Sammy Clarke

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Sammy Clarke
Sydney Campbell Clarke.png
Personal information
Full name Sydney Campbell Clarke
Date of birth 5 April 1914
Place of birth West Midland, Western Australia
Date of death 24 January 1945(1945-01-24) (aged 30)
Place of death New Guinea
Original team Hale School
Height/Weight 187 cm[1]
Position(s) Centre half-back, half-back flanker
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1933–41 Claremont 133 (6)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1934–37 Western Australia 8 (0)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1941 season.
Career highlights

Sydney Campbell "Sammy" Clarke (5 April 1914 – 24 January 1945) was an Australian rules footballer and flying officer who was killed in the Second World War. From Perth, Western Australia, he attended Perth Boys' School and Hale School, representing Western Australia at schoolboy football, before being recruited to the Claremont-Cottesloe Football Club in the Western Australian National Football League (WANFL) for the 1933 season. Clarke won the Sandover Medal in his first season in the WANFL, and again won in 1934, to be the first back-to-back winner of the award. In total, he played 133 games for the club between 1933 and 1941, including the 1939 premiership, as well as representing Western Australia in eight interstate matches. Clarke enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942, and was recorded as missing in operations, presumed dead, near Tadji, New Guinea, in 1945. He was posthumously inducted into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Western Australian Hall of Champions in 2009.

Biography[edit]

Clarke was born in West Midland (now Woodbridge), Western Australia, on 5 April 1914. His father, Sydney Clarke, Sr., played football for West Adelaide in the South Australian Football Association (SAFA) and Railways in the Goldfields Football Association (GFA).[2] Clarke attended Perth Boys' School and Hale School,[3] and captained the Western Australian schoolboys' side at the 1928 National Carnival in Brisbane, and Hale School's First XVIII in 1930. Clarke played for the Pastimes Football Club (now the Carey Park Football Club) in the Bunbury district football competition in 1931,[4] before returning to Perth in 1932 to play for Nedlands in the Metropolitan Junior Football Association. He captained the club to the 1932 premiership, and also won the Strempel Medal for the best player in that competition.[5] Clarke was recruited to Claremont-Cottesloe for the 1933 season, having been considered one of the best juniors in Western Australia the previous season. Clarke had an outstanding season, winning the Sandover Medal for the fairest and best player in the competition, despite his club winning the wooden spoon that season.[6] He again won the medal in 1934, becoming the first back-to-back winner of the award. He missed the 1938 premiership win while undergoing training in England with the Royal Air Force (RAF), having worked his way overseas and back on a freighter.[7] Clarke also represented Western Australia eight times, captaining the side against South Australia at Leederville Oval in 1934, and playing two matches at the 1937 Australian National Football Carnival, held in Perth.[6]

At the conclusion of the 1939 season, in which he played in the second of Claremont's three consecutive premierships, Clarke purchased a mercery business in Busselton, and thus did not play in the competition in 1940.[8] He returned to Perth prior to the beginning of the 1941 season, with Claremont enlisting his services for one final season.[9] Clarke had played his 100th game for the club in May 1939, and finished his career with 133 games and 6 goals.[10] Although aged 28, Clarke enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in July 1942, and was posted to the No. 8 Squadron as a flying officer.[11] In January 1945, Clarke was the pilot of a Bristol Beaufort (serial number A9-630), with three other crew on board, which was presumed missing after failing to return from an anti-submarine sweep, his first active mission, near Tadji in the Territory of New Guinea.[12] Clarke's name is featured on the War Memorial in Lae.[13] In 1952, the Claremont Football Club established the Sammy Clarke Memorial Medal for the best player in the under-15 district football competition.[14] Clarke was inducted into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2005, and into the Western Australian Hall of Champions in 2009.[6][15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THE SANDOVER MEDAL. S. Clarke Succeeds in First Season" – The West Australian. Published Wednesday, 20 September 1933. Retrieved from Trove, 9 September 2011.
  2. ^ "THE SANDOVER MEDAL. S. Clarke Succeeds in First Season" – Western Mail. Published 21 September 1933. Retrieved from Trove, 9 September 2011.
  3. ^ "SANDOVER MEDAL - Combine Defender Successful" – Sunday Times. Published 24 September 1933. Retrieved from Trove, 9 September 2011.
  4. ^ Sydney Clarke (Claremont/Claremont-Cottesloe) – FullPointsFooty. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  5. ^ Metropolitan JuniorsThe Western Mail. Published 15 September 1932. Retrieved from Trove, 10 April 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Sydney (Sammy) Clarke – WA Hall of Champions inductees – WAIS. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  7. ^ FOOTBALL SAM CLARKE MISSINGThe Daily News. Published 31 January 1945. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  8. ^ Claremont Lose S. ClarkeThe Daily News. Published 27 January 1940. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  9. ^ Sam Clarke Back In PerthThe Daily News. Published 8 March 1941. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  10. ^ CLARKE GETS CENTURYThe Daily News. Published 20 May 1939. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  11. ^ Certificate for Sydney Campbell Clarke – WW2 Nominal Roll. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  12. ^ A9 DAP / Bristol Beaufort – ADF Aircraft Serial Numbers. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  13. ^ Roll of Honour - Sydney Campbell Clarke – Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  14. ^ CHAMPION'S MEMORIALThe West Australian. Published 24 September 1952. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  15. ^ WA Football Hall of Fame inductees – West Australian Football Commission. Retrieved 27 August 2012.