Clarence Emerson Haines

Private 13251, 1st Bn, Norfolk Regiment
Died 27th July 1916, aged 25
Remembered at Thiepval Memorial
& on both Blakeney War Memorials

Clarence Haines was registered at birth as Clarence Emerson Haines, in the March Quarter of 1891 for the Walsingham District (GR0). Blakeney School Admission Register gives 2nd November 1890 as his date of birth. He was the son of single mum Priscilla She was born in Bale (1867) the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Haines. Priscilla eventually married Robert Thompson of Field Dalling in 1904, who was a carter, at the time of his marriage.

Clarence was brought up by his grandparents, attending school from 1896 till 1904. He was still living with them in 1911 in a cottage on the west side of the High Street in Leatherdale Yard. He was 20 years old and employed as a Farm labourer while his 70 year old grandfather was employed as Waggoner on Farm. Both Henry and Clarence were subsequently listed as employees at the Manor Farm. They were working for the Hudsons prior to the Blakeney Estate, including Manor farm, being auctioned by the Calthorpes.

There are no Service Records available for Clarence, only brief CWGC details. These add that he was born in Blakeney and enlisted in Norwich. The 1st Bn., Norfolk Regiment was part of the Regular Army (BEF) that served first in Belgium then France followed by Italy. They were part of the 15th Brigade of the 5th Division; with 4 Battalions (the basic tactical unit of the infantry) making a Brigade and 3 Brigades a Division.

The 1st Norfolk were at the Battle of the Somme that began on 1st July 1916 and by the 16th, as part of the Fourth Army, they were reinforcing the troops holding the line between Longueval and High Wood to the north west. They should have been relieved on the 24th but this was postponed because of the intense fighting. Instead they were moved forward to assembly posts ready to attack the following morning. Their objective was the recapture of the north of Longueval village and Delville Wood aided by the 1st Bedford and 16th Royal Warwickshire Regiments.

A furious battle commenced in the small hours of the morning with horrendous gun fire, gas shells and enfilading. In just a few hours the Norfolks suffered severe casualties; 52 killed, 166 wounded and gassed and a further 50 missing, believed killed. Two days later, after the position was consolidated, the Battalion was relieved. Clarence lost his life on the morning of the 27th and is remembered at Thiepval Memorial to The Missing along with 72,247 other missing Allied soldiers. It is the largest British War Memorial in the world.