Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Second Lieutenant Algernon Percy Clarke, 23rd Battalion, the London Regiment, died from wounds received three days earlier at La Bassee in France.
Educated at Marlborough College, he was an undergraduate and member of the Officers’ Training Corps at Pembroke College, Cambridge, at the outbreak of the Great War. He received his commission on the 29th of August in 1914, and arrived in France in March of 1915. After receiving training in the operation of the machine-gun, he became the battalion’s machine gun officer.
On the 21st of July that year he was severely wounded in both legs when a German shell landed in an area where he and others was resting. He was taken to No. 1 Casualty Clearing Station, but could not be saved. Lieutenant Colonel Streatfield wrote to Lieutenant Clarke’s father: “I pray that you may be able to derive some comfort from the knowledge of how splendidly your boy has done since he has been out here. We all loved him, and the men of his platoon would have done just anything in the world he asked them to. By his goodheartedness and cheeriness he had endeared himself to them in a way it has been the lot of few men to do.”
Lieutenant Clarke is buried in the Chocques Military Cemetery in France. On his gravestone are carved the words: “E'en as he trod that day to God so walked he from his birth in gentleness and simpleness and honour and clean mirth.” Lieutenant Clarke’s brother Harold, serving with the Rifle Brigade, had been killed in action two and a half months earlier.
Born in Buenos Aires and raised in South Kensington, London, Algernon was 21 years old.