Hugh Kelly Clarke

Rank: Gunner

Unit: 3rd Field Artillery Brigade

Service Number: 39787

Personal Information: Hugh was born in 1897, brother of Bernard and William (who both went to war) grew up in Tarlee, South Australia. He also grew up on the farm Ryelands. His mother Sophie Jane and his father William Angus both raised him well enough for him to become a bank clerk. He was very successful. He was also my great, great uncle and therefore my grandma’s uncle. Hugh decided he would enlist and went along to the enlistment offices on the 26th of June 1917. He was 19 when he left for war from Sydney on the 30th of April 1918. At the time he was 5 foot 9 inches tall, with a dark complexion, green eyes and black hair.

At War
Hugh was part of the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade as a gunner. There is not much information on Hugh in the time he was over at war. By the time he arrived in France the war was nearly over. However, Grandma told me the story as to why he wasn’t allowed to fight. With the news of his brother’s death and William’s injury the head officers thought he would try and take on the entire German army. This story made me smile a bit as it sounds like something my father and uncles would do in the same situation. Grandma also mentioned to me on how difficult it would be for the three brothers parents to see them all go off to war.

After the War
Hugh didn’t return to Australia immediatley after the war ended. Instead, he was unlucky enough to catch the deadly flu. The flu killed off more people than the war did itself. For two months he stayed in Sutton Veny to recover from his illness. He was placed in the Army General Hospital. Unlike the thousands of other people who didn’t make it through the fight of the flu, Hugh did. He was a lucky one. He then went back and forth from France, England and Sutton Veny. It may be that Hugh was working in the Hospital. He then returned to Sutton Veny one last time to become a civilian and no longer a part of the Australian Army. He eventually returned to Australia and married Fany and had 2 children, William and Joyce. After settling down he started working at the Keswick Army Barracks as a clerk. Hugh sadly died in the year 1974 due to natural causes.