Stoker Herbert Charles Clarke

Ship: HMS “Good Hope”
Service No: K/21948/PO
Date & place of birth: June-Sept 1895 in Petworth
Date & place of death:
1 November 1914, off the coast of Chile       

Stoker 2nd Class Herbert Clarke was one of only 3 naval men commemorated on the memorial; though Petworth is not far from Portsmouth there was clearly no strong tradition of going to sea.  

Family background

Herbert Clarke was born in Petworth in 1895 and in the 1911 Census was living at Railway Cottages, close to Petworth Station. His father Stephen was working as a platelayer on the railway. His mother was named Alice; Herbert had two sisters and a brother born before 1891 and two other siblings recorded by 1911. There is no record of the other siblings going to war. In 1911 he was a newsboy, presumably taking papers delivered to the station from London to addresses in the town.

Military career

Though we do not know when Herbert joined the Navy, we can assume it was before the outbreak of war; had he joined after the commencement he would not have been trained and in action so soon. He worked as a Stoker in the engine room of the Armoured Cruiser “HMS Good Hope”.

Death & commemoration

Herbert Clarke died when his ship was lost at sea during the Battle of Coronel Islands off the Chilean coast. The battle was fought against superior numbers of the German fleet under Admiral von Spee, and the other ship destroyed was the “Monmouth”; a total of 1600 men including Admiral Cradock were lost, with no survivors from either ship. Shock at the losses caused reinforcements to be sent to the Falkland Islands.

Clarke is also commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea (MR3).



Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project