Joseph Walter Clark was born on 22nd March 1894 at Thorley and Baptised there on 17th June 1894.
His parents were James and Jane Clark who married on 24th March 1884 at Thorley. His father was a Horse Keeper on a farm. They had 5 sons of whom Joseph was the fourth.
In the 1901 and 1911 census returns the family are to be found living at Moor Hall Cottages, Thorley. In 1901 Joseph was at school but by 1911 he was working as a farm labourer.
His Police Service Record has not survived but from General Orders we know the following. He was Appointed as Constable 189 on 8th February 1915 and initially posted for training to R Division at Headquarters.
General Order 59 of 10th April 1915 records that at the conclusion of his training he was transferred from R Division Headquarters to F Division at Hertford effective from 14th April 1915. On the same Order was PC 308 Frederick Clarke and it is safe to assume that they joined at the same time and would have known each other. The significance of this will be seen later.
A little more than six weeks later he left the Police in order to enlist.
General Order 86 of 28th May 1915 states:
The undermentioned Police Constables being desirous in enlisting in H. M. Army for the period of the war, the Deputy Chief Constable hereby gives the necessary consent as required by the Police Constable (Naval and Military Services) Act 1914, Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915
1. Police Constable 248 Hunt W.F. D Division
2. Police Constable 189 Clark J.W. F Division
Police Constable 248 Hunt and 189 Clark will be permitted to join the Army at once and will be paid up to and including the date prior to that on which they commence to draw Army pay.
The Superintendents concerned will report to Headquarters the date on which the Constables are enlisted in the Army, and the Constables will be struck off the strength of the establishment of the force as of that date.
General Order 118 of 21st July 1915 is a list of 96 officers, which included the Chief Constable, consisting of 43 Constables who were Army reservists who were recalled to the Colours and 50 Constables and 2 Sergeants who volunteered for military service.
Joseph Walter Clark is shown as PC 189 Clark J. W. ‘F’ Division who enlisted into the Hertfordshire Yeomanry on 3rd June 1915.
Joseph was one of 23 Hertfordshire Police Officers who joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry who posed for a photograph in 1915 believed at Colchester. The officers were:
1. PC 308 F. Clarke (Appointed to Police at the same time as Joseph)
2. PC 93. F. Potton
3. PC 189 J.W. Clark
4. PC 312 D.E. Cattermole
5. PC 285 G.H. Sirett
6. PC 105 H.M. Armitage
7. PC 313 H.H. Quarrie
8. PC 120 A.T. Day
9. PC 315 W.J. Thurley
10. PC 10 E.A.V. Elkins
11. PC 35 A.W. Reid
12. PS 20 H. Wright
13. PC 233 W.J. Bethell
14. PC 121 F.W.E. Perry
15. PC 274 H. Rowlingson
16. PC 19 H.W. Carder
17. PC 217 O.V. Lake
18. PC 316 A.S. Brown
19. PC 305 G. Archer
20. PC 301 G.A. Allen
21. PC 7 A.G. Capon
22. PC 321 N.J. Reid
23. PC 314 A.W. Corne
The photo included a regular Army Sergeant, Jeffrey Arthur Riches who was an instructor.
His Army Service Record also did not survive but from his Medal Roll Index Card, Medal Rolls and the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects we know the following:
Private 2465 (later 105748 under re-organisation) joined the 1st/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry and landed with them in the Balkans on 16/11/1915. During his service he was promoted to Lance Corporal. He survived the war and returned home awaiting demobilisation.
He was awarded the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory medals.
On the 11th February 1919 he died of Influenza.
On the 15th February 1919 he was buried at St James the Great Churchyard, Thorley. His headstone is engraved “In the midst of life we are in death” – text selected by his mother.
General Order 42 of 15th February 1919 stated that “The Chief Constable regrets to announce that ex-PC 189 F Joseph Walter Clark who joined the Force on 8th February 1915 and enlisted in H. M. Army on 3rd June 1915 died at his home at Thorley on 11th February 1919 whilst awaiting demobilisation from Army.”
PC 308 Frederick Clarke mentioned above died on 28th November 1918 and is buried in Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery.