Gerald CLARKE
Rank: Private
Number: 26718
Unit: 15th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 5 November 1917
Age:
Cemetery: Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium

Regimental records indicate Gerald had been born in the Stockport area and, certainly, at the time of the Great War, his mother, brother and sister lived at 33 King Street West. Gerald was married and lived at 3 Lord Street with his wife, Harriett, and his father in law. He worked, locally, at Barlow's Belmont Oil Works until he enlisted into the army in the summer of 1915.

During the course of this service, Gerald was wounded twice but quickly recovered and rejoined his unit. On 1 November 1917, the 15th Cheshires were in positions south of Houlthhurst Forest, some miles to the north of the Belgian town of Ypres (now Ieper). In the early hours of the morning, the Germans launched a bombardment of gas shells. By this stage of the War, the gas masks in use by the British Army were quite effective and, it must be assumed, Gerald received a severe dose before he could get his mask on - perhaps he was asleep and didn't realise what was happening.

He will have been evacuated several miles to the rear, to the Casualty Clearing Station (field hospital) at Poperinge. Here doctors must have concluded that he had little chance of survival but they will have done all they could to make him comfortable. Gas attacks the lungs and, whilst a moderate attack will be survived, a serious dose proved fatal for several thousand British soldiers. Effectively, Gerald will have choked to death.

In 1918, Harriett remarried to Noel Clayton. Her second marriage was to be very short lived as he died later in the year, also from the effects of being gassed. She appears to have married for a third time in 1924.

   
           
   
     
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