Clark H

Private 235908 Harry Clark 9th (Yorkshire Hussars) West Yorkshire Regiment, formerly 330366 and 2570 Yorkshire Hussars


Killed in action 10th November, 1917

Harry Clark was born in Stokesley in 1889. He was the fifth son of Richard and Bessie Clark. For further family information see Clark G., Harry’s brother.

In 1911 Harry was a groom at Warthill farm, Helmsley. He must have gone abroad very soon after, as the Book of Remembrance tells us that he had been working in France for 2 years prior to the outbreak of war. Following the German invasion of Belgium and France, Harry retreated as a civilian with the troops from Mons and reached England, having lost all of his possessions. He enlisted at York into the Yorkshire Hussars in September 1914 at which time his place of residence was Scarborough. (This information from Soldiers died in the Great War 1914 -1918)

The Yorkshire Hussars were formed on 1st September, 1914 by Lord Feversham as a first line regiment and they were designated 1/1st Yorkshire Hussars. The “York” men, B Squadron, were commanded by Major Viscount Helmsley (Lord Feversham himself). Apparently Feversham was so disappointed that he had missed out on the Boer War that he was desperately keen to set up a fighting cavalry regiment. All the recruits were volunteers and Harry Carter was given the Regimental Number 2570. They moved to Essex for their training and to await the call to go to France.

In February 1915 the regiment was split up and each of the 3 squadrons was attached to a different Division: “A” to the 50th (Northumbrian) Division which fought at the 2nd Battle of Ypres, “B” to the 49th (West Riding) Division which fought at the Battle of Loos, and “C” to the 46th (North Midland) Division which fought at the Battle of Aubers Ridge. According to the index card to his medal awards, Harry Clark entered the war (ie arrived in France) on 18th April, 1915, but it is unclear in which company he served.

In May 1916 it was decided to reassemble the Regiment under Lt Colonel W Pepys as a Corps Cavalry to XVII Corps which fought at the Battle of Arras. At the beginning of 1917 the re-numbering of soldiers took place. Up to this point recruits were simply allocated a number for the regiment they joined. This meant that several soldiers in different regiments could have the same number. This in ordinary circumstances was of no consequence, but because of heavy casualties, men were constantly being transferred to different units and regiments were being reformed. The possibility of men in the same unit sharing the same number was becoming quite high. This was clearly a nonsense and it was decided therefore to allocate 6 digit number to all territorial and yeomanry regiments, like the Yorkshire Hussars. Each man would keep this number within his Corps and would only change it if he moved to another Corps. Harry was now allocated the number 330366.

However in August 1917 it was again decided to reorganise the Regiment and they were sent to Etaples to undergo 6 weeks training to join the Infantry Regiment of the West Yorks. Captain Walker - the senior officer of the draft of the Yorkshire Hussars’ 20 officers and 396 men - insisted on the battalion being named the 9th (Yorkshire Hussars) Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. They were allowed to continue to wear the Yorkshire Hussars cap badge but had to wear the West Yorks collar badges, a clear sign of their pride in the Yorkshire Hussars and their loyalty to their regiment. They were however, allocated new numbers because they were now being allocated to a different Corps. Harry Carter became 235908.

The unit was sent to Etaples for training. Etaples must have seemed something of a hell hole with so many hospitals. dying men and cemeteries there; to have their cavalry regiment disbanded and to undergo training to become infantry men must have been exceptionally demoralising in such surroundings.

According to the Book of Remembrance Harry trained to be a ‘bomber’. On 10th November 1917 Captain Roger Walker took 250 men (all volunteers) to attack the “Norman Brick Stacks” near Lens, possibly as a final hurrah before they were swallowed up in the West Riding Regiment. The attack was regarded as successful but it was in all probability the action in which Harry died. Both the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Book of Remembrance give Harry’s date of death as 10th November 1917.
(For an outline history of the Yorks Hussars, see ).

Private Clark was 28 years old when he fell and he was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal as well as the 1915 Star. He has now no known grave but his name is commemorated on Bay 4 of the Arras Memorial.

The Book of Remembrance gives the further information that originally Private Clark was originally buried at Corkscrew Cemetery in an unmarked grave. The 168 graves of UK soldiers in Corkscrew cemetery were however exhumed in 1925 and removed to Loos British cemetery. There are 3000 burials in Loos of which two thirds are unidentified. Harry Clark lies amongst them.

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