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Identity of mystery Haslingden soldier is solved by veterans
4:14pm Wednesday 13th February 2013 in News
THE MYSTERY of a dead soldier from Haslingden has been solved by a team of veteran ‘detectives’.
James Clark was the only one of the 111 names listed on a Haslingden Second World War roll of honour for whom no information was known other than his name.
But Private Clark died in 1919 of pneumonia – 20 years before that war started – leading to confusion among local war historians trying to uncover his background.
Then members of Rossendale charity Veterans In Communities (VIC) stumbled across his grave by chance.
Private Clark was mistakenly listed on the Second World War roll of honour, compiled by the Irish Democratic League (IDL) club in George Street, because his year of death fell outside the timescale of the First World War Angus Lindsay, a committee member of the IDL Club, said: “We had been given the names by author the late Bill Turner, who wrote about the Accrington Pals. We had information to say their rank, when they died and where they were buried, how old they were and whether they were married.
“We had these details for all 110 other names but in the middle was this name James Clark.”
Mr Lindsay contacted VIC manager Bob Elliott, who is spearheading a project of mapping out all war memorials in the Valley.
He had been checking the former Haslingden Congregational Church graveyard, off New Street, and came across a Commonwealth grave belonging to Private James Clark. which carried an Australian insignia and his army number. He discovered the soldier had emigrated to Australia with his father when he was 15 AND enlisted in the 12th Battalion Australian Infantry in August 1915 aged 18. The unit fought and served with the ANZAC in Gallipoli, Egypt and in 1916 fought on the Western Front