2nd Lieutenant Arthur F Clarke was attending the 5th Battalion annual camp in Wales when war broke out. He spent the first months of the war moving between Scarborough, Hull, Newcastle, Hartlepool and Darlington. On the 18th April 1915 he went out to France and was wounded during a gas attack on the 26th May 1915. The Green Howards Gazette records:
“The day seemed interminable as the poor shelter had to be hugged tight all the time. With darkness came the order that we were to pass through GHQ lines and take up a front line position in Zouave Wood facing Hooge, where the main attack by the enemy had been made. That little strip of ground has since been the cockpit of our Western front. On our journey up another man was killed, and Lieutenant A F Clarke was wounded. That tour was destined to be the worst we had so far entered upon.”
We know he returned to the front line as the Green Howard Gazette for January 1916 records that he was wounded. He rose to the rank of Captain in November 1916.
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John was born in Leeds on the 31st July 1892. He was the eldest of five children. The family obviously moved round the country a lot as the 3rd youngest child was born in Liverpool and the two youngest children were born in Nottingham. John’s father originated from Norfolk, his mother from Hawnby in the North York moors. At some point the family settled in Great Yarmouth, the 1911 census giving an address as 86 Churchill Road. It was in Great Yarmouth that John married Dora (Dolly) Mary McQueen in September 1924. By 1939 they were living in Richmond, John’s occupation being a Secondary School Master, with Dora doing unpaid domestic duties. There does not appear to be a record of any offspring. John was obviously heavily involved with the town of Richmond and the people as he served as town mayor in 1957/8. John died on the 23rd November 1982 aged 90. At the time of his death he was living at 8 Gilling Road. During WW1 John served as a pilot, with the rank of Captain, in the Royal Flying Corps. John had joined the 10th Squadron RFC at Abeele, an airfield near Ypres Belgium, in May 1917. The 10th had been formed at Farnborough on the 1st January 1915. In April 1918 it would be re-designated the 10th Squadron RAF. Initially John flew De Havilland BE2s, a 2 seat biplane until the Squadron was re-equipped with Armstrong Whitworth FK8s, general purpose biplanes with a synchronised Vickers machine…
Wilfred was born in March 1896 in Marske by the Sea near Redcar on the East coast. When he was young his family moved to Middlesbrough where his father worked in the steelworks. Wilfred was training as a draughtsman when war broke out. Wilfred was just 5’ 2’’ tall, an inch shorter that the regulation height. But due to the great manpower losses he eventually got his chance in early 1915 when recruitment standards were somewhat relaxed. He enlisted in the 4th Battalion. It was in November of 1916 in the latter stages of the Somme offensive that the work party that Wilfred had volunteered for came under fire. On his way back to his own lines he was caught by a shell explosion. He was taken to a hospital at Abbeville where his left arm was amputated. Back in England Wilfred had to adjust to life without a limb. He was classed as ‘incurably unemployable’ and found it impossible to get a job. He used his time to study employment law and became a ceaseless campaigner for better conditions of his fellow jobless war wounded. He would continue to do so even when after he eventually gained employment. He was instrumental in establishing one of the first branches of BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association) in Teesside. He married Elsie and his daughter Sylvia was born in 1932. However, his fifty cigarettes a day habit for most of his life would take their toll. He died of lung cancer in…
Private Firby was born in 1883 and came from Richmond, living at 49 Newbiggin. He enlisted on 12th December 1914 at the age of 31. He was a ‘Commission Agent’. He was posted to the 6th battalion on 24th August 1915 and arrived in Gallipoli on 8th September. He was wounded by shrapnel on 25th October 1915 when, according to the Battalion War Diary, at 9.30 in the morning there was a ‘Fire display by the Turks along whole of the front. 8 men wounded by shrapnel.’ He returned home on 15th November 1915. He appears among the list of wounded in the December 1915 edition of The Green Howards Gazette. On recovering from his wounds, Private Firby was transferred to the Labour Corps on 22nd May 1917 and he saw out the remainder of the war with the Labour Corps. Private Firby was examined by a Medical Board on 9th March 1917 and was in The Royal Victoria Hospital, Edinburgh on 29th July 1918 when a copy of The New Testament was presented to him. Private Firby was discharged from military service on 4th April 1919. Private Firby was again examined in 1920 and 1921 and declared to have a 40% disability, the cause being listed as ‘Bronchitis’ and granted an award of 8 shillings per week.