Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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6792   Private James Herbert Clarke
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 21/08/2018
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 01/05/1882
Died: 08/11/1914 (Died of Wounds)
Age: 32
Summary      
James Herbert Clarke was the husband of Elizabeth (Lilly) Helen Clarke (nee Steenson) of Milburn Street, Cookstown and later of Montreal, Canada. James Herbert Clarke was born and educated in Coleraine. He joined the army in 1899. He served throughout the Boer War in South Africa. In 1908 he returned to Cookstown where he married Lilly, who was the daughter of Mr James Steenson, Milburn Street. At the out break of World War1 he was called to Cowshot, Hampshire to rejoin the army, the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. James Clarke was severely wounded at St. Marguritte on 7th November 1914 and died from his wounds the next day. He was 32 years old and left a widow and four children.
Private James Herbert Clarke
Further Information
James Herbert Clarke was the son of Henry and Mary Clarke. Henry Clarke and Mary McFetridge were married on 21st June 1881 in the district of Coleraine.
James Clarke was born in Coleraine on 1st May 1882. He was the eldest of two sons.
Known family: Henry Clarke, Mary Clarke, James Clarke (born 1st May 1882), John ‘Jack’ Clarke (born 10th April 1885).
James was educated in Coleraine at the Irish Society School.
Irish Society School, Coleraine
After leaving school he worked as a telegraphist in Coleraine.
James Clarke joined the army in 1899.
He served throughout the Boer War in South Africa and had the medal and clasps for several engagements.
In 1905 he went to Cairo, where he served for three years as a training instructor at a regimental school.
He took his discharge in 1908, having served nine years with the colours.
He left Egypt in and returned to Cookstown where he married Lilly, who was the daughter of Mr James Steenson, Milburn Street, NO RECORD OF THIS CAN BE FOUND
Millburn Street, Cookstown
In 1909, James and Lilly left Cookstown to live in Paisley, Scotland. He worked as a ‘red leader’ in the shipyard there for the Fullerton company.
On the outbreak of the war he was mobilised, and was called to Cowshot, Hampshire to re-join the army.
James and his family returned to Cookstown. On 5th August, he went to Omagh and joined up with his old regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
The 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were part of the 4th Division sent to the Western Front on 22nd August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force and they took part in the action at the Battle of Messines between 10th October and 2nd November 1914.
Private James Clarke was severely wounded at St. Marguritte on 7th November 1914 and was taken to Number 10 Field Ambulance Hospital where he died from his wounds the next day.
His wife received a letter from the captain of her husband’s regiment informing her that he had been wounded in action on 7th November. She later received official intimation that he died the following day.
Private James Herbert Clarke was 32 years old and left a widow and four children. The family were living at 2 Springbank Road, Paisley, Scotland at the time of his death.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 9th January 1915: Lance Corporal James H Clarke
Mrs J H Clarke, 2 Springbank Road, Paisley, wife of Lance Corporal James H Clarke, of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and daughter of Mr James Steenson, Millburn Street, Cookstown, received a letter from the captain of her husband’s regiment informing her that he had been wounded in action on 7th November. Later she received intimation from the War Office that her husband died the following day at No 10 Field Ambulance from his wounds. Lance Corporal Clarke was a telegraphist in Coleraine in 1899, in which year he joined the Inniskillings. He fought throughout the South African war, and had the medal and clasps for several engagements. He left South Africa in 1905 and proceeded to Cairo, where for three years he taught in the regimental school. He took his discharge in 1908, having served nine years with the colours. A year ago the family removed to Paisley, where the deceased was employed in Messrs. Fullerton’s shipyard as a red leader. On the outbreak of the war he was mobilised, and proceeded to Omagh to join his regiment on 5th August. From there he went to the continent and fought up till 7th November, where he was mortally wounded at St Marguerite’s. He leaves a widow and four young children, to whom the sympathy of all will go out. Lance Corporal Clarke has a brother, Mr Jack Clarke, on the staff of the Ulster Gazette, Armagh.
Private Clarke is buried in grave B 23 at Bailleul Communal Cemetery, Nord, France.
Many thanks to Geert Brouckaert, who photographed the headstone.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 11th November 1916:
CLARKE – In fond and loving memory of my dear husband, James Herbert Clarke, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who died on 8th November 1914, of wounds received in action on 7th November.
‘Weep not, mourn not, for our hero hath gone,
To reap in Heaven his true reward.’
Inserted by his sorrowing wife and little ones. Lily Clarke. Millburn Street, Cookstown.
Private James Herbert Clarke is commemorated on Coleraine Memorial
Private James Herbert Clarke is also commemorated on Coleraine Congregational Church and at The Irish Society School, where he was educated.
The CWGC record Private James Herbert Clarke as the son of Henry and Mary Clarke, of Coleraine, Co. Londonderry and also as the husband of Elizabeth Helen Clarke, of 24005, St. Dominique, Montreal, Canada.
James was the brother of Jack Clarke who worked for the ‘Ulster Gazette’ in Armagh.
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Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Millburn Street Cookstown North Wife from Millburn Street 54.650696 -6.745783
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 Coleraine War Memorial Listed on Coleraine War Memorial (includes photo)
2 FindAGrave.com Gravestone photo of Private James Herbert Clarke
3 Lennox Wylie - Coleraine Heroes Commemorated in Coleraine Congregational Church, includes photo
4 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here
5 Paisley's Fallen in The War Lists James Henry Clarke
6 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Private James H Clarke's grave can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2018