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Edward William Clarke

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Preliminary record

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Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Edward William AWMM
  • Surname
    Clarke AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    3229 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    27 September 1915 AWMM New PlymouthTaranaki AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM Matata AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs Mary Clarke (mother), 15 Sackville Street, Fitzroy, New Plymouth, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 5 January 1940 AWMM Single AWMM

Service

Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    3229 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Medal (MM) AWMM
    10 May 1945 AWMM
    'Trooper Clarke was a gunner in the Commander’s tank of B Squadron during an attack made in support of 28 NZ (Maori) Battalion in the TAVARNELLE area, Italy, on 23 July 1944. The advance was proceeding against very heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire when a nearby tank was hit on the fuel filler and immediately began to burn fiercely. The commander was wounded but managed to climb out, but the corporal gunner, who was badly wounded in the arm, failed to get clear and fell beside the burning tank calling for help. Trooper Clarke immediately left his tank and regardless of the heavy fire directed at the blazing tank from two sides, managed to move the wounded man to the safety of a nearby house. He then returned immediately to the burning tank to search for the three other members of the crew who had not been able to escape. In spite of the risk from the flames and exploding ammunition he made repeated attempts to mount the tank in the hope of aiding these men but the fire had gained too strong a hold and he was unsuccessful. Later on the same day when his tank was engaging an enemy Tiger tank he made several reconnaissances on foot, in spite of heavy fire, to ascertain directions and fire positions. His gunnery was cool and accurate and contributed in no small measure to the final disabling of the enemy tank. His bearing and cheerfulness were at all times an example and inspiration to those who worked with him.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Clarke, Edward William. (Ref. WO 373/11/626). Military Medal. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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Embarkations

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Sergeant E. W. Clarke, MM; New Plymouth; born New Plymouth, 27 Sep 1915; groom; wounded May 1941. (Source: Dawson, W.D. 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. p.510.)

    'It was here that Padre Gourdie turned on the performance of his life. He was always noted for his tendency to gravitate up towards the front; wherever the regiment went he turned up at the ‘sharp end’, touring the foremost tanks with cheerful words and an old pack full of cigarettes or chocolate or tinned milk. On this trying day he was all over the place, pulling the men out of two burning tanks, attending to wounds and burns, braving shell and Spandau fire again and again to take carrier-loads of wounded back to the RAP. When, a few weeks later, he was awarded the unit's fifth DSO, everyone was delighted.

    There were others, too, who worked like demons to haul the crews out of the burning tanks. Notable among them was Captain Laurie, who had a most hectic day apart from this, tearing up and down the ridge, keeping control of his scattered tanks and keeping in touch with the elusive infantry. Prominent among the rescue workers was Trooper E. W. Clarke, and so was Corporal Win Snell, who was wounded while attending to the casualties. This was no job for anyone with a weak stomach.

    While all the metal was flying beyond Route 2, C Squadron was spending a satisfactory day on the right flank, where a company of infantry and some Divisional Cavalry armoured cars were pushing ahead along a road parallel to the Pesa River. At dawn C Squadron moved up through San Donato, running into a shower of shells on the way, and placed itself nicely in position among the trees some half a mile north of the village. Here it stayed all day, bombarding the road and getting nothing back, which, thought everyone, was just as it should be. Views on this indirect fire business had changed now. The tankies, who six or eight months ago had been inclined to look down on it as a menial job, had begun to pride themselves on their skill at it, and it was now quite an accepted thing in the Division that the Shermans could contribute a lot to its gun power, especially for tackling Jerry from well forward before the 25-pounders could move up.' (Source: Dawson, W.D. 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. p. 510.) AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Death
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name

Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of Edward William Clarke

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
    • 'The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy.' (London Gazette, 10 May 1945, p.2455.). Military Medal.
      http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/37072/supplements/2455
      Further Reference
    • 'Trooper Clarke was a gunner in the Commander’s tank of B Squadron during an attack made in support of 28 NZ (Maori) Battalion in the TAVARNELLE area, Italy, on 23 July 1944. The advance was proceeding against very heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire when a nearby tank was hit on the fuel filler and immediately began to burn fiercely. The commander was wounded but managed to climb out, but the corporal gunner, who was badly wounded in the arm, failed to get clear and fell beside the burning tank calling for help. Trooper Clarke immediately left his tank and regardless of the heavy fire directed at the blazing tank from two sides, managed to move the wounded man to the safety of a nearby house. He then returned immediately to the burning tank to search for the three other members of the crew who had not been able to escape. In spite of the risk from the flames and exploding ammunition he made repeated attempts to mount the tank in the hope of aiding these men but the fire had gained too strong a hold and he was unsuccessful. Later on the same day when his tank was engaging an enemy Tiger tank he made several reconnaissances on foot, in spite of heavy fire, to ascertain directions and fire positions. His gunnery was cool and accurate and contributed in no small measure to the final disabling of the enemy tank. His bearing and cheerfulness were at all times an example and inspiration to those who worked with him.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Clarke, Edward William. (Ref. WO 373/11/626). Military Medal.
      http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7353916
      Further Reference
  • Documents
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 1 (Embarkations to 31st March, 1940). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 1: WW2 37 AWMM
    • Dawson, W. (1961). 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      p.510. AWMM