S.M.R. Clifford William PERKIN

Royal Navy
(Formerly: Royal Engineers)
Senior Marconi Operator
Service Number:
[Formerly: Sapper 4622, R.E.]
Date of Death:
11th October 1918
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
Range A1 (not A), Division 18, Lot 25
Queen's South Africa Medal (3 clasps)
King's South Africa Medal (2 clasps)

Personal History:

According to his gravestone, Clifford William Perkin was born on the 8th November 1880 (baptised 12th December), at 1 St James' Street, Buxton, the eldest son of William Henry ("Inlayer of Marble Mosaic") and Laura Blanche (née Stevenson)  (Maternity Nurse) Perkins (1881 Census RG 11/3454).

By 1891 (Census RG 12/2778) the family had moved to 6 Rock Terrace, Buxton, and Clifford had an older brother, Robert William, and two younger sisters, Laura Elizabeth and Sarah Anne.
With effect from 5th January 1897 (London Gazette, 8 January 1897) Clifford was accepted for training by the Post Office as a "Sorting Clerks and Telegraph Learner".

Four years later, (1901 Census RG 13/3269) father William had died and Laura Blanche and her two daughters had moved to live at 1 Dale Terrace. However, Clifford cannot be found on the Census, for reasons described below.  In 1911 (Census RG13/21241) the family were living at 32 Market Street, Buxton and Clifford was back home, employed as a "Wireless Telegraph Officer".

Military History:
Clifford enlisted in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, in March 1896 and served with "K" Company. He served in the Boer War at the same time as his father (see Footnote below) but with the 1st Telegraph Division, Royal Engineers, attached to the 24th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers.  Clifford was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal (3 clasps - Cape Colony, Orange Free State and Transvaal) and the King's South Africa Medal (2 clasps - 1901 and 1902). At the end of the War he was transfered to the Army Reserve.

He later joined the Mercantile Marine and served through the Great War. Clifford died at
Sea, of Influenza, on the 11th October 1918, on board the S.S. Welshum. He was
buried in Hardwood Hill Cemetery, Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on the 14th
October 1918. Records show he was died on 11th October 1918 but the gravestone
inscription states November. The grave also names his parents and carries the legend:
    "One voice of Welcome Hushed and Evermore One Farewell Word Unspoken."

There are no obvious records on the CWGC Database or on Royal Navy Casualty Lists.
His rank was that of a "Radio Officer" (or, as they were known in those days, Marconi
wireless operators or telegraphists). There is also no record of Clifford's Service on the
"UK, Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972".

Clifford's father, William Henry, enlisted in 2/VB Sherwood Foresters on the 17th November 1890 and was a proficient signaling sergeant instructor with the regimental number 3115. After gaining the rank of Lance Sergeant he resigned and was struck off strength 1st November 1895. At that time he was with "D" Company.

In May 1896 he re-enlisted as a Private, taken on strength and posted to "D" Company, and permitted to assume former rank of Sergeant in "D" Coy for duty with Signaling Section. He also served in the Boer War with 4th Battalion, proceeding to South Africa in January 1900 having transferred to 4th Derbyshire Regiment, sailing on the S.S. Umbria. Like his son, L/Cpl. 7410 William Henry Perkin was awarded the Q.S.A. (2 clasps).

· I am grateful to 'Bronno', via the Great War Forum, for the information on Clifford's early career and his photo.
·  ... and also to Malcolm MacNeil for going to Nova Scotia to photograph William's grave for me.

Clifford William PERKIN
Clifford Perkin's Grave