Vivian Ingram Rackley Clark

Vivian born on 2nd October 1894, son of Walter Clark, ‘costumier’ or owner of a drapery shop, and Mary nee Rackley. They were living at 11 Village Terrace, South Shields, County Durham.

He was not baptised until 1897 and a double baptism too with his elder sister. Also the baptism did not take place in South Shields but in Fishponds, an outer suburb of Bristol. The precise reasons why this should be the case are unknown but it is known that the family were living in Dublin for a period of time during the 1890s, and that Vivian’s paternal grandmother lived in Fishponds. Perhaps Vivian’s parents decided to postpone the two children’s baptisms until they were back in England and also undertake the ceremony where the grandmother could attend.
In the 1901, Vivian, his mother and sister are living with the mother’s father Stephen Rackley, a retired Master mariner/ship owner, in Sunderland at Lampton Coal Offices House. There is no record of his father. (However by 1911, the family are reunited and living at 11 Village Terrace, South Shields.)
The next question is why Walter chose to send his son all the way south to LWGS as a boarder, having already attended ‘Miss Wilson’s Private (secondary) school in South Shields is unclear. Whatever the reason, it appears not to have been a success. Vivian was admitted on 2nd April 1909, placed in form III but stayed only two terms leaving on 18th December of the same year.
In 1915 he received a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Durham Regiment and later transferred, on promotion to Lieutenant, to the Royal Engineers TF (Territorial Force) and spent a period of training at R E School of Electrical Lighting, Gosport. In spring 1917 he married Helena Thurlbeck from South Shields.
He survived the War and in 1920 he applied for Associate Membership of the Institute of Automobile Engineers when it was noted that he was the owner of Clark’s Garage and Agency.
In 1921 in another record he was noted as being a motor engineer living at 5 Camden Street, North Shields. In the same year he applied for his medals and was awarded the Victory Medal and Territorial Force Medal.
A son also named Vivian was born in 1933.
In his business he gradually went down the age-range; from cars, in 1934 he was a cycle agent and dealer living at 50 Bedford Street North Shields. Two years later he was a ‘baby carriage dealer’ at the same address.
In the Second World War he was definitely on the reserve list from 1939 to 1945 with the Royal Engineers as a Lieutenant. It is not known if he saw any active service during this time but none the less it does make him still one of the few OTs who served in both world wars.
He died on the 2nd August 1952 at St Mary’s Nursing Home Whitley Bay having previously lived at 21 Millview Drive Tynemouth, leaving £7,331 to his widow Helena. His wife died a few years later in 1958 having moved in with their son, who also lived on Millview Drive.

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