JOSEPH EDWIN CLARK
8TH YORKS AND LANCS REGIMENT
(PREVIOUSLY WEST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT)
2ND BRADFORD PALS
Twins, Joseph Edwin and Frances Rebecca Clark, were born on 2nd December 1894 to Joseph and Rebecca Clark then of Wellington Terrace, Laisterdyke. By 1911, Joseph (senior) had died leaving his wife and three children still at home, Frances is not listed.
Joseph E. now worked as a pawn broker. An article in the Bradford Weekly Telegraph following his death listed his previous occupations as foundry worker plumber.
Joseph E Clark joined up on the 30th April 1915 to become 18/1101 of the West Yorkshire Regiment – the second Bradford Pals.
Records are incomplete, however it is believed that Joseph E was wounded in the 2nd Pals attack on Serre on 1/7/1916 . He was sent back to England, however the wound may not have been serious, as even slightly wounded men were returned to England during periods of heavy fighting. Whereas during quieter periods those having only minor wounds were treated in France .
Joseph E after recovery returned to France at Le Havre on 3rd Set 1916. Joseph Edwrad Clark now became 34401 Private Clark J.E. of the 8th Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment and would serve with them through the remainder of the battle of the Somme in 1916 and through the battle of Arras and Messines in April and June 1917.
August 1917, War Diaries of the 8th Y&L lists:
The battalion coming up to Ypres Salient with their senior officers reconnoitring the line in front of Zillebeke on the 25th.
On the 25th/26th August the battalion was in close support to an attack made by the 7th Rifle Brigade . That had concluded on the 29th when it was reported ‘Battalion held front line without special incident’ They were relieved the following day. The casualties for this tour in the line were 12 other ranks killed, and 3 officers and 41 other ranks wounded.
One of the 12 other ranks killed was Joseph Edwin Clark. It is not known precisely what happened. However he was buried at this location (Map Ref J.13.D.90.87) and his personal belongings were collected and sent back to his mother in January 1918.
Bradford weekly Telegraph published on 21st Sept 1917
‘Private Joseph E Clark
Joined the Bradford Pals on its formation, wounded 1st July 1916 and transferred to Yorks and Lancs regiment on his recovery. Four times wounded prior to his death. Worked at Regian Foundry Leeds Road, having previously worked as a plumber at Sticker Lane.
Regiment C O Major J.E. Barlow wrote to his mother ‘I hasten to offer my sympathy and tell you how much we all regret loosing such a good fellow from our battalion. Your son was with me in my company and we went through hard times together. He was always brave as a lion., and good true hearted little soldier. I had spoken to him just before he was killed and was very cheery and looking forward to his relief that evening. I am proud to have such a fine boy in my company and I offer my deepest sympathy in your greatest loss. I am sure such a good fellow shall be missed tremendously from your home.’
Joseph’s grave marker was subsequently lost . However his mother Rebecca, then aged 69 and still living at 2 New Lane, received a letter n 1925 telling her that her sons body had been found and identified by his two identity tags. The offer was made to return these to her although the letter stated ‘although harmless from a medical point of view, may be objectionable on account of the disagreeable odour emitting therefrom.’
Joseph’s body was exhumed and reburied in Ypres reservoir cemetery Plot X Row D Grave 13 where it remains to this day.
The many visitors to this cemetery in Ypres may come across Joseph’s gravestone with its badge Yorkshire and Lancashire regiment and wander on…. But now, maybe some from Bradford might stop here for a while and remember this soldier was once a Bradford Pall.