Arthur James Clark

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Vectis East Horsham, Victoria, Australia

General information

Last known residence:
Horsham, Victoria, Australia
Engine Driver
Church of England

Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Lance Corporal
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
 —  Australian Infantry, 6th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Zonnebeke Lake, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery
Plot: IV
Row: C
Grave: 12

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of death or original burial place

My story

Arthur James Clark, a former engine driver, was born in March 1887 in Horsham, Victoria, Australia. He was the son of James Simpson Clark and Louisa Letitia Clark. On March 3, 1915 he enlisted in Horsham and embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A62 Wandilla on June 17, 1915, with the 8th Battalion, part of the 2nd Australian Brigade of the 1st Australian Division. He later joined the 6th Battalion also part of the 2nd Australian Brigade of the 1st Australian Division.

On 4 October 1917 the 1st Australian Division participated in the Battle of Broodseinde, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. The Division had to advance on the right of the village of Zonnebeke and had to capture and secure the Broodseinde Ridge and a part of the Passchendaele-Beselare Road. Its attack was carried by two Brigades. The 1st Australian Brigade and 2nd Australian Brigade. The 2nd Australian Brigade firstly attacked with the 8th Battalion. Once they had captured the first objective the 6th and 7th Battalions would move through to the second objective.

The 6th battalion moved into position at about 02.00 a.m. While the Battalion was waiting till the sign to attack the German artillery laid down a very heavy barrage on the line. Many Australians were caught in the open and the Battalions in the line suffered heavy casualties. The German shelling did not indicate any pre-knowledge of an Australian attack, but was a precursor to a German attack that was due to commence coincidentally with the Australian attack. When the German infantry attacked they were caught in the allied barrage, which preceded the Australian assault. The barrage drove everything beyond it, inflicting very heavy casualties on the German defenders. The German soldiers had almost no place to hide. The ones that did survive the heavy shelling were quickly dispersed, killed or taken prisoner by the advancing troops. Even the Germans in the concrete strongpoints were utterly shocked. Most of them surrendered without putting up a fight.

The main resistance of the 6th Battalion’s advance came from a large crater, near Retaliation Farm, in which a pill-box was situated. This position supported by other nearby posts. Bombing parties of the 6th Battalion quickly outflanked the positions and eventually managed to silence or capture the defenders. Meanwhile the 8th Battalion had advanced through the marsh and tree stumps of Romulus and Remus Woods, north of the hamlet of Molenaarelsthoek. They arrived at the first objective, the red line, around 07.15 a.m. Around 08.00 a.m. the 7th and 6th Battalions moved through the 8th Battalion and carried on the advance. They quickly captured the summit of the ridge. While passing west of Celtic Wood, the 6th Battalion was now fired upon from distant machine gun positions on the Keiberg. At one stage the advance on Celtic Wood was halted by a German strongpoint. It was silenced by a Lewis gun team and by noon, the Australians had consolidated their positions astride the ridge. No counter-attacks were launched and the Battalion kept on holding the line till they were relieved on the next day.

Arthur James, aged 30, was killed in action on October 4, 1917. Lance Corporal Clark was initially buried where he fell, close to Zonnebeke Lake (28.D.28.c.40.40). After the war, his remains were exhumed and reinterred in the Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery, Plot 4, Row C, Grave 12.

Sources 4

2nd Brigade Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/2/30).
Sources used
6th Battalion Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/23/23).
Sources used
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920 (National Archives of Australia, Canberra (NAA), B2455).
Sources used
Unit embarkation nominal rolls, 1914-18 War (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM8).
Sources used

More information 4