper, in particular, the reference to "three South African medals with five clasp's" I wonder if that was correct, I also note that he is not referred to in the past sense, so, was alive at the time and had survived the Great War, do you know where and when he died, also you mention a photograph in an earlier post?
Looking at this from just the Anglo Boer War, the piece of newspaper and the other information you mention, one does tend to assume that he did serve in the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regt, if that was indeed the case, then an omission would need to have taken place in the published casualty returns, not so unusual, they are merely transcribed from the originals.
Five clasp's does indeed lend itself nicely to a QSA/KSA pair of medals for the war to this regiment, Clarke is a very common name in this regiment throughout it's existence, but, if he enlisted using an alias then this matter becomes more difficult.
We have examined John Clarke already, so assuming the name is correct, a very brief look at WO100/174 and WO100/323 leaves us with 4474 Corporal F Clarke and 2203 Private F Clarke, we can discount the latter, after a brief look at WO364, Frederick Clarke joined the regiment in 1888 at the age of 18 years old and was born in Hadleigh, moreover, he did not receive a KSA and did not have the "five clasp's" referred to already.
So we are left with only 4474 Corporal F Clarke as a possible candidate, he certainly does not jump out at me when I looked for him yesterday, I will look again in due course.

SusieW wrote: Hi Ian

I'm (hopefully) attaching the copy from the Bucks Standard which gives all the information I have about Fredrick Clark. It is actually notification about the death of his son (who's plane went down in WWII) but it gives a potted history of Fred's military career - just in case this helps. It's all I have had to go on.

Many thanks once again.

Susie

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Fredrick John Clarke 4 years 11 months ago #24510

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I think the next best thing to do would be to talk to your family, without the newspaper and see what they actually do know, of course, if you did find his medals, then assuming they were his, then you have found your man, beyond doubt and quite regardless of the regiment/corps that they are named to.

SusieW wrote: Hi Ian

I'm keeping everything crossed this is the same person - but you are right, we need to be sure.

Frederick John b. 1st Jan 1878 in Thurlton, Norfolk (moved to Suffolk aged 3 yrs to Blythburgh and often in the census returns this is put down as his place of birth).

Parents Thomas Charles Clarke and Anna (nee Scarll).

Not sure of his medals because they are "lost" somewhere in the family. All I know is that there were 7 of them (we have fuzzy photograph of them) one of which has bars on it; one looks like a star. Only detail as mentioned in the newspaper article. Apparently he was "mentioned in dispatches" and my aunt remembers a letter signed by ?the king and/or Churchill - but alas that has gone the same way as the medals.

Hope that helps.

Thank you so much for all your help.

Best wishes,

Susie

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