Clifford John Clarke
Serial No. 6290
Clifford John Clarke - Information
The Clarkes were a large Picton family. Clifford was born in Burragorang in 1898 to Joseph Stuart and Annie Elizabeth Clarke, and grew up in the area with his siblings. While his family resided in The Oaks, Clifford lived in Picton, where he worked as a farmer. At the age of 18, he enlisted in the AIF in Goulburn on the 13th of June 1916. Clifford joined up with his older brother George Thomas. They commenced their training at Goulburn, and were placed with the 1st Squad Australian Light Horse at Menangle Park in August. They were then posted to the 18th Reinforcements, 20th Battalion. Boarding the HMAT Suevic in Sydney, they left for war service on the 11th of November 1916.
Clifford and George landed in Devonport on the 30th of January 1917 and were marched into the 5th Training Battalion in Rollestone. In February, Clifford reported to the King George Hospital with influenza. He returned to training in March, before proceeding to France in June. At the end of the month, he joined the 20th Battalion in the lines, reuniting with his brother. The 20th Battalion was then shifted to the Ypres Sector in Belgium for the upcoming Third Battle of Ypres. Initial successes were hindered by heavy rain, turning the battlefield into pools of mud. Sadly, Clifford was then killed in action on the 4th of October when he was buried by a shell at Zonnebeke, during the Battle of Broodseinde. Sadly, George, in the same platoon, witnessed his brother’s death. He was buried by his comrades, but further carnage saw his remains lost to the battlefield. His sacrifice is honoured on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper (Ypres) in Belgium.