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Stanley George Clark

Private 24832 (TR3/53103) S.G. Clark, 17th Battalion King's (Liverpool Regiment), (1st City) Liverpool Pals)

1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal, Mercantile Medal, Silver Wound Badge.

1939 - 45 Star, Atlantic Star, Arctic Star, Africa Star, 1939-45 War Medal.

Army Record

Stanley Joined 17th (Service) Battalion Kings (Liverpool) Regiment, (1st City) Liverpool Pals on 05-Jan-1915 as Private 24832, having been identified as a ‘packer ’ in a Warehouse in the 1911 census. He was deployed to France in Nov-1915 and spent his first Christmas in France on the front line at Hamel on the Somme. The 17th Battalion War Diary indicates it was cold and wet and the various companies were engaged in ‘digging ’.

They moved to Maricourt at New Year and, as with all Battalions were in a and out of the line regularly, but suffered some casualties from shelling, some of which was heavy. At this early stage, individual casualties were named, whereas later, officers are named but soldiers are listed as ‘OR’ for ‘Other Ranks’, particularly when numbers became significant.

At the end of Jan (28-Jan-1916) the Maricourt defences came under heavy artillery bombardment (War Diary records over 1000 shells) and the men were ordered to man the defences, presumably in anticipation of a German advance, which never materialised, although there was a gas attack in an adjacent part of the line.

The Battalion were in billets from mid-March (in Franvillers and later in Etinihem Camp) until the end of April when they returned to the Maricourt defences, to the regular shelling and repair work and rotated in and out of the line until June, when they transferred to Vaux-en-Amenois, to commence Brigade training for an attack. On 18-Jun-1916, they returned to the Maricourt defences.

The ‘countdown to attack’ (on ‘Z’ day) began on 26-Jun (‘V’ day), when the British and French bombardment commenced. The Battalion relieved the Bedfords in Z sector, from which they would attack. The next day the Germans responded to the constant bombardment, and 17 men were killed and 57 wounded on ‘W’ day, with a further 4 killed and 17 wounded the day after next (‘Y’ day). At this point (28-Jun-1916), the War Diary records that ‘Z’ day is to be postponed for 48 hours due to the bad weather.

At 03.30 on 01-Jul-1916 the Battalion was in the assembly trenches between the Maricourt – Briqueterie Rd and the Maricourt- Montauban Rd, with the objective of seizing Dublin Trench (from Dublin Redoubt to 400 yards West. This extreme right-hand sector of the British Assault (adjacent to the French) saw the rare achievement of all of their objectives on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

On 03-Jul-1916, the Battalion successfully attacked Bernafay Wood, and on 04-Jul, the Battalion was relieved by South African troops and returned to the original British trenches North of Maricourt (via Trigger Wood).

From 10-12-Jul-1916, the Battalion was engaged in the fighting for Trones Wood, suffering 2 officers and 19 men killed, with 5 officers and 79 men wounded and 28 missing. On 13-Jul, the Battalion was relived and moved into Billets in Corbie and then Happy Valley, north of the Bray-Fricourt Rd.

On 22-Jul, the Battalion was place on 30 minutes notice to move but at 18.00 orders were received that the attack on Guillemont was postponed. On 24-Jul they were warned to be ready to move to attack Guillemont but once again the attack was cancelled.

On 25-Jul the Battalion was inspected by the GOC 30th Division, Maj-Gen JMS Shea, at a special parade.

At 21.00 on 29-Jul-1916, the Battalion moved into assembly positions in preparation for the attack on Guillemont and at 04.45 of 30-Jul the 19th and 20th KLR., with 17th in support attacked through thick mist. The main attack was held up by heavy machine gun fire. From 17th, who were not in the first wave, 4 officers and 56 men were killed and 11 officers and 130 other ranks were wounded, amongst them Stanley Clark. There were 95 men listed as missing.

