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Street named after Shropshire First World War hero

By Jonny Drury | Oswestry | Nostalgia | Published:

A new housing development is to have one of its streets named after a First World War hero with links to Oswestry.

Members of the Clarke family, some of whom live in Oswestry, at the unveiling of the street named in honour of their ancestor, Philip Clarke

Persimmon Homes West Midlands is currently building a collection of two, three and four-bedrooms home at Mintons Wood, in Stoke-on-Trent.

The roads will be named after people who were given a military medal, and that will include Philip Clarke, a Lance Corporal with the Kings Royal Rifle Corps who died in 1947.

Philip Clarke

Mr Clarke’s grandson, who, along with his father, was named after the First World War hero, attended the unveiling of the street sign named after their brave relative.

He was joined by other family members including his wife, Pat, and his cousins Susan Ellis, from Leek, and Simon Clarke and his wife Marion, from Oswestry.

Philip said: “When we were informed that he was to have a street named after him, we were, naturally extremely pleased and proud that he was to be recognised in this way and felt that it is a fitting tribute, not just to his bravery in battle, but to the way that he lived his life and immersed himself into his local community.

“However, whilst honouring my grandfather in this way, we are also recognising the heroism of all his fellow men – and women – who suffered the tribulations of that horrific war.”

Mr Clarke was a Potteries man who signed up at the start of the war ‘to do his bit’. He served through to the end of the war, being awarded the Military Medal in 1917.

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It was awarded in recognition of his gallantry and devotion to duty while out on patrol to reconnoitre an enemy strong point.

The citation added: “You set a fine example to all the other men of the patrol and, by your courage and fearlessness throughout the operations, you set a fine example to all.”

His grandson added: “He was a small man, about five foot tall. He was very much an extrovert and was generally at the centre of whatever was happening in the area where he lived. Having been injured during the war, his employment opportunities were limited and I remember him being employed as a night watchman at Dickson’s Corn Mill.

“He spent the latter part of his life on crutches and eventually had to have both legs removed and he died in 1947.

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“Grandad had a great sense of humour. As a child I knew that he had been awarded an important medal, but whenever I asked what it was for, he would just tell me that he got drunk and threw his empty beer bottles at the enemy. I only found out the truth when my grandmother gave me his medal and the attendant citation after he had died and when I joined the Army.

“I am the last member of our extended family to have actually known him. However, via emails and a comprehensive family history, I have kept my younger brother and my cousins informed about him and kept his memory alive.”

Others honoured with road names are Joseph Austin, a gunner with the Royal Field artillery, Peter Cartlidge, a Lance Sergeant with the Royal Fusiliers, Robert Knox, a private with the Leicestershire Regiment and John Smart, a private with the North Staffordshire Regiment, who died in 1918.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales

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