Donald Gordon Clark of Aberdeenshire died of wounds received in France on 13th April 1918, aged 25 years.
Donald was born at Echt, Aberdeenshire in 1892 and attended Bootham School from 1905 to 1908. He played in 2nd XI Football and Cricket teams, was school Librarian, and a member of the committee of the school Debating Society among others. He enjoyed carpentry and in the school Christmas Exhibition of 1907 he won the Workshop prize for his Garden Seat. He also won prizes in school tournaments for Aquatics, Fives and Athletics.
In 1908, his “Bene Decessit” entry in the school magazine, “Bootham”, read:
“DONALD G. CLARK leaves from the Upper Schoolroom to enter his father’s bank.”
He was a member of the Institute of Bankers in Scotland.
Donald joined the Army soon after the outbreak of War. “Bootham” of March 1915 reports:
“Bootham School War Lists.
(1) Under Military Discipline:—
CLARK, D. G., 6th Bn. Gordon Highlanders. Lieutenant. Wounded.”
A year later, “Bootham” of March 1916 reports:
“Bootham School War Lists.
Under Military Discipline :—
Clark, D. G., Capt., 6th Bn. Gordon Highlanders.”
and in “Across the Months”:
“D. G. CLARK, Gordon Highlanders, went to France in November, 1914. He was wounded at Neuve Chapelle (March 13th, 1915) on the head and thigh, and was in a London hospital for about a month. He was promoted Captain in September, 1915, and rejoined his regiment in France in October. Writing February 26th, he says he is in a ” soft pinch. ” “
“Bootham” of May 1918 reported that Donald was still with the Army:
“O.Y.S. War-time Service Lists.
Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army.
Clark D. G., Capt., Gordon Highlanders.”
However, this was followed in July 1918 issue of “Bootham” with the following:
“Bootham July 1918
CLARK.—On the 13th April, 1918, killed in action in France, Donald Gordon Clark (1905-8), aged 26.”
Donald Gordon Clark was awarded the D.S.O. and the Military Cross and Bar.
His entry in “Bootham” of April 1919 reads as follows:
DONALD GORDON CLARK (1905-8),Capt. 6thBatt. the Gordon Highlanders (M.C. and Bar; D.S.O.), died of wounds received in action, April 13th, 1918.
Donald Clark’s contemporaries at Bootham have all heard with deep regret of his death, and looking back upon school days they will preserve a memory of him as a good comrade, manly, cheerful, loyal.
After leaving school he had settled down to prepare for his life’s calling, occupying leisure time with work in the Territorials, but in the fateful August of 1914 he put aside the prospects of a quiet life and entered the Army. Through his application and merit he was quickly promoted. Some of us who met him at Bootham two years ago are not likely to forget his quiet way as he told us of experiences and escapes.
Here are words of his commanding officers and of others associated with him in the last days: ” His fine leadership and disregard of danger ” . . . ” his men would go anywhere with him.”
” His absolute fearlessness, wonderful endurance and devotion to duty were beyond any words of praise of mine.” And this, too, from another officer: ” He understood the wants of his men, and attended to them before he minded his own. Many a time he has cheered on some lad with his mouth organ or a good story.”
To read of these lives and of their passing is to invest with fuller meaning the motto of our School, and to enrich the inheritance which is ours to hand on. “
Captain Donald Gordon Clark is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.