Eighty-four years ago today, on 4 September 1932, great-uncle Walter Clarke died in Palgrave, Suffolk, England at the age of 71. He was a public-spirited man, and his death was therefore felt not only by family, but by his community as well. The Diss Express for 9 September 1932 carried a report of Uncle Walter’s death that included many details of his public service.
Walter was born in Palgrave in 1861 and trained as a printer-compositor. He worked for Francis Cupiss of Diss, Norfolk, a veterinarian medicines manufacturer who operated several printing presses to create, among other things, labels for his horse and cattle medications. On the death of Mr. Cupiss, Walter continued to run both the printing and veterinary aspects of the business. His business took him to every corner of Great Britain, and Walter was well-known in agricultural circles.
Uncle Walter was very active in the Church of England. He sang in Palgrave St. Peter’s Church choir for 64 years, served as a church warden for 21 years, read the Sunday lessons in church, and had been licensed as a lay reader shortly before his death. My aunt, Evangeline Clarke, recalled that Uncle Walter had been a Sunday school teacher, and in fact he had lead Sunday school for 21 years. He was also the leader of the Men’s Bible Class. As reported in the Diss Express, Uncle Walter was involved with many charitable works within the parish of Palgrave.
On a lighter note, there were several occasions when people rose to their feet when Uncle Walter entered the room, having mistaken him for King George V!
R.I.P Uncle Walter
Diss Express (England). 1932. Palgrave: The Late Mr. Walter Clarke. Diss Express. 9 September. p. 4b-c. British Newspapers 1710-1953. http://www.findmypast.com/ : accessed 4 September 2016.