1. Memorial:Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon3
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.119
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour28A GQS
4. Memorial:Liverpool Masonic Hall War MemorialCol.1. Hope St.

Awards & Titles:


Early Life :

The majority of this legend is courtesy of Geoff Cuthill of the Province of West Lancashire, to whom the project is grateful.

Gilbert was born at Preston, Lancashire in 1864 to William and Ann Jane Clark (nee Chartres), and baptised on 25th December, 1864 at Saint John’s Church and by the time of the 1871 census the family are living at Litchurch in Derbyshire, with William employed as a sorter in the travelling Post Office. The 1881 census shows the family moved to 5 Treborth Street, Toxteth Park, Liverpool

0n 30th November, 1890, 26 year old Gilbert marries Annie Holgate age 22, the daughter of John Holgate, a Cooper, resident at Vine Street. The marriage is at St. Peter’s Church, Church Street Liverpool, and John is described as a bachelor and marine engineer living in Upper Warwick Street and the son of William Clark, Gentleman.

The census of 1901 for 119 Vine Street shows that James’s wife and his two children, Nellie age 5 and Annie age 3, are living at her parents, Gilbert obviously being at sea. By 1911 they have moved to 3 Stalbridge Avenue, off Greenbank Road, also present is 6 year old Gilbert Holgate Clark, born 1905. The census also shows that Gilbert Snr is probably away at sea again, the couple have been married 20 years, and they have had three children, all of whom are still alive. Gilbert spent most of his working life with the Booth Line, with his two main vessels being, first “S.S. Augustine” and then “Basil”.

Education & Career :

1896-7 - Aboard "Origen"
1898 - Aboard "Anselm"
1901-2 & 1913-14 - Aboard "Basil"
1903-4 - Aboard "Augustine".

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: SS Basil 

S.S. Basil was built by Workman, Clark & Co. Ltd., in 1895. Dimensions: 338' x 43' 6" x 28' 9". Gross Tonnage: 3223.

ON the night of November 11th and 12th, 1917, the s.s. "BASIL" was on her way from Southampton to Boulogne loaded with ammunition. She was unescorted and was steaming without lights. She was run into by the French steamer "Margaux," and foundered before the boats could be got away, many lives being lost.

Action : Naval Accident 

During the war there were a number of Naval Accidents which we have isolated because of their shocking caualties and the corresponding impact on members of the craft. There were a number of vessels destroyed in port by explosions which we would today categorise as 'Health & Safety' failures.

Detail :

Gilbert is the G.E. Clark that died while serving as Chief Engineer aboard the “S.S. Basil” on 11th November, 1917. Built at Belfast in 1895, and of 3,223 tons, by Workman Clark & Co. for Dixon and Sons, Belfast as the “Mourne,” she was sold to the Booth Steam Ship Company, (Booth Lines) in 1898 and renamed “Basil.” Requisitioned by the Government, after the outbreak of war, she was used to transport both troops and supplies including munitions across to France, every journey being hazardous due to the constant threat of German submarines. She had been fitted with a 4.7 gin on her stern.

It was on one of these trips, when carrying a cargo of ammunition from Southampton to Boulogne, totally blacked out, and plying a zigzag course, that the “Basil”, under the command of Captain E Whitehouse, was lost. It was about fourteen nautical miles off the coast of Littlehampton, South East of the Owers Light Vessel. The French vessel “Margaux”, travelling west through the English Channel, and also blacked out, ran straight into the “Basil”, ripping a large gash along the British ship below the waterline. Within minutes the “Basil” was sinking, with thirteen of the crew either killed or drowned, including Gilbert, and the Chief Steward, John Darlington Clarke, of 1356 Toxteth Lodge.

"ON the night of November 11th and 12th, 1917, the s.s. "BASIL" was on her way from Southampton to Boulogne loaded with ammunition. She was unescorted and was steaming without lights. She was run into by the French steamer "Margaux," and foundered before the boats could be got away, many lives being lost."

The National Probate Calendar has; Clark, Gilbert Edmund of 3 Stalbridge Avenue, Liverpool, marine engineer died 11 November at sea. Administration Liverpool 28th January 1918 to Annie Clark widow. Effects £998.7s.10d.

He is "not commemorated by the CWGC due to the fact that his ship sank after a collision, not due to enemy action," but is commemorated at the family memorial at Allerton Cemetery has on it, Gilbert Edmund Clark, Lost at Sea, 11/11/1917.

Footnote: Gilbert’s son Gilbert Holgate Clark followed in his fathers footsteps and joined the Merchant Navy, becoming certificated as a Master. In the King’s Birthday Honours list of 2nd June, 1944 Gilbert was awarded the MBE. He was also holder of a commission in the Royal Naval Reserve.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Antient Briton No. 1675 E.C.West Lancashire

23rd September 1902
24th November 1902
27th September 1904

Gilbert was initiated on 23rd September, 1902 into Ancient Briton Lodge 1675 as an Engineer, aged 37 years residing at 119 Vine Street, Liverpool. He was passed to the Second Degree on 24 November by the courtesy of Toxteth Lodge No 1356, and raised to the degree of Master Mason back in Ancient Briton on 27 September 1904, with his Grand Lodge certificate issued 8 October 1904.

Some records show him as George E Clark, including the Liverpool Masonic Hall memorial and the Masonic Roll of Honour Book of 1921, which has him as a member of Antient Briton Lodge, a Mercantile Marine Engineer. However, a look through the available records for the lodge, including Grand and Provincial Lodge Return Sheets shows no person of this name ever being a member, but does show Gilbert (Bert) Edmund Clark.

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2021-02-26 14:20:14