CLARKE, John Patrick
(Service number 8/2558)

Aliases Jack
First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 2 September 1887 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment Douglas Hotel, Moray Place, Dunedin. (WWII) 83 Islington Street, Herne Bay, Auckland
Occupation WWI - Labourer; WWII - Labourer for Government
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Daniel Joseph CLARKE (brother), care of Mrs DAVEY, Cliff Street, Timaru. (WWII) Mrs Ellen CLARKE (wife), 41A Heaton Street, Timaru.
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information (WWII) Height 5 feet 4½ inches. Complexion fair. Eyes green. Hair fair.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 6th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Otago Infantry Battalion
Date 14 August 1915
Transport Willochra or Tofua
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt (3 December 1914)
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Otago Regiment 1st NZEF

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian; Balkans (Mudros, Lemnos); Egyptian Expeditionary Force; Western European
Service Medals WWI - 1914-1915 Star, War Medal, Victory Medal; WWII - War Medal 1939-45, N.Z. War Medal. 
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date WWI - 9 February 1919; WWII - 28 December 1939 Reason WWI - Termination of period of engagement; WWII - Medically unfit

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

14 July 1916 - wounded; admitted to Casualty Clearing Station at Rouen; dangerously ill with gunshot wounds to chest & head; 2 weeks later out of danger; 4 August 1916 admitted to hospital at Chelsea; 23 August transferred to Brockenhurst. February 1917 admitted to General hospital at St Omer with mumps (slight); 6 May 1917 slight gunshot woung to left leg; 16 May admitted to Walton-on-Thames Hospital; became severe wound; 4 June transferred to Convalescent Depot at Hornchurch. September 1917 in hospital. 4 January 1918 admitted to 3rd NZ General Hospital, United Kingdom. 24 July 1918 admitted to hospital - debility.

Post-war Occupations

Postal employee


Date 19 October 1963 Age 76 years
Place of Death Petone
Cause Accident
Notices Timaru Herald, 21 & 22 October 1963
Memorial or Cemetery Taita Lawn Cemetery, Hutt City
Memorial Reference Block 11, Row I, Plot 23
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

John Patrick Clarke was the third son of Daniel and Mary (née McHenry) Clarke. Born on 2 September 1887 at Timaru, he was baptised Catholic nine days later, on 11 September 1893 at Timaru. His only sister, Mary Elizabeth, died in 1886, one year old, and younger brother Arthur died in 1899, aged ten years. When John was just twelve years old his father died - on 28 January 1900, at the family residence in Edward Street. Mrs Mary Clarke died on 20 April 1908. Thus John and his brothers had lost their parents and two siblings. Along with his brothers, John was educated at Timaru Marist Brothers School, apart from a term at Timaru South School in 1895 and another week in 1900.

It appears to be John Clarke named in the forwards for the Marist Brothers School rugby team to play against Winchester School on 21 June 1902. The following week he was again named, this time for a match against Geraldine District High School. In July 1905, J. Clarke was selected for a South Canterbury trial game. Was this young John? If so, he went no further. He appeared again in the Celtic team (the club newly formed in 1906), to travel to Waimate on 24 May 1906, in July for the match against Pirates, in August to play against High School, and in September to meet Temuka, Pirates, and Geraldine, successively. His rugby playing continued throughout 1907, 1908 and 1909. In April 1911 both John and his brother Dan were selected to play for the Celtic Football Club Juniors, and John again in June.

In 1914 John was a labourer for Mr McHenry at Hakataramea, perhaps a relative of his mother’s family. When he enlisted in 1915 he gave his address as Douglas Hotel, Moray Place, Dunedin. In 1914 his oldest brother James and his wife were residing at the Douglas Private Hotel, Dunedin. A labourer, Roman Catholic and single, he nominated as next-of-kin his brother, Daniel Joseph Clarke, care of Mrs Davey, Cliff Street, Timaru – the same address as his brother Charles gave when he enlisted in January 1915. Was Mrs Davey a relative or a boarding house provider? At the beginning of March 1915, John Patrick Clarke passed the medical inspection for the Infantry in Dunedin. Mid April there was an enthusiastic send-off as the men for the Sixth Reinforcements left Dunedin. Huge crowds gathered at the Garrison Hall in the Octagon and at the railway station. At the Garrison Hall, after the roll was called, the men were marched in parties of 20 to the stage, where they received and signed for their kits, the gifts of the Women’s Association and the handiwork of many hundreds of women in the city and suburbs. When final instructions had been given, the men fell in behind the Kaikorai Band and marched to the Octagon. There the men, who were greeted with great cheering, were drawn up facing the Town Hall. Ladies of the Patriotic Association distributed tobacco to all the men. The Mayor wished them “God-speed in the undertaking on which they were starting. They had heard the call of Empire and of right, and they were now proceeding to take their part in the protection of the suffering and supporting the good government, not only of our Empire, but of the world.” He quoted to them the words of Lord Kitchener: “Keep yourselves fit, thus enabling you successfully to carry out all the duties that may be entrusted to you. Be strong and of good courage.” The Rev. Father Coffey advised them “never to lose their individuality, never to lose their personality.” “We were sending them forward with our blessings to fight in a great and glorious cause, he continued. We were sending them forward to bear the flag in foreign parts as Christians.” He asked god to bless them and watch over them, and bring them back safe to this beloved country of ours. The Primate spoke of the principle of liberty, and of the right of every nation to live under its own laws. He pronounced a benediction – “. . . The Lord bless you and keep you. . . . . . bring you back in peace. Amen.” Following the singing of the National Anthem, the men set out, four-abreast, for the railway station. Just after noon ten carriages pulled out, one of them carrying John Patrick Clarke, and still the cheering continued.

