Returning to Liverpool in 2016 from New Zealand, partly to honor my grandfather.

My grandfather David Kenyon Clarke married my grandmother Gladys Salter in the September Quarter of 1913 in St Mary’s Church, Nantwich, Cheshire.

David was an officer with the Liverpool-based Elder Dempster Shipping Line which specialized in the West Africa trade. David’s father was an accountant who had settled in Nantwich, Cheshire after accumulating a modest [but eventually dissipated] fortune working in Oldham, Lancashire.

Gladys was the daughter of Joseph Salter, a highly skilled stud groom, who ran a stable associated with the Brine Baths Hotel. The stable provided accommodation for hunting horses that were brought to Cheshire for the Fox Hunting season – with their owners, wives [and mistresses?] taking the salt cure and enjoying spa society while the hunting proceeded.

David and Gladys must have spent a good deal of time apart, given his calling as merchant marine officer. The marriage was to last only 5 years. On 3rd October 1918, First Officer David Clarke died in WW1 when his ship the SS Burutu, incoming to Liverpool in heavy seas under blackout, collided with the outgoing British ship the SS Calcutta.

David died leaving his wife Gladys with a babe in arms and a three year old daughter Meg [my mother].

It is ANZAC Day tomorrow here in New Zealand. This commemorates NZ servicemen and servicewomen with special reference to WW1.

So I thought that I would use the opportunity to remember David and Glad – and work some magic from a couple of old photos in bringing them back together [with the main walkway from Nantwich Square to the St Mary's in the foreground].

I have also purchased a pathway brick engraved with David’s name that will be set in ‘The People’s Path’ which is being laid in selected areas of Liverpool Cathedral grounds:

‘The Cathedral’s intention is that The People’s Path stretches out from various points in the surrounding grounds, including outside the Lady Chapel, becoming a new point of interest and somewhere that people will visit to get a flavour of the vibrancy and community of Liverpool.

“We hope that The People’s Path will become a rich tapestry, detailing life in, and connected to, Liverpool, and featuring people from all walks of life, from all over the world and all with their own connection to the Cathedral and the city.”

“It is not just about memorial, although that is a big part – the Cathedral and Liverpool are both living, breathing and growing communities, and we invite people to mark perhaps a key date or event in their life, such as a graduation or memorable visit, or simply say ‘I am here’. For many the Cathedral is their symbol of Liverpool, and now they can literally be a part of it.”

And Tina Morris, the Fund Raising Manager, has promised me a cup of tea when I visit in July.


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