Bio of Revd Frank Gordon Clarke
Frank Gordon Clarke was born in East Ham, Essex, England on 25 July 1902. He was the second youngest of a family of nine children. He had 7 sisters and a brother who died before he was born.
When he was 3 years old he and two of his sisters were sent to the Wanstead Orphan Asylum where he completed his schooling. While working as a clerk at the London docks he studied for a teacher’s diploma at London University.
A few years later he was called to the priesthood in the Anglican Church. Because the family did not have the money he was awarded a bursary through Canterbury Theological College for Cambridge University . He was at Emmanuel College, Cambridge where he read for a Master of Arts Degree in History. This was followed by his theological training as a missionary priest at Canterbury Cathedral.
His first parish was at St Mary’s, Stoke Newington where he served as a curate and then came to South Africa and from 5 September 1931 until 8 June 1934 he was a lecturer at Grace Dieu Diocesan Training College where he taught English, History, Woodwork and Art.
One of his pupils during this time was Gerard Sekoto.
He was instituted as the Rector of Christ Church, Pietersburg on 1 July 1934 and took his last service there on 14 June 1940. On 8 February 1936 he married Elizabeth Davidson from the farm “24 Rivers” in the Waterberg District. He had met her when he went to take a service at the church “St John the Baptist” because Nylstroom parish did not have a Rector at that time.
They had two daughters, Diana and Rosalind.
Frank left the church in Pietersburg to enlist in the army where he was a Chaplain to the Forces. There is a photo of him taking a service in the desert and also a newspaper one of him taking a service. The (Free) Masons in South Africa made available a truck with a type of caravan fitted to the back. It was called "St John in the Wilderness" and he used this to travel around in North Africa where he took services for different groups of soldiers.