Search our records : Walter George Woolley Clarke

Surname: Clarke
Forename(s): Walter George Woolley
Service Number: 24827
Force: Army
Unit: 13th (Works) Battalion Devonshire Regiment
Date of Death: 20th February 1917
Where Buried / Commemorated: Budleigh Salterton Church Cemetery
Civilian Occupation: Carpenter and joiner
Parents: George and Emily Clarke
Home address: Barline, Budleigh Salterton, Devon

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Walter Clarke was born in Beer, and his birth was registered in the first quarter of 1879.  He was the second child of George and Emily Clark (as it was spelt in the 1881 census), who were both born in Sidmouth, but by 1881 were living in Beer.  Their other child was a daughter, Eva, who was seven in 1881[1].  Walter's father was a painter, while his mother was a dressmaker.

By the time of the 1891 census Walter had a younger sister, Gertrude, who was five, and his elder sister had followed his mother into dressmaking.

In 1899 Walter married Emily Sparks, who born at Gatcombe.  By the time of the 1901 census they were living at 3 Berry lane in Beer, and had a daughter, Gertrude, who was 5 months old.  Walter was a carpenter and joiner[2].

In the 1911 census Walter and Emily were living at 'Montrose', Beer, and Walter was a builder and contractor.  Their family had expanded, with two sons (Willie and Reggie, aged nine and seven respectively) and another daughter (Winifred, aged four).

Walter enlisted in Exeter, and joined the 13th (Works) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, presumably because of his skills as a carpenter and builder.  At the time of his death he was attached to the Royal Engineers at Northfield, near Birmingham.  The Pulman's Weekly News for 27th February reported that he had died in hospital, but it is not clear whether this was from illness or after being injured in an accident.  The Pulman's report went on to state that he and his family had been living in Budleigh Salterton[1] for about four years before he joined up.

Walter was buried in Budleigh Salterton with full military honours, with his widow, Emily, his four children and his parents all present.  The band of the Hampshire Regiment played, and the same regiment provided the pall bearers.

[1] Victoria Place, Pulman's Weekly News, 6th March 1917.

[1] 1881 census, via

[2] 1901 census, via