James William Clarke first appeared on a census in 1901 living with his family at 49, Spon Green, Buckley (Mold), Buckley, Flintshire. Head of the household and father was John Hayes Clarke 28, a coal miner whose wife was Emily 24. Their children were Fred 3 and James 1. The parents and Fred had been born in Buckley and James in Mold, Flintshire.
John Hayes Clarke and Emily Ellis had married in Chester in a civil ceremony in 1898 (ROC/38/27.
By the 1911 census they were living at the Horse & Jockey Inn in Penymynydd, John Hayes Clarke, 37 was not described as an Inn Keeper, however, he was an Engine Driver (Above ground). Emily 34, his wife of 14 years had given birth to 4 children all of whom survived. They were listed as Frederick 13 and James 11 who were both at school. Doris was 4 and baby Caroline 10 months.
James William Clarke’s army Service Record survives and is accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk. It tells us that he enlisted in September 1917 and signed up in Wrexham on the 27th September 1917 when he was 18 years and 1 month old. . His address was given as The Horse and Jockey, Pen y Mynydd near Mold. His trade was ‘Telephone Attendant’ and he named his father as his next of kin. James was 5 feet 2 and a half inches tall and his chest measurement was 33 inches with a 21/2 inch expansion range.
The records show that he spent 12 days in hospital at Kinmel Camp, Bodelwyddan in January and February 1918 suffering with influenza.
The records show that James had died as the result of an accident on the 18th May 1918 whilst he was on home leave. An inquest had been held in Chester and a verdict of accidental death had been returned. There is an indistinct and difficult to read internal army telegram which seems to suggest the next of kin had requested a military funeral . It was noted that his unit was in Ireland.
The County Herald – 24th May 1918 – Buckley
A Young Soldier’s Death – A young soldier named James William Clarke, aged about 19; the son of Mr. James Clarke, licencee of the Horse & Jockey Hotel, Penymynydd, and who was home on leave, met with his death under painful circumstances on Saturday morning. It appears he had been home on leave when at 9.30 in the morning he cycled downhill, near Bannel Signal Box, Bannel Bridge when he apparently lost control of his machine and crashed into a milk float that was going the other way, he crashed into the shaft of the milk float and he was hanging bodily from it, his bicycle went from under him, Eventually, he extracted himself, but the shaft had gone through his tunic. It was evident that he was seriously injured. A Doctor was called and he was taken to Chester Infirmary, but he died as he arrived there. (See the copy of the newspaper article) An inquest on Monday afternoon at Chester and a verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.
The County Herald – 24th May 1918- Deaths
Clarke – May 18th, the result of an accident, William Clarke, son of Mr. James Clarke, Horse & Jockey Inn, Penymynydd.
Hawarden Parish Registers Burials. – Page 98 No 783 James William Clarke, Horse & Jockey Inn, New Road, 22nd May 1918 age 18 years