(Ernest) Clement Clarke


This directory contains the limited information and documents we have about Kate and Anthony Clarke's 2nd child Ernest Clement, who seems to have been commonly called Clement.

For details of Kate's life, see her own directory.

For details of Kate’s very interesting first husband Anthony, including his families with other wives, see the AJCheeper/Clarke directory.

Ernest Clement was born in 1886, while the family was living at 24 Edwards Tce, St John Cardiff. We've been unable to find a birth registry entry.

20 May 1886 appears very likely to have been his birth-date. The choice of 20 May reflects what limited military records Anne has found.

Early on, we'd interpolated from the baptism and 1891 and 1901 Census information that he was probably born in April or May of 1886. In March 2009, Anne discovered his service record with the Royal Marines. This disclosed a birthdate of 20 May. It said 1884, but that's less likely to be reliable than the other sources.

Anne ran to earth the relevant entry in the baptism register in July 2012. It shows he was baptised – along with his elder sister Violet – on 20 Jun 1886, at St Johns Cardiff, and the entry included "born May 20". His father was identified as Anthony Clarke, commercial traveller, and his mother as Kate, and their residence was stated to be 24 Edwards Terrace, Cardiff.

He appears on the Census entry in 1891 (left-side, right-side), where he is shown as Ernest C., born in Cardiff, and 4 years old (suggesting a birth-date after 4 April 1886).

He appears again in the 1901 Census entry (page 1, page 2), where he is listed as Ernest C., born in Cardiff, and aged 14.

His service record shows that he joined the Royal Marines on 5 Nov 1902. The address of his next-of-kin, his father Anthony, was shown as 25 Bartram Rd, Brockley Kent. This is 800m east of 282 Ivydale Rd (where the family was in 1891-98) and 600m west of 10 Lindal Rd (where it was c. 1903-05).

At the time of enlistment, he was 16-1/2. But the records show his birthyear as 1884, and hence imply he was 18-1/2. He grew from 5/7-1/2" to 5'10" in the next 4 years, which is consistent with our interpolation that he put his age up. He could have enlisted in the Marines at 16 or even 14 (because the Marines thrived on orphans and otherwise displaced boys). Possibly he was motivated to get a higher level of pay, or less draconian conditions of service. From other sources, we suspect that his father felt he needed a dose of military training to straighten him up (and someone other than his father to feed him), i.e. Anthony Jacques enlisted his young son.

Clement did his training at Deal (Kent), and his early service in Plymouth.

He was posted to HMS Egmont from 29 Apr 1904 to 30 Mar 1906. Until 1912, HMS Egmont was a hulk used as a supply ship, just offshore at Malta, very probably this vessel, which was one of multiple which carried the name HMS Achilles over the years. (In 1912, the name 'HMS Egmont' was transferred to a 'stone frigate', i.e. an on-shore establishment, Fort St Angelo. The name 'Egmont' disappeared in 1933 when the fort was renamed HMS St Angelo).

The service record discloses no trade, just "Labourer General". But it says "Able to Swim: Yes. Tested 27 Feb 1903 at Depot". This was very early on, in Deal, which suggests that he could swim when he enlisted.

On 15 Nov 1906, he was "discharged Invalided". But the 'Invalided' section is blank. The 'Wounds and Hurts' segment says only "28 Aug 05 - Hurt Certificate (Amputation of last joint Right little finger) ?Sgt T, Pierce", which seems hardly likely to be grounds for discharge. By then, he was nominally 22-1/2, but really 20-1/2.

Anne found a (very) likely entry in the 1911 Census. He was shown as Ernest Clemence Clark, Boarder, Single, Warehouseman in Skin. Born Wales Glamorgan. Age 26 (actually 24, still living the lie used when he joined the Army). He was the sole boarder in a 3-bedroom house at 71 Bermondsey St, Bermondsey (400m south of Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast).

We weren't aware of any service in WWI, when he was 28-32 (or 30-34, depending on whether he was working from his real or nominal workdate).

Then, in 2018, Anne located his service record. This is consistent with the 1902 enlistment (although not the 1906 discharge). It then has him in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in 1914, nominally aged 30. And then from 2 Mar 1916 to 24 Sep 1917 in Army Service Corps as a driver, discharged under King's Regulation 392(xvi), i.e. "No longer physically fit for war service". Quite how they had his residence as "Birmingham, Surrey" is beyond me.

His niece Barbara Copeland/Sidebotham and nephew Vivian Watson both said c. 2008 that he lodged with his immediately younger sister, Kate Antoinette, in Watford, for many years.

Anne found him in the 1939 Population Register, at 52 Fairfield Rd, Edmonton, as Ernest C. Clarke, b. 30 May 1884, Single, Painter. That's 6 miles north of Tower Bridge. All other mentions of his birthday are 20 not 30 May. The YOB is consistent with the (probable) lie told to get him into the Marines, on 5 Nov 1902, actual age 16-1/2, declared age 18-1/2. (The Census entries in 1891 and 1901 are more credible).

The Oddfellows advised Anne in 2011 that, in the photo (from maybe the 1940s, aged c.60?), Clem is wearing "the regalia of the Knight of Merit [KOM] of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes [RAOB]". Anne looked up the RAOB and found that the Knight of Merit is the third level of a four-tier system. It appears most likely that he was a member of the West Herts Province, which in 2011 meets at the Tudor Arms pub, Bushey Mill Lane, Watford.

Anne achieved contact with a historian of the Order in 2021, Dennis Whittenbury . Dennis advised that "In the picture his sash is for Ye Mitre Lodge 402. That would fit in with what you have found out of him in Edmonton in 1939. The lodge was only a 15-minute drive from his house, it met at the Duke of Cambridge Pub, 435 West Green Road Tottenham N15. The Lodge came under the London Central Province, it closed in about 1962 & the Province closed a few years ago, sadly not a lot of records would be available, but I will keep digging to see if I can find anything".

Dennis also noted that "The 1936 Poll book has Ernest Clement Clark living at 104 Fore St Edmonton". That area was overbuilt by the shopping centre in the 1960s.

Vivian said that he died a bachelor, has no memory of his employment, and said that he didn't have particularly good health. Barbara has an impression that he did the pools (and Barbara would have been 6-8 years old at the time of his presumed death c. 1950 at c. 64, and Barbara knew Kate Antoinette well until her death, by which time Barbara was 38).

A death registry entry gives a date of death of d. June Qtr 1949 (Southend 4a), at 63. But, given that Barbara and Vivian remember him in the early 1950s, and Vivian has a photo at Pegwell Home dated 15 Oct 1952, that entry appears not be the right one. That photo was at 'Pegwell Home' – this one?, at Ramsgate?

We'd be pleased to know more about (Ernest) Clement Clarke.

This a page within Roger Clarke's Family Web-Site

Contact: Roger Clarke and/or Anne Kratzmann

Created: 4 Oct 2005; Last Amended: 4 Apr 2009, 1901 Census on 17 Aug 2009, RAOB 29 Nov 2011, Baptism Register 4 Aug 2012, Vivian's note re 1952 on 9 Feb 2013, 1939 Register on 13 Mar 2016, 20 Jan 2019 (Anne's acquisition of his later service record), 4 Jul 2019 (clarification re the vessel HMS Egmont), 27 Jul 2021 (Edmonton 1936/39 info from Dennis)