James Coleman Clarke
Serial No. 5053
13th Battalion & 45th Battalion
James Coleman Clarke - Information
James Coleman Clarke was born in Preston, near Christchurch, England c1885. James grew up in Preston, attending Higher Walton Church of England School in Preston Lanes. He then trained for 7 years in cotton manufacturing. James eventually left his family in England and came to Australia. He settled down in Camden, finding a place to stay at the Butler’s Livery Stables on Elizabeth St, where he became close friends with Amy Butler. In Camden, he supported himself working as a boot repairer. After the war began, James decided to help the motherland, enlisting in the AIF on the 18th of December 1915 in Liverpool. During training, James was allotted to the 13th Battalion as a Private. He then boarded the HMAT Star of Victoria which departed Sydney on the 31st of March 1916.
James landed in Egypt, where he received further training at the 12th Training Battalion and was transferred to the 45th Battalion in May 1916. The following month, he was transported to the Western Front in France to his new unit. At the time, the British campaign at the Somme was faltering. The I ANZAC Corps were mustered as reinforcements. They attacked the German line at the village of Pozières. Moving on towards Mouquet Farm, the 45th Battalion as part of the 4th Division, relieved the 2nd in early August. As they moved into the lines, the Germans counter-attacked. During these operations, James was wounded in action between the 5th and 6th of August by a shell blast. On the 6th, he was rushed to the 44th Casualty Clearing Station with shrapnel wounds to his face, left shoulder and back. He was badly injured, and two days later, the 11th Ambulance Train carried him to the 13th Stationary Hospital in Boulogne. He was critical and later died of his wounds on the 12th of August 1916. His death was announced in the local newspaper, much the dismay of his friends in Camden.