|Date of Birth||1891|
|Place of Birth||Exeter, Devon|
|Next of Kin||Miss M Clark, sister, Castle Mallwood, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, England|
|Trade / Calling||Tailor, Fireman|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Age at Enlistment||24|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||September 15, 1916|
|Age at Death||25|
|Buried At||Courcelette British Cemetery, Somme, France|
With his birth registered during the 1st quarter of 1891 in Exeter, Devonshire in England, Mancel Clark was likely born on 18 February 1891. His parents James Clark and Emily Bowden were both from Exeter, marrying during the 3rd quarter of 1888. The 1891 census found the family living in Exeter where James was working as a general labourer. By the birth of their daughter Emily Maud in 1893 the family had moved to Lydford in the registration district of Tavistock. After James died in 1896 Emily supported the family by taking in laundry as evidenced by the 1901 census. Sadly she died during the last quarter of 1903.
Mancel left Liverpool for Canada aboard the Virginian on 26 April 1906. He was travelling with a group of children under the care of the Children’s Aid Society, listed as farm hands on their way to Winnipeg. Known as British Home Children, ‘Between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from the British Isles during the child emigration movement. Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Canada. Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help.’ (Library and Archives Canada).
By the time of the 1911 census, Mancel’s sister Emily was living in Bristol, working as a nursemaid domestic for the Pease family on Cote Bank, Westbury on Trym in Bristol. Mancel was next found on the passenger list of the Royal George that embarked from Bristol on 17 June 1913, arriving in Montreal on the 24th. He was listed as a returning Canadian, having lived in Canada for 6 years. Although his destination was given as Winnipeg, under the stamp of ‘Returning Canadian’, it appears that he had previously been living in Kenora, Ontario.
Mancel signed his attestation papers on 23 January 1915 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His date of birth was given as 18 February 1892 and his next of kin as his sister Miss Clark in Castle Malwood, Lyndhurst, Hampshire in England. On his attestation papers his occupation was listed as tailor while elsewhere in his service record it was given as fireman, presumably for a railway. A portion of his pay was assigned to Miss Laura Seamer on Strathcona Street in Winnipeg. Born in 1896 in Exeter, England, Laura had also been travelling with her family on the Royal George back in 1913.
As a Private with the 44th Battalion, Mancel arrived in England on 30 October 1915 aboard the Lapland. In April of 1916 Mancel was transferred to the 27th Battalion, taken on strength in the field on the 16th. One of the most notable battles of Somme the 27th Battalion participated in was the Battle of Courcelette on 15 September 1916. This battle marked the first time in history tanks were used in warfare. However, all six tanks that used that day were knocked out; they were incredibly unreliable. The Canadians suffered around 7,000 casualties during the battle which lasted until the 22nd of September. (Wikipedia) Casualties of the 27th Battalion on 15 September were 5 officers and 67 other ranks killed, 7 officers and 243 other ranks wounded, 1 officer and 71 other ranks missing. 200 German prisoners were captured. On that first day of the battle Mancel was first reported as wounded, then status changed to missing, and finally as killed in action. Exhumed from between Pozieres and Courcelette about 4.5 miles northeast of Albert, Mancel was later interred in the Courcelette British Cemetery. His medals and decorations and plaque and scroll were sent to his sister Emily in Bristol, England. Laura Seamer married Charles Jerome in August of 1920 in Vancouver. The marriage ending in divorce in 1941, Laura died in 1977 in North Vancouver.
Mancel is commemorated for his service on page 67 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa and on the Lydford War Memorial in England. Clive Aslet has written a book entitled War Memorial The Story of One Village’s Sacrifice From 1914 to 2003, paying tribute to those from the village who lost their lives in wartime, including Mancel. The Kenora Cenotaph and the Kenora Legion War Memorial both bear the name of M Clark and after extensive research with all other possibilities having been eliminated, the commemorations are likely also for Mancel.