Stanley was wounded by gunfire and shrapnel and was eventually evacuated via Casualty Clearing Centre at Corbie and then to Number 2 Stationary Hospital at Abbeville on 2 August 1916 with GSW chest… (GSW or Gun Shot Wound was used to describe wounds by gunfire or shrapnel… given the extent of the scarring later recorded on his arrival in the USA, he was likely wounded by both)

Following his recovery, Stanley was transferred to a Training Reserve Battalion (TR3) on leaving hospital retraining to return to the front (listed under the name Clarke) with soldier number 53103 (although there is another number 51267 identified in the medal roll for the victory medal)

He was discharged from the Army on 19-Jun-1917 as disabled due to wounds, Silver War Badge (198645) awarded 04-Jul-1917 and Army Pension records (1920) indicate that he suffered 30% disability (shoulder) and was awarded 12/- a week permanently in 1920. The pension records indicate that Stanley George Clark (without an e) was soldier number TR3/ 53103 as well as 24832

Merchant Navy Record

Discharge Number – 686988

In 1917 Stanley is identified (from Ellis Island Immigration records) as arriving in New York as crew on the RMS Aurania 08-Nov-1917 (with scars to his shoulders, chest and back) and records indicate he made three trips aboard the RMS Baltic throughout the rest of World War 1. He was awarded the Mercantile Medal to accompany the medals he was awarded for his service in the Army.

Stanley served in the Merchant Navy for the rest of his life, crossing the Atlantic frequently in White Star liners, the Baltic and the Cedric as well as multiple other vessels. In the Second World War, Stanley seemed almost constantly at sea, often serving on troopships.

  • Waiter - 1917
  • Ist Class Waiter – 1918
  • Assistant Steward – 31-Jul-1925
  • Steward - 12.11.40
  • Saloon Steward – Avoceta (Promoted 09-May-1941)
  • 2nd Steward – SS Empire Emerald – 1947 – Merchant Navy Roll of Honour

Between the Wars

Stanley joined the Merchant Navy during the First World War, immediately after being discharged from the Army as unfit to serve, due to his wounds. He was discharged on 17-Jun-1917 and the first record I can find, is of his arrival in New York on 08-Nov-1917 on the SS Aurania, serving as a Waiter.

His early discharge book (listing ships from Sep-1918 onwards indicates Stanley’s rating as a 1st Class Waiter.

The White Star Line’s RMS Baltic was the world’s largest ship on her launch in 1904, and she and her sister ships Cedric, Celtic and Adriatic were known as ‘the big four’, all being in excess of 20,000 tons and built by Harland and Wolff to be the biggest and most luxurious ships afloat.

Ship Number Ship NameDate
147277 Aurania08.11.17
118101 RMS Baltic 19.9.18
118101 RMS Baltic 29.10.18
118101 RMS Baltic 05.12.18
118101 RMS Baltic 29.1.19
131451 SS Vestris 05.03.19
137420 SS Holbein 05.05.19
118101 RMS Baltic 26.06.19
118101 RMS Baltic 12.08.19
118101 RMS Baltic 19.09.19
118101 RMS Baltic 29.10.19
115354 RMS Cedric 29.01.21
118101 RMS Baltic 16.07.21
124061 RMS Adriatic22.12.23
131454 Oxfordshire10.10.24
131296 Gloucestershire09.04.25
131454 Oxfordshire31.07.25
120903 Herefordshire13.08.26
147277 Aurania06.05.27
131296 Gloucestershire07.05.26
143663 Yorkshire02.12.27
149625 MV Cheshire24.02.28
140596 Westernland formerly Regina07.09.27
149625 MV Cheshire05.10.28
161082 MV Staffordshire22.02.29
145923 Samaria11.05.29
149625 Cheshire26.07.29
145934 Andania14.03.30
115354 Cedric05.09.31
147215 Doric27.05.32
161082 Staffordshire31.03.33
149625 Cheshire05.07.35
149601 Shropshire28.02.36
147238 Voltaire12.09.36
145896 Phemius05.02.38
147238 Voltaire14.04.38

