Herbert CLARKE
Rank: Private
Number: 28754
Date of Death: 16 September 1918
Age: 34
Cemetery: Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece

Private Clarke had been born in Cheadle Hulme and lived at 51 Gill Bent Road, with his father, Abraham. The 1901 Census showed that him living at 12 Ravenoak Cottages, Cheadle Hulme with Abraham and his sister and brother - Annie and Walter. By 1918, Annie & Walter were no longer at the family home.

He enlisted at Wilmslow. The South Lancashires had arrived in Greece in November 1915. Herbert's service number suggests that he joined some while after this and, no doubt, was sent as a replacement for the many casualties. Here, British troops faced the Bulgarian army, but the main enemies were malaria, influenza and other diseases - claiming the lives of three soldiers for every one killed in action. There had been no major engagements in Salonika, but a major offensive had been launched by French and Greek forces in July 1918. British troops were scheduled to become involved on 18 September.

For the first half of September, Herbert will have been in training in the reserve area. Between the 5th and 7th, the Battalion practiced the attack, working to the scheduled timetable and with the objectives marked out by flags. Over these days, there was also an inter-platoon football competition (which was won by 14 Platoon).

On the 8th, the Church of England church parade was cancelled due to high wind. But the non-conformists and Roman Catholics must have been made of stronger stuff as their parades went ahead. On the 13th and 14th, the Battalion moved to a camp in the forward area, where grenades were prepared and fighting equipment checked. The next day, "B" and "C" moved forward to their assembly position at Horseshoe Trench. On 16th, the other two companies also moved forward to Horseshoe. By now both sides will have been exchanging an artillery bombardment. Herbert was one of three men killed in the bombardment.

The attack took place on the 18th and was a failure. However, the enemy withdrew from its positions on the 22nd and, by the end of the month, the war in Greece had ended.

)Note: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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