CWG: Serjeant John Bunclark

Serjeant John Bunclark

John Bunclark was born in the village of Lustleigh, near Bovey Tracey in Devon in 1888. His father is lost to time, but his mother was farm labourer’s daughter, Elizabeth Bunclark. Elizabeth worked as a kitchen maid for a local solicitor, so John’s grandparents – John and Mary – raised him as their own.

In 1894, Elizabeth went on to marry William Wright – they went on to have four children of their own, while John remained with his grandparents. Tragically, in 1907, Elizabeth died in childbirth; the boy also died.

In 1906, John was longing for bigger and better things, and a military career appeared a good option. He joined the Devonshire Regiment as a Private and, while full details of his service are no available, it seems that John made a good impression.

In 1912, John married Emma Jane Horrell. She was the daughter of an agricultural labourer from Tavistock, who was working as a domestic servant when they met. The couple went on to have four children, between 1912 and 1918.

When war broke out, Private Bunclark was posted to France; his battalion – the 2nd – served in many of the key battles of the conflict, including Neuve Chapelle, The Somme, Ypres and Arras. At some point during the war, however, John transferred to the 641st Employment Company of the Labour Corps; this meant work on the Home Front, and a promotion to Serjeant came with it.

It was while John was on leave back in Newton Abbot that he fell ill. His specific ailment is lost to time, but he was admitted to the Temporary Hospital at the Institution in the town. He passed away on 7th November 1918, at the age of 30 years old.

John Clark was laid to rest in Newton Abbot Cemetery.


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