Bertram Arthur Clack

Bertram Arthur Clack
Born in St Ives in 1891, Bert was the only child of Arthur Clack, a self employed wheelwright, and Minnie. The family were living with Minnie's parents and brother at the White Hart Inn, St Ives. In 1901 the family were lodging with another of Minnie's brothers in Bridge Street, St Ives. Bert worked as a grocer's assistant by 1911, the family occupying four rooms in Nicholas Lane, St Ives. 

Bert enlisted at Wakefield with the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards, probably some time in 1914. He embarked to France 7 April 1915 and was quickly in the thick of battle. In the Hunts Post 28 May 1915 his letter was published telling of his experiences in the Battle of Festubert, in which the British casualties alone were over 16,000.

View of the landscape following the Battle of Festubert
From July 1916 Bert fought in the Battle of the Somme. In early September 1916 his Company were in reserve. On the evening of 14 September they moved into the front trenches, ready for launch of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. At 6.30am on 15 September Bert and his comrades rose out of their trenches. Emerging from Ginchy Wood they came under very heavy machine gun and rifle fire, incurring heavy casualties.

Having captured two lines of enemy trenches, the Company continued to advance to their objective some 1,200 yards away. They took this without great opposition. By 11.00am they were moving forward again and captured the German second line of defence despite heavy enemy shelling. The evening was spent consolidating their position and repulsing a weak German counter-attack.

The following day they were subjected to continuous German shelling. Bert was killed, most likely hit by a shell, on Saturday 16 September 1916. He was aged 25yrs. His death was reported in the Hunts Post on 13 October 1916 and 20 October 1916. He has no known grave and is commemorated on Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

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Source materials
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