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Clarke T G  Pte  2830

Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 8 years, 10 months ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918


Private Thornton Clarke, courtesy of the North Essendon Methodist Church.


Clarke T G  Pte    2830    Thornton Gainsborough   8 Inf Bn    23    Electrical engineer    Married    Meth       

Address:    Preston   

Next of Kin:    Clarke, G, Mrs, wife, “Athelstone”, Cromer St, Northcote   

Enlisted:    7 Jul 1915       

Embarked:     SS Makarini 15 Sep 1915   

Born in Essendon


Served briefly on the Gallipoli Peninsula with the 8 Inf Bn, joining with the 9th Reinforcements on 7 December 1915.  By 7 January 1916 he landed at Alexandria after the evacuation, and was appointed to be Lance Corporal on 19 Feb 1916 at Serapeum.  On 24 Feb 1916 Clarke was transferred to the 60 Inf Bn.  On 26 June 1916 he disembarked with the 60th Bn at Marseilles. Less than a month later, on 19 July 1916 he was reported missing in action,  4 Aug 1917 a Court of Enquiry in France determined that he had been Killed in Action on the day he went missing, 19 July 1916.


Date of death: 19/07/1916   Corporal   60th Battalion

CWGC:  "Son of Arthur and Rebecca Ann Clarke; husband of Annie M. Clarke, of "Athelstone,"

Cramer St., Preston, Victoria. Native of Essendon, Victoria".






The many Essendon friends of Corporal Thornton G. ("Tom"') Clarke, Essendon's (Association) well-known goal-kicker, will be glad to hear that he is still hale and hearty, and his present address is "On the Canal, Egypt". He played several games of football while at Lemnos, before going to the front, and was appointed captain of the 8th Battalion's team. He says, writing on board the transport from Lemnos to Egypt:--"I expect my captainship will extend to Egypt, and I hope to have a few good games over there."


"Tom" was at Anzac only a few weeks, where, he says, he did some heavy pick and shovel work in running long saps into and under hills; especially one going through a hill. It was called Lady Galway's tunnel, after a benefactress of the boys who did so much hard work there. While in "Victoria Gully," on the Peninsula, he says:-"We had plenty of work to do. Great water bags, with the best part of a hundredweight of water in them, lugging them for about two miles up the steep hills, and, what was worse, down the hills, dodging the dug-outs, etc. But we did not mind that. It all had its humorous side, and many a good laugh we had when one or the other slipped and had a harmless fall, and there were many of them."


In regard to the evacuation, he says:-"I believe the people in Melbourne had an idea it was to take place; but we men did not know till about two days before we actually moved. All our battalion got off safe and sound. It was altogether a wonderful military movement, and the men behaved themselves at their best. It paid them to do it, for a single blunder might have meant the losing of a great many lives. We left our bivouac at 5 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, the 18th December, and had to march up a big hill, down the other side, along the beach in great saps dug out for protection from shell-fire, which wound in and out all the way. Out of the saps, up a ledge on the side of another hill, down again into a gully, and along this gully to the beach. We were halted in this gully until our turn came to go off to the boat. We rushed up the pier to great big barges. driven by their own engines, and out to the steamer.


There were a few stray rifle bullets flying around, but nobody was hit, so all was well. What a chance the Turks missed. It was peculiar that the gun we called "Beachy" did not fire more than three shells during the night--the quietest for a long time. What a harvest they missed, for the shells used to land all round the piers. We were all stuck out on the decks of the barges, and could not move, and you may guess that everybody was thankful when we reached the steamer. We were jammed up like rabbits on the boat coming away, but it was not for long, as we were only aboard 24 hours. I have seen some brave men since I left home, but the men who run the trawlers, barges and launches in and out each night, and never know when a shell or a rifle bullet will catch them, deserve all praise. The men all round are a fine lot of chaps. Of course, there are wasters among them, but they do not deserve, and do not get, our sympathy. Fancy the luck of things. Three of our chaps were wounded the day after we landed on the peninsula. It just shows how the game goes, for there are men here who were here from the first, and never even got scratched! I got through all right, and somehow I can't say that I ever felt afraid of being shot." "Tom" sends kind regards to all old Essendon friends.


FOOTBALL AT LEMNOS. (1916, March 9). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 6 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved January 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74592229


The relatives of Thornton G. Clarke have received official notification from the Defence Department that he is "Missing" since the 19th July. Corporal Clarke is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Clarke, of Glen Huntly, late of Essendon. Corporal "Tom" Clarke will be well known to Essendon football followers, having been champion goal-kicker of the Association for the last two seasons, playing for Essendon. He left for the front exactly twelve months ago, and was in the evacuation of Gallipoli. Before going to the front he was employed at Weymouth's electric works, at Burnley, as an electrical engineer.


