CLARKE, Francis George Millington
(Service number 1805)
|Aliases||Frank. Enlisted as Frank George CLARKE.|
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||*1887||Place of Birth||Newtown, New South Wales, Australia|
|Date||1 June 1915||Age||27 years 8 months|
|Address at Enlistment|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||F. W. CLARKE (father), Resident Engineer Harbour Board, Timaru, New Zealand|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 9 inches. Weight 138 lbs. Chest measurement 32½-35½ inches. Eyes grey. Hair dark. Free from scrofula; phthisis; syphilis; impaired constitution; defective intelligence; defects of vision, voice or hearing; hernia; haemorrhoids, varicose veins, beyond a limited extent; marked varicocele with unusually pendent testicle; inveterate cutaneous disease; chronic ulcers; traces of corporal punishment, or evidence of having been marked with the letters D. or B.C.; contracted or deformed chest; abnormal curbature of spine; or any other disease or physical defect calculated to unfit him for the duties of a soldier. Can see the required distance with either eye. Heart & lungs healthy. Free use of joints & limbs. Not subject to fits of any description. Fit for Active Service.|
|Served with||Australian Imperial Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||2nd Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||20th Battalion|
|Date||19 June 1915|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||12 April 1917||Reason||In consequence of medical unfitness.|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
4 September 1915 - admitted to hospital ship “Neuralia” at Gallipoli - dysentery; 10 September 1915 - admitted to Malta Hospital – dysentery & catarrh; 26 September 1915 - admitted to hospital ship for England; 4 October 1915 - admitted to 3rd Western Hospital at Cardiff. 26 July 1916 - gunshot wounds to his left shoulder, upper arm & forearm & fingers, hand, back and both legs, dangerously ill; 13 August 1916 embarked on the hospital ship “St Andrew” at Rouen for England; admitted to 3rd London General Hospital – second left finger amputated; artery cut & muscles damaged, nerve cut.
|Date||15 July 1947||Age|
|Place of Death||Sydney Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales|
|Notices||Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1947|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Waverley Cemetery, Sydney, NSW|
|Memorial Reference||Section 16, Row 11, Grave 2121A|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Francis George Millington Clarke was born in 1887 at Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, the oldest son of William Frederick and Ann Davis (née Carter) Clarke. Frederick, a native of New South Wales, married Ann on 23 December 1885, at Stony Creek, New South Wales. They had five children, two of them dying young. Ann herself died of tuberculosis on 25 November 1893 at Newtown. Their father married for a second time, in 1901 in New South Wales, to Mary Boyd. Their son, Cecil, was born in 1902, coming with his parents to Timaru, New Zealand, where his sister Mary was born in 1915. Mr Frederick William Clarke, of Perth, was appointed resident engineer of the Timaru Harbour Board and took up his duties on 2 April 1908. In January 1912 Mr Clarke met with a serious accident at the Harbour Board Quarry. He made good progress towards recovery, although his broken leg had to be set twice. The following year Mrs Clarke, Frederick’s second wife, had a holiday in Australia.
Frank George Clarke enlisted on 1 June 1915 at Liverpool, New South Wales, nominating as next-of-kin his father - F. W. Clarke, Resident Engineer Harbour Board, Timaru, New Zealand. He swore that “I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lord the King in the Australian Imperial Force from May 31st 15 until the end of the War, and a further period of four months thereafter unless sooner lawfully discharged, dismissed, or removed therefrom; and that I will resist His Majesty’s enemies and cause His Majesty’s peace to be kept and maintained; and that I will in all matters appertaining to my service, faithfully discharge my duty according to law.” Twenty-seven years old, employed as a clerk and single, Frank was 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighed 138 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 32½-35½ inches. His eyes were grey, his hair dark. He had good vision and hearing; was free of diseases and physical defects; his heart and lungs were healthy; and he had free use of his joints and limbs. Thus he was fit for Active Service. He was appointed to the 2nd Reinforcements of the 20th Battalion. Private F. G. Clarke embarked on 19 June 1915 at Sydney, per the “Kanowna”.
He was taken on Strength on 31 August and transferred to Mudros on 3 September 1915. On 4 September 1915, Frank Clark, 1805, was admitted to the hospital ship “Neuralia” at Gallipoli, afflicted with dysentery. Six days later he was admitted to Cottonera Hospital at Malta, with dysentery and catarrh. From there he went by Hospital Ship “Reginia D’Italia” to England on 26 September, and was admitted to the 3rd Western Hospital at Cardiff on 4 October. It was 24 March 1916 when he proceeded to join the Expeditionary Force in France, rejoined his Unit and was again taken on Strength. His father received notification to this effect.