World War II Records

Ship ID No Ship NameJoinedDischargedVia / comments Comments
166285SS Bolton Castle09.12.39Bombed Jul-42
146664Adda06.09.40Torpedoed 08-06-41
162339Reina del Pacifico12.11.40
147174 Avoceta23.04.41Discharge book lost due to enemy action
147174 Avoceta 06.08.41Promoted Saloon Steward
Wairangi?? (possibly Waroonga?)19.08.4112.12.41The record for this ship is unclearWairingi Sailed for Brisbane on 28-Aug Waroonga sailed for Halifax on 30-Aug
164849 Empire Emerald 1.12.4221.3.43Greenock
151802 Esperance Bay 24.4.4310.6.43AlnmouthArrived New York 13-May-1943
Volendam19.6.4314.7.43GreenockVolendam supported the Sicily landings
151802Esperance BayJuly 1943 Alnmouth16.11.43 Cardiff
151802Esperance Bay6.2.43 Cardiff31.1.44 Liverpool
Sick Leave5.2.44 Liverpool
164849 SS Empire Emerald29.11.47

Reina Del Pacifico (discharged 12.11.40)

On 24th July 1940 she sailed for Suez via Cape Town with RAF personnel, their Spitfires being carried by the accompanying aircraft carrier Argus.

Avoceta 23.02.41 – 06.08.41

Stanley made 2 trips on the Avoceta, being promoted to Saloon Steward on the second trip (at a monthly salary of £10- 7s -6d per calendar month). He did not join the Avoceta when she sailed from Liverpool on 19-Aug-1941, having transferred to another ship (possibly the Wairingi?, sailing to Brisbane; or the Waroonga, sailing for Halifax). The Avoceta was lost on her return journey, with the loss of 123 of her 166 complement of crew and passengers.

Otranto 29.12.41 – 30.11.42

At the start of World War II Otranto was converted to carry landing craft and was used as a troop ship. The Otranto voyaged down the West Coast of Africa to South Africa and on to Colombo. She ferries troops to support Operation Torch.

SS Empire Emerald 1.12.42 – 30.3.43

Empire Emerald departed from Liverpool on 14 December for Loch Ewe, arriving on 17 December, where she joined Convoy JW 51B. The convoy sailed on 22 December and arrived at the Kola Inlet, on 4 January 1943. She was carrying a mixture of furnace fuel oil and Avgas. Empire Emerald returned as part of Convoy RA 53, arriving Loch Ewe on 14-Mar-1943 and at the Clyde on 16-Mar.

Convoy JW 51B was pursued by aircraft and U-boats and later by surface vessels, including the cruiser, Hipper, in what was later known as the Battle of the Barents Sea. The minesweeper Bramble and the destroyer Achates were sunk and the destroyer Onslow damaged, but the German attacking force was repulsed, with one German destroyer, Eckoldt, sunk and the cruiser, Hipper, damaged.

SS Volendam 19.6.43-14.7.43
The Volendam was a troop transport that supported the transfer of troops to North Africa and in during the invasion of Sicily. It is unlikely that Stanley was involved in the landing of troops for the Invasion of Sicily as Operation Husky began on the night of 9–10 July 1943 and ended on 17 August.

SS Esperance Bay 24-Apr-43 to 10-Jun-43; then Jul-43 to 5-Feb-44

Esperance Bay was fitted out as an Armed Merchant Cruiser at Brisbane in Sep.1939, she was operated by the Royal Australian Navy until 1941 when she became a troopship. Stanley made trips to New York on Esperance Bay 14-May-1943 and 28-Dec-1943.

Stanley was excused sea service, due to illness, for a month from Feb-Mar-1944, but this was extended. He was awarded a disability allowance on 29-Jun-1944 but must have returned to sea, as he is listed on the Merchant Navy Roll of Honour at his death on 27-Nov-1947 as 2nd Steward on SS Empire Emerald.

Biography from Keith Farrar