Nobby/Tobby Clark/Clarke, possibly KOYLI & Looking for list of members of Chindits

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Guillaume REBIERE, Apr 15, 2024.

  1. Hello,
    I am doing some research about my wife's grandfather, a British national named Clark or Clarke, who was presumably stationed in Burma at the beginning of the war, and who then fought during the Burma campaign.
    All we have left is a picture of him in his Chindit uniform.
    And all we know is that he stayed in Burma for a while after the war, where he worked at the post office. He married my wife's grandmother, a Burmese/Shan lady from Maymyo (probably met when he was posted there before the war). They had 3 children in Burma.
    We are not even sure when and where he died.
    Finally, we only know that he only had one sister in UK.
    All other information about him was lost.
    Is there an official listing of the men who were incorporated in the Chindits, so that I may find his name and perhaps more information about him?
    Thank you in advance for your help.
    Best regards,

    See also
    Searching for more information Chindits 2 King's Own
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2024
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Welcome to the forum we do have Burma experts on the forum who will be along shortly to try to assist you further.
    Guillaume REBIERE likes this.
  3. Hello,
    I am also looking for information about my wife's grandfather. Possibly a KOYLI, because he was stationed in Myamyo when the war started. He married a Burmese/Shan lady from Maymyo (my wife's grandmother) and stayed in Burma after the war, working for the post office. They had 3 children. He only had one sister in the UK.
    Unfortunately, we lost all information about him. All we know is that his family name was Clark/Clarke and his first name Nobby or Tobby.
    I would be grateful if anyone had any information about him.
    Thank you in advance.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    bamboo43 likes this.
  5. Thank you
  6. I remember now that my wife's grandmother mentioned that he also served in Egypt. This probably means that he was in the 2 KORR, is that correct?
  7. My wife's grandmother mentioned that he also served in Egypt. And we also think that he was in the Chindits. This probably means that he was in the 2 KORR, is that correct?
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Two threads merged and another related enquiry edited to link back to this thread.

    It's best to keep to one thread per individual. Saves confusion.

    Good luck.
  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Guillaume,

    There are no dedicated lists of Chindit soldiers I'm afraid. Some participating regimental battalions did produce nominal rolls, but with a surname as commonplace as Clark(e) it would be difficult to identify your relative in any case, having no service number or definite christian name.

    In the book, Burma 1942 Memories of a Retreat, by RES. Tanner and DA. Tanner, there is a nominal roll for the 2nd battalion of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at the rear of the book, which includes the very basic entry of Clark "Nobby" (Bolton).

    There is no other information and I cannot recall if this soldier is mentioned at all within the pages of the actual narrative. Other forum members may know more.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2024
    4jonboy and dbf like this.
  10. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have had a look through my K.O.Y.L.I. database and the only two identifiable Clarkes were 4688742 Sgt. Frank Henry but he is not your man as he was killed in action on the 18th February 1942. The other was an officer called Kenneth Drury Clarke.

    I have looked for both Clarks and Clarkes in the British Armed Forces Overseas Banns and Marriages. I have found only Edmund Clarke who married in Maymyo in 1941. His regiment is not given but I do not think that he is the man that you are looking for as wife was called Mercy M Davidson. I have also looked for marriages that took place in India between 1942 and 1945. There are a few Clarkes and fewer Clarks but none appear to have married a Burmese wife.
  11. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Nobby is of course a nick name and I have just found this on the internet.

    Why do people called Clark get the name of Nobby?

    Tony Cope, Blackburn UK
    • In his first autobiography, the multi-talented Bryan Forbes (real name John Clarke, he's probably best remembered for his role of the nudist guitarist Turk Thrust in an early Inspector Clousseau film) explains that "Clarkes are called Nobby because clerks used to wear top-hats in the City."

      Jeff Vagg, Beckenham England
    • I'm pretty sure that that isn't true. Unfortunately my memories of the real history are a little hazy; but I seem to remeber that "Nobby Clark" was the name of a man who was either the worlds tallest or fattest at the time of his death. Other Clarks have been afforded his Christian name as a nickname ever since.

      Harry, Bristol Britain
    • It may come from the same background as the nickname "Dusty" for anyone called Miller - it's a reference to the original employment of a clerk. Clerks who wrote with quill pens for 10 hours a day 6 days a week ended up with callouses and arthritic knuckles (with nobs on)...

      Lane Blume, Marrickville Australia
    • no matter how poorly paid they were, Clarks had to dress smartly like a 'nob' (toff, or well-to do) Thus Clark was always jokingly referred to as that Nobby Clark

      Julian McCarthy, Kingston upon Thames UK
    • I was led to believe that Clarke's were so called because in ancient times when not too may people had learned to read and write, they would employ the use of a scribe to do their writing for them. The scribe wore a kind of pinafore with many little pockets with diferent colour bottles of inks, these inks formed knobs on the scribes clothing, and in time people gave him the nickname of Nobby.

      Maureen Clarke, Norwich, Norfolk
  12. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I looked at that too HW. Seems the most popular explanation is the trade of Clerk being looked upon by the working classes as posh and receiving the ironic title of nob.
    Wg Cdr Luddite likes this.
  14. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    One wonders how Nobby Stiles acquired his nick name.
  15. Wg Cdr Luddite

    Wg Cdr Luddite Well-Known Member

    Because his given name was Norbert.
    High Wood likes this.
  16. Hello,
    That's very interesting, thank you. I will check this out.
  17. Hello,
    thank you very much for all these details.
    I will try to pull some threads and find more information.
    Meanwhile, here is the picture of my wife's grandparents.
    The quality if not great, but does his uniform tells you more information about his regiment, rank and anything else?
    Thank you in advance.
    Nobby Clarke.JPG

  18. Hello,
    That's very interesting. I will have a look.
    Thank you very much for this information.
  19. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I am not sure that the cap badge that he is wearing is for the K.O.Y.L.I. This is the cap badge that they wore.


    He is also wearing a formation sign on his right sleeve. I do not think that it is a Chindit patch as it is rectangular rather than circular.

    I think that the best way to solve his identity problem is to go down the genealogy route starting with your wife's parents and work out which one of them was a Clark(e) and the same again with that person's parents which will give you his full name.

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