Rank: Private 24827
Regiment: 13th Works Bn.,Devonshire Regiment
Beer, Budleigh Salterton
Beer Memorial Cross, Budleigh Salterton War Memorial, St Michael's Church Tablet, Beer, St Peter's Burial Ground, St Peter's Church War Memorial
PDF Download: CLARKE Walter George
Walter Clarke was born in Beer, and his birth was registered in the first quarter of 1879. He was the second child of George and Emily Clark (as it was spelt in the 1881 census), who were both born in Sidmouth, but by 1881 were living in Beer. Their other child was a daughter, Eva, who was seven in 1881. Walter's father was a painter, while his mother was a dressmaker. They later had two more children.
By the time of the 1891 census Walter's younger sister, Gertrude, was five. His elder sister had followed their mother into dressmaking.
In 1899 Walter married Emily Sparks, who born at Gatcombe. By the time of the 1901 census they were living at 3 Berry Lane in Beer, and had a daughter, Gertrude, who was five months old. Walter was a carpenter and joiner.
In the 1911 census Walter and Emily were living at 'Montrose', Beer, and Walter was a builder and contractor. Their family had expanded, with two sons (Willie and Reggie, aged nine and seven respectively) and another daughter (Winifred, aged four).
After 1911 they must have moved to Budleigh Salterton for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to give their address of ‘Barline’ and for him to be buried in the village and to have his name on the war memorial.
Walter enlisted in Exeter, and joined the 13th (Works) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, presumably because of his skills as a carpenter and builder. At the time of his death he was attached to the Royal Engineers at Northfield, near Birmingham. The Pulman's Weekly News for 27 February reported that he had died in hospital, but it is not clear whether this was from illness or after being injured in an accident. The Pulman's report went on to state that he and his family had been living in Budleigh Salterton for about four years before he joined up. Other records show he died of bronchitis in a Birmingham hospital.
Walter was buried in St Peter's cemetery, Budleigh Salterton with full military honours, with his widow, Emily, his four children and his parents all present. The band of the Hampshire Regiment played, and the same regiment provided the pall bearers.
The family continued to live in Budleigh Salterton, with daughter Gertrude marrying Sidney Frank Gigg and dying in 1989.
She is buried in St Peter’s Cemetery with her husband. William and Reginald John Clarke also lived in Budleigh. Winifred Rose Clarke married William H Trick; they both died in the 1980s. Emily died in 1953 and is buried in St Peter’s Cemetery and her address was given as Meadow Road, Budleigh Salterton.
Walter George Clarke is remembered on the War Memorial and the brass plaque in St Peter’s Church in Budleigh, and on the memorials in Beer.
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