Edward Percy Clout
Serial No. 3732
Edward Percy Clout - Information
Edward’s parents, Edward Percy Snr. and Elizabeth Clout married in Sydney in 1893. The Clouts lived in the Camden area, where Edward Jnr. was born c1894. The Clouts then moved to Balgownie. Here, Cecil attended school, and when he was older, began working as a wheelwright in Wollongong, after completing a 5 year apprenticeship with W. Dwyer. Edward then decided to enlist in the AIF on the 16th of August 1915 in Holsworthy, aged 21. During training, he was posted to the 12th Reinforcements, 13th Battalion as a Private. He was then sent overseas, departing Sydney onboard the HMAT Suevic on the 20th of December 1915.
The Suevic made berth in Egypt, and Edward joined the 13th Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir in early March. Edward was resuming training exercises with his unit when he reported sick to hospital at Serapeum. He was in hospital for almost a month, before rejoining his unit. On the 1st of June, they were transported to the Western Front in France. The 13th moved into a quiet section of the lines near Armentières. Needing reinforcements for the Somme Campaign, the I ANZAC Corps was moved south. Here, the 13th moved onto Mouquet Farm after attacks on the village of Pozières. Unfortunately, exactly what happened to Edward here is unknown. He was reported wounded on the 11th of August. However, when he was not at roll call or recorded on any hospitals charts, he was listed as wounded and missing.
Back in Australia, his parents, whom had now relocated to Harbour St in Wollongong, were informed that Edward was missing and presumed wounded. Sadly, this is all they were told. Month after month, they received nothing further. Perhaps to take their minds off things, they purchased a hotel called ‘Tattersall Hotel’ on Crown St in Wollongong. Edward Snr. became proprietor in February 1917, and his family soon joined him there. Shortly after the Clouts were settling in, the army conducted a Court of Inquiry into Edward’s case. It was held on the 22nd of April 1917 in the field, interviewing men from Edward’s unit. However, there were mixed reports. A mate, Private Denis, exclaimed that he believed Edward to be alive, having been wounded in France and taken to hospital in England. He claimed he also received letters from Edward; however, he did not keep them. Hospital records failed to support these statements, and no traces of Edward were found in wounded or POW records. The Court therefore, concluded that Edward was killed in action on the 11th of August 1916 at Pozières. The Clouts, however, were not satisfied with the lack of evidence. Throughout 1917 and 1918, after receiving reports from Edward’s mates including Private Denis, the Clouts began writing the army for more answers. They were very anxious for any news of their son, having received only bits and pieces of information. After the war had ended, the army and the Commonwealth Graves Commission began working on the old battlefields, to give the boys proper burials and try to find those deemed MIA. Subsequently, Edward’s gravesite was found, and a photo of his grave was sent to the Clouts in 1919. He was then buried in the Courcelette British Cemetery, near Picardie in France. Records for the cemetery, conveyed that Edward’s body was identified from his unit patch and identity disc found in the vicinity of the remains. The Commonwealth Graves Commission passed the disc along to his parents, which they received in June 1920. However, this only led to further questions on behalf of the family, with his father’s correspondence showing he inquired to whom found the disc and its location. The Clouts, unfortunately would never know exactly what events led to their son’s death, or how he came to be originally buried. Sorrowfully, they were not the only family with these unanswered questions. They asked that the epitaph ‘Until Day Breaks’ be inscribed on his tombstone in France.