In August 1916 Frank embarked on the hospital ship “St Andrew” at Rouen for England. He had been wounded in Action on 26 July 1916 – multiple gunshot wounds to his left shoulder, upper arm and forearm and fingers, hand, back and both legs – and was dangerously ill. Admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital, he had the second left finger amputated. An artery was cut, muscles were damaged and a nerve cut in forearm. He was granted furlough from 29 October until 3 November, when his wounds were nearly healed, and he was to report to No. 2 Convalescent Depot at Weymouth. He was left with permanent disability, and the Medical Board recommendation was that he be discharged as permanently unfit for general service and fit for home service after six months. On 14 January 1917 Frank was rehabilitated from Southampton to Australia per the Hospital Ship “Kanowna”, the ship on which he had left Australia19 months earlier. His father was sent cabled advice to this effect, dated 24 January 1917. Frank reached Melbourne on 8 March, still affected by the gunshot wound to his left arm and left with permanent disability.
Mr F. W. Clarke, engineer to the Harbour Board, received a telegram from the Defence Minister on 9 August 1916, informing him with regret that a cable had been received from Melbourne stating that Mr Clarke’s son, who belonged to the Machine Gun Section of the 20thy Battalion of the Australian Brigade, was dangerously ill from a gunshot wound, in France. The casualty was included in Australian List No. 204. On receiving the cable which advised that his son was wounded and dangerously ill, Frederick Clarke had written on 12 August 1916 to Base Records in Melbourne, asking where his son was, so that he could make enquiries as to his progress. A reply, dated 25 August 1916, was sent to Mr F. W. Clarke, Engineer, Harbour Board, Timaru, NZ, with regard to his son who was dangerously ill from multiple gunshot wounds, providing a postal address – WOUNDED. No. 1805 Private F. G. Clarke, 20th Australian Infantry, C/o A.I.F. Headquarters, 130 Horseferry Road, Westminster, London. S.W.; and a private cable address – 1805 Clarke, Wounded, Ibfov, Care Stralis, London (“Ibfov” being the code word for 20th Battalion, and “Stralis” that for A.I.F. Headquarters). A cable was sent to Wellington on 9 October to inform Frank’s father that he was progressing favourably, another on 20 October to advise that his condition was improving, and another on 8 November that he was convalescent.
Frank George Clarke, 1805, was discharged on 12 April 1917. His wounds had healed but function was still very poor. He married Edith Clare Brown on 18 April 1917 at Randwick, NSW. From this date a pension of £1/2/6 per fortnight was granted to Edith. Frank George Clarke, of 5 Seale Street, Leichhardt, had been granted a pension of £2/5/- per fortnight from 13 April 1917. He was awarded the 194-195 Star, the British War Medal (which was returned in 1938) and the Victory Medal. Frank and Edith lived in Randwick, Frank working as an accountant and a secretary. Good news came for Mr F. W. Clarke, Timaru, in September 1919, when his two sons, Frank and Harry, who had been on active service with the Australian Forces, visited their father in Avenue Road. His brother Harrie had also served with the Australian Forces in World War I. Frederick died at Timaru in 1945, predeceased by his second wife.
Francis George Millington Clarke died on 15 July 1947 at Sydney Hospital, survived by his wife (Edith), a son and three daughters (Frederick, Patricia, Nancy and Mollie). After a service at St Jude’s Church, Randwick, he was buried in the Waverley Cemetery – “F. G. M. Clarke. 1805. Pvte. 20 Battn. A.I.F. Missed by wife & family”.
Attestation Paper for Australian Imperial Force (National Archives of Australia) [08 January 2020]; Australia BDM Indexes (NSW) [24 March 2014]; Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1947 (Trove) [24 March 2014]; Australian Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [24 March 2014]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [24 March 2014]; Timaru Herald, 11 & 27 January 1912, 19 July 1913, 6 October 1915, 10 August 1916, 4 September 1916, 20 September 1919, Otago Witness, 13 October 1915, NZ Times, 28 October 1915, Evening Post, 12 August 1916, 14 October 1916, Dominion, 16 October 1916 (Papers Past) [24 March 2014; 14 June 2019; 08 & 10 January 2020]; australia Cemetery Index (per ancestry.com.au) [08 January 2020]; Waverley Cemetery, NSW, headstone transcription (per ancestry.com.au) [08 January 2020]
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Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC brnach NZSG
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