Lt William Clarke

Although web sources say he had been promoted from ADRIC, I cannot find him on ADRIC roll

1892 Aug 3. Born Lurgan, Armagh

1901 census at 145 Edward Street, Lurgan, Armagh (his Canadian attestation gives his next of kin as Mrs W Clarke in Lurgan)

1910 Apr 15 Arrives in Canada on SS Tunisian. Intending to get a job in Canada as a "Civil Surveyor"

1914 Dec 1. He enlisted in the ranks of the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles at Winnipeg. His trade is given as "surveyor"

1915 Sep 22 Landed in France with Canadians

1916 Jun 1 Commissioned in the Royal Irish Rifles

1918 Mar 21. Serving with the 15th Royal Irish Rifles was captured in the "great retreat" and held a prisoner of war until the Armistice. On the eve of 21st March, 1918, the Ulster Division held a front of about 6000 yards in the forward zone, and also occupied ground to a depth of about 1200 yards from its outposts. The three battalions of the 108th Brigade met the first weight of the German onslaught. The three battalions were practically wiped out, and it was only from a few survivors of the 12th Royal Irish Rifles, who swam down the canal at night, that Headquarters learned how a small handful of the battalions was still gallantly holding out. The mist formed an additional handicap, making it impossible for the British artillery in the rear to direct their fire with accuracy upon the advancing Germans

1918 Dec 25 Repatriated

1920 Joined the RIC and as far as I can tell was never in the Auxiliaries

1921 Jan 20. Glenwood Ambush. Three Black and Tans, Michael Moran from Castlebar in Mayo, Frank Morris from London and William Smith from Kent, had been killed in the ambush, plus two regular R.I.C. men Sergeant Mulloy from Mayo and John Doogue from Laois. The sixth British casualty was the commander of the patrol and the local district inspector D.I. William Clarke from Armagh who, "Blood on the Banner" says had been recently been promoted from the Auxiliaries to the regular R.I.C. I can find no evidence that Clark ever had been in the Auxiliaries,and the Auxiliary Register up to this point, Jan 1921, was still being kept fairly well. The IRA report that Auxiliaries stationed at the Lakeside Hotel in Killaloe joined in the reprisals at Killkishen. They are believed to have burned the Bridgetown Creamery and various other houses.

According to reports from The Saturday Record and Clare Journal, the ambush was described by a semi-official source as follows, “The lorry was going at a good speed when suddenly it was met by a hurricane of lead from about 50 men concealed behind the trees. District Inspector Clarke fell wounded from the first volley. The steering column was broken in the hand of the driver, Constable Seabright. The tank and car were riddled and the lorry ran against the bank, turning over on its side and throwing the occupants, still under a withering fire, onto the road. The district inspector, the sergeant and two of the constables never rose, but the others replied as vigorously as they could.” ...“The bodies of DI Clarke and the two constables were taken to the Protestant church. On Saturday morning, they were removed to their respective destinations, being accorded military honours, Several residents saw the remains away to the station,”

A booklet on the ambush produced from witness statements It appears that a motor lorry containing the D.I. and nine other ranks were proceeding from Sixmilebridge to Broadford, and just as they reached Belvoir, a thickly wooded district, a deadly fire was opened on them by the ambushers, who, it is stated, were concealed at each side of the road and were in large numbers. The attack was so startlingly sudden and so fierce that the occupants of the lorry were practically powerless to make any resistance

“A graphic story of the ambush of a police patrol by 100 men near Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare……..was told yesterday by Mr. Geo. F. S. Sievwright, the driver of the police car, in an interview. Mr. Sievwright, whose home is at Aberdech [Aberdeen], said that Thursday’s affray was the fourth ambush which he had experienced in 3 days. The car, containing ten men, he said, was nearing Glenwood, when, on rounding a bend in the road, about 100 men suddenly appeared from behind a hedge. A volley of shots was heard, and bullets hit the car from all directions. D.I. Clarke, said Mr. Sievright, was the first man to be hit. “He was sitting by my side when a bullet entered his left shoulder. He shouted: ‘Drive on, Sievright; I am hit’. A terrific and uninterrupted rain of rifle bullets followed. I opened the throttle, and tried to race through, but just as I reached mid-way between the fire the car stopped, and a bullet grazed my hands at the wheel”. D.I. Clarke fell out of the car on to the road and crawled by the roadside for several yards. The men behind the hedge turned their attention to him, and made him the target for the whole of their fire. He was riddled with bullets and killed outright.

The Irish Independent of 25th. Jan. 1921 reported on DI Clarke’s funeral as follows: “The remains of DI Clarke were interred in the Presbyterian Cemetery at Lurgan yesterday. Practically all business premises were shuttered and there was an enormous cortege. At the morning service in First Lurgan church on Sunday, Rev. W.B. Sproule said deceased was a fine specimen of young manhood. He had done more than a man’s part in the Great World War.

ADRIC