Tributes paid to Royal Marine veteran Jack Clarke, who has died aged 95

PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 February 2014


Maurice "Jack" Clarke in his Royal Marine uniform in the 1940's. Picture: Submitted

© Archant Norfolk 2014

Tributes have been paid to a war veteran whose military career took him from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, from the Far East to Australia, and beyond.

Maurice "Jack" Clarke with his wife Enid. Picture: Submitted Maurice "Jack" Clarke with his wife Enid. Picture: Submitted

Maurice Clarke, who was always known as Jack, died on January 23, aged 95.

The former Royal Marine from Carbrooke had served for his country from 1937 to 1949, a 12-year career which came to an end due to the severe wounds he had suffered to his right ear during World War Two.

In a book penned by family friend Robert Chalmers, Marine Jack: An Account of a Norfolk Man’s War, it reveals how Mr Clarke spent most of the war at sea, including three eventful years aboard HMS Manchester which escorted Atlantic and Arctic convoys and spent much time of the time in the Mediterranean; including engaging the Italian fleet at Cape Spartivento, and protecting convoys to Malta.

The book, which was sold in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, also outlines his role while aboard HMS Howe, including during the Battle of Sydney.

Once Mr Clarke retired from service, he moved back to Carbrooke where he rekindled his friendship with former school friend Enid and whom he married in August 1950.

He initially started a poultry business before he went to work at Bardwell’s Timber Yard, now Jewsons, where he stayed for the rest of his working life.

His family described the keen gardener and game shooter as “hard working” who would “do anything for anybody”.

Mrs Clarke, 94, who lives in Broadmoor Road in Carbrooke and is still-life artist, said: “He was terribly well liked, he was very popular with everybody. He was very hardworking and he was a true gentleman.

“I don’t think anyone could say they heard him say a bad word about anyone. He was an exceptionally good husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.”

During his time as a Royal Marine, Mr Clarke earned a number of medals, including Africa, Burma and Italy stars. He was also part of the prestigious Royal Tournament at Olympia.

The father-of-two had recently received his Arctic Star, which was only given government approval late last year after a long campaign for recognition of veterans who served on the bitterly cold and dangerous Arctic convoys to north Russia during the 1939-1945 conflict.

At his funeral, which was held at St Peter and St Paul Church in Carbrooke on February 5, family and friends were joined by a Royal Marine standard bearer and two buglers.

His eldest son Paul, 62, who lives in Wicklewood, said: “He would never say no to helping anyone out and he would never hesitate, he would be straight there to help out.”

John, 59, his youngest son, who lives in Watton, added: “He could turn his hand to anything. He was a fantastic father.”

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