Photo of Private Edward Clark
Private Edward Clark
1/5th Bn King’s Own Scottish Borderers
Died 17th November 1917
Edward Clark was born at 19 Low Vennel, Wigtown, on 7 March 1895. He was the son of butcher’s assistant Thomas Clark and domestic servant Elizabeth Finningham. Edward and his family moved to Botany Street where they spent the years leading up to the War. He enlisted with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in November 1914 and was drafted to the 1/5th Battalion in January 1916 when they were in Egypt.
The Battalion had seen service at Gallipoli in 1915 before moving to Egypt initially to protect the Suez Canal from attack by the Turks. The Suez Canal provided a vital line of supply for Britain as it brought troops from India, Australia and New Zealand to the Western Front. The 1/5th were moved here discourage Turkish attempts to cut that supply line. They faced regular skirmishes from Turkish raids across the desert and in August 1916 they were called to more concerted action, successfully, in the Battle of Romani. Edward and his comrades would have had the opportunity to see the Pyramids as well as managing the camels which supplied the troops with drinking water.
Allied commanders then decided that the best way to defend the Canal would be to advance further East and North to create a deeper buffer zone. That meant trying to capture Gaza. The initial attempt was unsuccessful so the Allies reinforced their forces and tried again. The 1/5th were heavily involved in more action later in the year including a ferocious battle at Mughar in mid-November. It may have been here that Edward Clarke of the 1/5th was serious wounded. He was evacuated to hospital at Kantara in Egypt  where he died.
In the early part of the First World War, Kantara was an important point in the defence of Suez against Turkish attacks and marked the starting point of the new railway east towards Sinai and Palestine, begun in January 1916. Kantara developed into a major base and hospital centre and the cemetery was begun in February 1916 for burials from the various hospitals, continuing in use until late 1920. After the Armistice, the cemetery was more than doubled in size when graves were brought in from other cemeteries and desert battlefields, notably those at Rumani, Qatia, El Arish and Rafa. Edward Clark is buried at Kantara War Memorial Cemetery which contains 1,562 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 110 from the Second World War.