CLARKE, Hector William

Hector was one of twelve Warialda district men who joined with the First Contingent of Kurrajongs in January 1916.  He was just eighteen and a half years old when, with his father's permission, he enlisted at Warialda.

At the Battle of Passchendale in 1917 Hector received gunshot wounds to his right arm and leg and had to be evacuated to England where he was hospitalised for almost three months. Early in 1918 he was sent back to France to re-join his battalion.

Hector took part in the Battle of Messines and was awarded a Military Medal for 'bravery and fearlessness' in the raid which took place on the night of 3rd and 4th March 1918.  He was wounded again in August and returned to hospital in England.  Regarded as an invalid, he was sent home to Australia in January 1919 and discharged the following April.

After the War, Hector returned to the family property at Coolatai until his marriage in 1930 when he and his wife moved to Jimbour, Queensland to live.  The Warialda Standard newspaper, 23 April 1922, noted that Hector was instrumental in organising a Memorial Honor Roll at Coolatai.  Given by returned soldiers, the beautiful memorial, made of maple with gold lettering, was dedicated to Kurrajong men, Sergeant Cawkwell and Lance Corporal Jesse Judge, who both died during the War.

Photo: Private Collection