No. 6647, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Thursday 24 August 1916 (aged 20)
Vermelles British Cemetery, France (Grave III. O. 6)
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
Harland & Wolff Memorial Plaque
In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Lance Corporal Andrew Clarke (No. 6647) was born in Comber, lived in Dublin and enlisted in Belfast. In the Press it was reported that, in civilian life, he was employed at the Queen’s Island.
Andrew Clarke was born on 7 September 1895 and he was a son of Robert James and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Clarke (nee Horner) who were married on 21 November 1894 in Comber Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mary’s). Robert James Clarke, a widower and sexton from Comber, was a son of Richard Clarke, a labourer. Lizzie Horner, a mill worker from Comber, was a daughter of John Horner, a tailor.
The Clarke family lived at 10 The Square, Comber and at 6 Castle Street, Comber.
Robert James Clarke worked as a labourer and gravedigger and he and Lizzie had five children:
Andrew (born 7 September 1895 in The Square, Comber)
Susanna (born 24 January 1897 in The Square, Comber)
Mary Jane (born 28 July 1898 in The Square, Comber)
James (born 21 February 1900 in The Square, Comber)
William (born 25 February 1902 in The Square, Comber)
Robert James Clarke had previously been married to Agnes McKibbin (sometimes McKibben). They were married on 2 November 1887 in First Comber Presbyterian Church. Robert James Clarke (aged 23) was a labourer from Comber. Agnes McKibbin (aged 22) from Cherryvalley, Comber was a daughter of James McKibben, a tailor.
Robert James and Agnes Clarke (nee McKibbin) had two children:
Robert John (born 4 May 1888 in Cherryvalley, Comber)
Elizabeth (Lizzie, born 31 May 1891 in the Crescent, Comber)
Agnes Clarke died of peritonitis on 19 February 1892 (aged 26)
After leaving school and before he enlisted, Andrew Clarke worked in a spinning mill.
Andrew Clarke and Sarah McKernin were married on 28 December 1915 in Megain Memorial Presbyterian Church Belfast. Andrew Clarke was a soldier from 16 Manderson Street, Belfast. Sarah McKernin of 24 Chamberlain Street, Belfast was a daughter of Harry McKernin, an engine driver. Sarah’s mother’s name was Eliza.
Lance Corporal Andrew Clarke (No. 6647) served with the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and he was 20 when he was killed in a bomb explosion on 24 August 1916 whilst holding the line against a German attack. He had been married for less than eight months.
Lance Corporal Andrew Clarke (No. 6647) was buried in Vermelles British Cemetery, France and he is commemorated in the Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour and on the Harland & Wolff Memorial Plaque.