Earl Bodge Clark was born 26 April 1896 in Barnstead, Belknap Co. NH, son and only child of Frank H. & Ethel (Bodge) Clark. He grew up there, attending the local schools. Earl registered for the WWI Draft on 5 June 1917 while living at Center Barnstead NH. He was 21 years old, single, and working as a leather finisher. His description was of medium height and build, with dark gray eyes and dark brown hair.
Earl served during World War I as a Private in Co. K, 309th Infantry, 78th Division. He and his battalion departed Brooklyn NY on 19 May 1918 for Europe. His Service number was 1749270. Seven months later he would be dead.
As part of the 78th Division Earl B. Clark would see a great deal of action. The official timeline of the 78th division shows that on that eventful day of November 1, 1918, they participated in a “Big Offensive. Attack Bois des Loges. Fme des Loges reoccupied.” This was part of what is now called the Meuse-Argonne Offensive where 26,000 soldiers were killed. Among them was Earl B. Clark of Center Barnstead NH. At first he was declared missing in action, but by January 1919 he was declared killed in action.
When the war ended, Earl B. Clark’s family requested that his body be returned to the United States, where he was re-interred in Arlington National Cemetery, in Section 18, 2764. Near the Barnstead Town Hall is a monument was erected to soldiers and sailors “who served in the wars of 1776-86, 1812-14, 1846-48, 1861-65 and in memory of noble sons who served in world wars for universal peace 1917-1919.”
Others from Barnstead who fought in Europe include (but not limited to) Eugene F. Burleigh, George S. Carr, Roscoe H. Gray, William Hogencamp and Earl T. Jenkins.
Earl B. Clark American Legion Post and American Legion Hall in Barnstead NH were named in his honor. His name can be found engraved on the Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House, Concord NH.
[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I. Look here for the entire listing].