ROLL OF HONOR. (1916, September 14). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 6 Edition: Morning. Retrieved February 8, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74594135


SPORTING -ECHOES By "Rambler." Thornton G. Clarke (familiarly known as "Tom" by admirers of his football prowess), who left with the Australian   forces some considerable time ago, has been missing since July 19. Clarke   will be remembered as the champion Association goal-kicker of the last two seasons with Essendon A.


SPORTING ECHOES. (1916, September 14). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 6 Edition: Morning. Retrieved February 9, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74594114





Grange Road

Glen Huntley



16th October 1916


Miss Vera Deakin

Australian Branch

Inquiry Bureau for Missing Soldiers



Dear Miss Deakin


I saw the other day that your father had left Melbourne for London to visit you, and only then learnt that you were working with the Inquiry Bureau for Missing soldiers.


Both Mrs Clarke and myself having known your father for many years in the old days, and having been associated with him in long connection with "The Age" emboldens me to write to you.


My only son, Thornton Gainsborough Clarke, left Melbourne in the AIF on 10th September, 1915.  He was in Gallipoli for some weeks and was in the evacuation.  A corporal on board the transport, he lost his stripes as was usual on reaching Egypt, but wrote us at intervals that he was lance corporal and after that corporal.


The last letter we received from him was written on board a transport approaching Marseilles on 25th June.  The Defence Department notified his wife (he married at the time of his enlistment) that he was "Missing" on 19th July.  We afterwards received a Service Card bearing, strange to say, the very date 19.7.16, but it had no where-abouts on it.  No further news has come to hand.  His full address was as follows: 

No 2830

Corporal Thornton G Clarke

D Company, 60th Battalion

15th Infantry Brigade

5th Australian Division



We are most anxious to find out something about him, and if your Bureau could ascertain and let us know any particulars whatever we should be immensely obliged.   Thanking you beforehand for any trouble that you may take in this matter, and hoping that your father's indifferent health will be much improved ere this reaches you,


I am, dear Miss Deakin,

Very sincerely yours,

Arthur Clarke.



"Killed 19.7.16"

Re T G Clarke, 60th Battn, I am sorry to say that he was killed on July 19/16.  I was personally acquainted with him and was with him almost up to the time he was killed.  I can speak with safety when I say that he is dead, as I saw his body on the field after the charge and examined it.


Letter from Cpl D Ogilvy

C Coy, 60th Battn, AIF.

France 4.10.16

London 28.2.18  Note. 

We regret delay in typing the above report, but we have been obliged

to up on account of pressure of work and shortage of machines.


"He was a Cpl.  I saw his dead body lying out in No Man's Land on July 20th at Fleurbaix as I was crawling in after the action.  It lay near that of Sgt G Power.  I knew him very well.  He was transferred into D Pl, C Co from D Co not long before the Fleurbaix affair.

Reference Cpl D Ogilvy, 2650 C Co

Etaples 15.1.17



Application to Enlist MT1486/1 http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=6521503


Mentioned in this publication

Essendon Gazette 23 Aug 1915, regarding a Farewell for members of the Essendon Football Club (Association)



War Service Commemorated   

Essendon Town Hall A-F

Essendon State School                                                       

North Essendon Methodist Church                                                                   

Essendon Gazette Roll of Honour Missing



In Memoriam


CLARKE- Killed in action, on the 19th July

1916 (previously reported missing), at the

battle of Armentieres, Corporal Thornton

G. Clarke, our much loved brother,

who gave his life for us all, aged 24 years

A young life nobly, and well ended.

-Inserted by his sister and brother in law,

Mr. and Mrs, R. H. Wilkinson, Maitland

street, East Malvern.


CLARKE A sincere and affectionate tribute to

the memory of my best friend, Corporal

Thornton ("Tom") G. Clarke, who offered

the supreme   sacrifice at the Battle of

Armentieres, on the 19th July, 1916,

previously reported missing.

An Anzac.

For God, for King, for country.

-(Inserted by Sergeant L. A. Wilkinson*, on

active service abroad.)


* Probably Sgt Leonard Albert Wilkinson, 8 Inf Bn.


CLARKE -Reported missing, since the 19th July.

1916, Thornton, dearly loved brother of Edith

and George Gay, of Ivanhoe, and dear uncle

of Dulcie, Kenneth, Dick, and baby Thornton.

His life was gentle, and the elements

so mixed in him. that Nature might stand up and

say to all the world, "This was a man."

(Inserted by Edith and George.)

The Argus 19 July 1917



CLARKE -In loving memory of Thornton Gains-

borough Clarke (Corporal 'Tom' Clarke 60th

Battalion AIF), only son of Arthur and Re-

becca Clarke, of Grange road Glenhuntley, for-

merly of Essendon, killed at Fleurbaix, France,

on 19th July 1916

A true son; a good sport; a brave soldier 


CLARKE A tribute of love to the memory of

our dear brother. Corporal Thornton G Clarke

and fond uncle of Joy and Nell, who was killed

in action at Fleurbaix 19th July 1916

(inserted by Reg and Iris, Glenhuntly )

The Argus 21 July 1919





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