Private Thomas Clarke



Thomas Clarke (pictured above) was born on 16 May 1884 at Carrickbrack, Poyntzpass, County Armagh, the first of eight children of farmer James Clarke and his wife Sarah Anne (nee Cole). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents and six siblings at Carrickbrack and working on the family farm.

It is possible that he was the Thomas Clarke who enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 22 January and 26 February 1913 (No.794 – later Corps of Hussars No. 71106). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. He remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 13 June 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

Family recollections of the man pictured include that he went to Kildare to be trained with two friends, Jonny Reid and James Alan Purdy, both from the Poyntzpass area. (Purdy served in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers during the war, having enlisted in August 1904.) If Clarke was with the North Irish Horse when he trained at Kildare, he could not have enlisted later that 1911, and therefore may have been different from the Thomas Clarke No.794 above.


My thanks to Pearl Jardine for making available this picture of her grandfather.