Private John Patrick Clark embarked with the Otago Infantry Battalion of the 6th Reinforcements on 14 August 1915. The Battalion left from Wellington, bound for Suez, Egypt. On 6 April 1916 he embarked for France. He was reported wounded on 14 July 1916, and admitted to the Casualty Clearing Station at Rouen. This was just a day after his brother Charles was wounded. He was dangerously ill with gunshot wounds to the chest and head. Fortunately he was reported out of danger two weeks later. But he was admitted to hospital at Chelsea on 4 August. He was transferred on 23 August to Brockenhurst, from where he was discharged on 27 September. It was November when he proceeded overseas again. In February 1917 he was admitted to the General Hospital at St Omer with mumps (slight), and a week later transferred to the Base Depot in France and rejoined his Battalion. A slight gunshot wound to the left leg on 6 May 1917 saw him admitted to Walton-on-Thames Hospital on 16th. He was, however, on the second occasion, wounded severely in the left leg. On 4 June he was transferred to the Convalescent Depot at Hornchurch. In September 1917 he again spent time in hospital. On 4 January 1918 John Clarke was admitted to the 3rd New Zealand General Hospital in the United Kingdom, and discharged from there to Codford. Yet again he proceeded overseas and rejoined his Battalion. Suffering from debility, he was admitted to hospital on 24 July 1918. John was still on active service when his youngest brother Charles died of pneumonia in November 1918, and had by then himself been wounded three times.

On 3 December 1918, having been attached to the Discharge Depot at Torquay in October, Private J. P. Clarke embarked at Liverpool for the return to New Zealand per the “Tahiti”. Transport No. 204, carrying 950 soldiers, reached Port Chalmers on 12 January 1919. After service in the Balkans (Mudros, Lemnos), Egypt and Western European, Private J. P. Clarke was discharged on 9 February 1919, on the termination of his term of engagement. For his service of over three years overseas, he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the victory Medal.

An In Memoriam notice for Charles Clarke was inserted in the Timaru Herald in 1919 and again in 1920 by “his loving brothers”. These were James, Daniel and John, who were the only survivors of the family from November 1918. Mrs Mary Clarke named her second and third sons, Daniel and John respectively, as executors of her Will, which had been made at the Timaru Hospital only on the day of her death when she was extremely weak but in possession of her mental faculties. She bequeathed her land, house and furniture to Daniel and John to hold in trust to keep as a home for her sons who may wish to reside there, until her youngest son (i.e. Charles) reached the age of 21. Thereafter the property was to be sold and converted into money which was to be divided into five parts. John Patrick Clarke also served in World War I. He had embarked in August 1915 and, having survived three wounds, was still at the Front when Charles died.

John Patrick Clarke married Ellen Brosnahan in 1921. John and Ellen lived most of their married life in Timaru, where he worked as a postal employee, and where they brought up a family of eight – five sons and three daughters. It was at Petone that John Patrick died on 20 October 1963, the result of an accident, aged 75 years. An inquest was held. It appears that they had moved there only in about 1963, perhaps to be nearer to family. He was interred in the Servicemen’s Section of Taita Cemetery, Lower Hutt, and his grave bears a serviceman’s plaque. Ellen also died in the Wellington area, in 1976, and was cremated at Karori.

Come 1939 and World War II had erupted. Private John P. Clarke, 14707, Private with No. 7 Platoon, National Military Reserve, Naval Base Devonport, stepped up again. He entered camp on 2 September 1939, his 52nd birthday, and attested the next day at Auckland. His occupation was given as a labourer for the Government. He was 5 feet 4½ inches tall, with a fair complexion, fair hair, and green eyes. A married man with a family, he named as his next-of-kin, his wife, Mrrs Ellen Clarke, 41A Heaton Street, Timaru. His World War II service saw him awarded the War Medal 1939-45 and the New Zealand War Medal. He was discharged on 28 December 1939 as medically unfit.

By his Will, signed on 5 February 1931, John bequeathed all his estate to his wife and appointed her as the sole executrix. A portrait of John Patrick Clarke is printed in Onward: Portraits of the NZEF, Volume I, compiled by P. J. Beattie and M. J. Pomeroy.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [08 October 2013]; NZ Defence Force Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5922 0025541) [14 March 2014]; NZ BDM historical records (DIA) [October 2013]; NZ Electoral Rolls, 1914, Timaru (ancestry) [13 October 2013]; Timaru Herald, 21 & 28 June 1902, 19 July 1905, 22 & 23 May 1906, 10 July 1906, 8 August 1906, 5, 13 & 20 September 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 26 April 1911, 7 & 28 June 1911, 1 August 1916, 24 May 1917, 8 January 1919, Otago Witness, 3 March 1915, Otago Daily Times, 19 April 1915, 7 January 1919, New Zealand Herald, 28 July 1916, New Zealand Times, 28 July 1916, 24 & 26 May 1917, Sun, 29 July 1916, Press, 31 July 1916, Oamaru Mail, 26 May 1917 (Papers Past) [13 & 15 October 2013; 19 October 2014; 04 & 05 June 2019]; Taita Lawn Cemetery Burial Records (Hutt City Cemeteries Online) [13 October 2013]; Taita Lawn Cemetery headstone transcription (South Canterbury Branch NZSG cemetery records microfiche) [12 February 2016], Taita Lawn Cemetery headstone image (Find A Grave); Timaru Herald, 21 & 22 October 1963 (Timaru District Library) [24 June 2014]; Probate record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [11 May 2017]; Baptism record (Christchurch Catholic Diocese Baptism Index CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [02 June 2019]; School Admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [June 2019]; Onward: Portraits of the NZEF, Vol. 1 (held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [2014]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


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