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Loos Memorial, France Loos Memorial, France
First Name: Charles Herbert Last Name: CLARKE
Date of Death: 04/11/1915 Lived/Born In: Charlton
Rank: Private Unit: Middlesex11
Memorial Site: Loos Memorial, France

Current Information:

Born-Greenwich

Between 1st November and 6th November, 1915, 11th Middlesex of 36 Brigade, 12th Division were subjected to one of their most awful trench experiences when they moved into the front line west of the Hohenzollern Redoubt in the Loos sector.  The names ‘Sticky Trench’ and ‘Mud Trench’ were most appropriate.  The rain was continuous and in places the trenches were waist high in mud and water.  The relief took 6 hours and by dawn on 2nd November the position was even more hopeless. The men had had no sleep because there was nowhere to lie down.  Men and officers stayed on the fire step all night.  There were no dug-outs and the parapet was continually falling in because there was no revetting material and sandbags proved useless.  It was cold, wet and sheer hell especially when the Germans shelled the trenches, which they did regularly. Finally on 4th November the  rain stopped but the Pioneers sent up to repair the trenches declared it an impossible task and withdrew.  On this day the shelling was particularly heavy and 5 men were killed and another 12 wounded.  Many went sick and this was not surprising. The battalion diary reported on 5th November that ‘By this time all ranks had been soaked through and standing continuously in mud and water for over 100 hours with no chance of sleep or even lying down’  The next day they were relieved from front line and moved back to reserve trenches but it was not until 14th November that they finally moved back to billets at Sailly Labourse. By this time well over 100 men had gone sick from among other things, trench foot, rheumatism and bronchitis.

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