Clare, John Thomas

Hull Pals Memorial Post. PRIVATE JOHN THOMAS CLARE 11/403. John was born Middlesborough, in 1887, the eldest of four children to Thomas and Margaret Clare of 166, Marsh Road, Middlesbrough and 7, Belts Terrace, Humber Street, Hull. A Labourer by trade, John moved to Hull in the early 1900’s where he met and married Ada Ethel Marsden on 20th January 1906. The couple had five children; Gladys, Thomas, Albert, George and Arthur though Arthur died of Cerebral Meningitis in 1915 while still a baby. By then however, John was already in the trenches having enlisted at Hull City Hall on 28th October 1914. From here things spiral out of control. Margaret deserted her children in early 1916 leaving them in the care of Doctor Barnados Homes. Had times become so hard that she feared the Workhouse and thought this the more desireable outcome. Either way it appears to have affected John stuck in a ditch in France, for uncaring of the fates of his wife and children the army tried him for: “Neglect to the prejudice and good order of military discipline” and sentenced him to 56 days Field Punishment No.1 which involved being tied to a cross or wooden cart wheel for hours at a time, sometimes within range of enemy artillery. Plenty of time to ponder his poor family back home. John was killed in action on 25th February 1917 during a raid into the vacant German positions around Serre. Dr Barnados made strenuous attempts via the police and NSPCC to locate Ada Clare and eventually managed to track her down. Whether or not she was reunited with her children I don’t know, but her husband’s affects were forwarded to 23 Mason Street, Hull in October 1917 by which point her husband had long been buried in Sailly-au-Bois Military Cemetery a long, long way from home. His Death was reported in the Hull Daily Mail, on 26/03/1917. His brother, George Clare, was killed on 05/04/1918.

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Sailly-Au-Bois Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France