Tribute to Stevenage Dunkirk veteran George Clark who has died aged 101
PUBLISHED: 06:59 12 February 2020
A Dunkirk veteran from Stevenage, George Edward Clark, has sadly died aged 101.
George was born on December 1, 1918 in London. He was one of four brothers, and later gained two half brothers.
He grew up in east London, where he spent his childhood playing around the docks of the River Thames.
He found his first job aged just 14, delivering cheeses and butter to hotels on his bike.
The Second World War was declared when George was 20, and he joined the Royal Army Service Corps. In March 1940, after only a few months of training, he was sent over to France where he would drive the army lorries delivering fuel.
One day George and his team were given the instructions that they needed to dump all of the fuel reserves and then had to go with a dispatch rider who was going to take them to their next destination.
Little did they know, they were being taken to Dunkirk.
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After a number of days, George and a friend ran for a small rowing boat in the sea, as bombs were being dropped on the beach.
The man on the boat took them out to a slightly bigger rowing boat which, then took them out to HMS Gallant, and he was safely evacuated to Dover.
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In an interview with the Comet in 2017, George said: "If it hadn't been for that rowing boat we never would have got out of there.
"I never wanted to be in the army and never wanted to fight. It was a choice between going to war or going down the mines, so I chose to go to war. I just wanted to get through it and get home unscathed."
George trained back in the UK to be a medical officer, and was sent to a new army division - the 7th Field Dressing Station, and from there went on to the 11th Armoured Division.
When the war ended in 1945, he was moved to Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. Here, his division opened up a field hospital where he worked until the beginning of 1946 and was then able to return to London.
He was awarded the Dunkirk Medal, the France and Germany Star, the 1939-1945 Star and the War Medal 1939-1945.
George met his wife Violet in 1949. They married and settled down in north London. They had two children, Steven and Julie, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
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Julie said: "Steven and I were brought up in a loving family. We spent many holidays with our aunts and uncles in Hayling Island, Shoeburyness and the Isle of Wight.
"As children, we had a fun family life, full of laughter - there was always a family party at our house."
Over the course of his long life, George worked as a bus driver and for the British Road Service, before retiring and moving to Stevenage. They frequented the CIU Club in the Old Town where they made many friends.
George's funeral will be on Tuesday, February 25, at 2pm at Harwood Park Crematorium. Donations can be made to the Stevenage branch of the Royal British Legion.