Pte Clarence Sanderson







Clarence was born on May 4th 1900, the Son of John Robert and Annie Elizabeth Sanderson of 4 Wilberforce Terrace, Bean Street, Hull. His father was a dock labourer and as a boy he attended the Blundell Street School in Hull.

He was married on the 24th December 1921 to Miss Elizabeth Nobel at St Margaret’s Parish Church, Sculcoates, Hull and his best man was John Marriot who had been wounded in World War 1, shot through the head by a German Sniper on the last day of the War. At this time he was employed as a Rullyman (driver of a horse and wagon).

After joining the 53rd (Young Soldiers) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry on the 4th May 1918, his 18th Birthday, Clarence did 4 weeks basic training before being called up for service on the 4th June 1918. After a further 8 months training on the 8th February 1919 he was posted to the 51st (Graduated) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry. On the 21st October 1919 he was posted to the 20th Battalion.

Clarence sailed with the 51st Durham Light Infantry (DLI) on the 11th March 1919 to Dunkirk and then travelled by rail to Cologne in Germany to take over Guard duties from the 52nd DLI as part of the 3rd Northern Brigade, 3rd Northern Division, British Occupation Army of the Rhine, the two Battalions with the 20th DLI then performed this duty in rotation.

These young Soldiers who served in the Garrison of the Occupied Territory well maintained the reputation of the British Army in circumstances which could not be otherwise than difficult.

He was transferred to Class “Z” Army Reserve on the 19th February 1920. He seems to have been in and out of Army Employment until on the 27th April 1921 he enlisted into the Yorkshire regimental Territorial Army and was posted to the 4th EYR and was employed in Hull at the Coal Dept of the Hull Co-operative Society until the outbreak of war.

Embodied to the 4th EYR (T) “C” Company on 2nd October 1939 and billeted at Maulesbury Manor Stow on the Wolds, he was then transferred to the 150th Infantry Brigade on the 3rd November 1939.

Sent abroad in May 1940 with the EY|R Infantry HQ Company and during the tragic retreat of British and French forces he was reported taken Prisoner of War at Vimy Ridge on the 24th May 1940. He took part in the forced marches for 23 days into Germany interned from 9th May 1940 at Stalag XXA – Thorun (Thorne-Poland). 1st November 1940 transferred to from Stalag XXA to Stalag XXB Marienberg, Germany. It is at this time that Clarence was able to send a postcard home informing them he was a POW at Stalag XXA dated 10th June 1940.

In 1941 he was stationed at a farm on the coast and with a few comrades he made his escape and hid in a coal bunker of a small fisherman’s craft. Just before sailing, one of the fugitives went on deck for a last look around and had the misfortune to be seen by the Germans and was immediately shot. A German shore patrol boarded the vessel and rather risking searching a small coal bunker they dropped tear gas and quickly captured the escapees.

So for another four years Clarence remained a prisoner eventually becoming ill and was put into hospital. While in the hospital the German contingent was evacuated and left the patients, the following day the Russian Tanks arrived all driven by Women of the Red Army.

Clarence was repatriated on the 30th March 1945 released from Class “Z” (T) Reserve for attaining the age limit for liability to recall. Clarence was awarded the Efficiency Medal (Territorial) , 1939-1945 Star, War Medal 1939-1945, and awarded the commemorative Battle of Dunkirk certificate and Medal.

Clarence died on the 17th March 1958 aged 58 years old after collapsing at the gates of Hull Radiator Works where he was employed as a Core Maker, he was taken to hospital but died of a Coronary Occlusion and Atherosclerosis, and he lived at 2 Woolshed Cottages National Avenue. His brother also served with the BLA and both his sons served with the Army and Royal Navy