Rank: Private
Number: 4999
Date of Death: 20 September 1916
Age: 20
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Joseph was the son of Henry and Mrs Clarke, 3 Waller Street, Hope Hill, Stockport. He had been born in the town and enlisted into the army there. He may well be the J Clarke who worked for James Lomas Ltd, Lower Wellington Mill, Stockport. A man of this name is included in the Company's entry in the Manchester City Battalion's Book of Honour (page 798) reported as killed.

His army service number is not an early one for the Battalion and it is probable that he had not been with his unit for many weeks before he was killed.

The Battalion's War Diary makes no mention of the day he was killed. The Battle of the Somme had started on 1 July, but Joseph and his comrades had not been involved in any of the major attacks in the campaign. After a few days in reserve, the Battalion went back into the trenches on 17 September. They were in support positions just to the west of the village of Flers. The 20th was a quiet day across the whole of the battlefield but danger from enemy shelling was never very far away. It cannot now be known how Joseph met his death but his lack of a known grave suggests he may have been, literally, blown to bits by a shell.

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