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Front Page » June 12, 2007 » Local News » Canteen makes it home after around the world trip
Published 3,547 days ago

Canteen makes it home after around the world trip

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Staff writer

Roger Clark holds up the canteen which belonged to his brother, Jack Clark.

John Wesley Clark was raised in Emery. When World War II came along, he enlisted in the Marine Corps to do his part for his country. He was sent to New Zealand for training and as a staging area before being sent to the Pacific Theater.

During his idle time, which was probably not very much, he began to etch drawings into his canteen. The canteen is made of aluminum so it was relatively easy to impress his drawings into the metal.

According to Kerry Adams, a resident of New Zealand, the Second Division of the US Marines married 500 young ladies from that country before they were shipped out to Quadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Adams became interested in collecting bits of history associated with the three Marine divisions who went through New Zealand during WWII. He came in possession of the canteen which was left behind by Clark.

Among the etchings on the canteen were Clark's full name, his military ID number and the words, Emery, Utah. He had also carved a horse, a cowboy, a cowboy hat, a saddle, a fence and a Maori ticky. The date May 15, 1942 was also etched into the canteen.

The canteen has Emery, Utah carved in it by Jack Clark.

Adams began to do some research into the origins of the canteen. He discovered where Emery, Utah is, and contacted a friend in the United States. This friend's research led him to the Emery County Progress newspaper. On April 25, 2006, a bulletin board item was printed in the Emery County Progress asking for any information concerning a J.W. Clark who was a marine who had been in New Zealand during WWII. The notice said one of the marine's personal items had been found and they wished to return it to him or his family. So the emailing began.

A nephew of Clark's, Yank Clark of Elmo, called his father, who is Roger Clark, a brother to J.W. Roger Clark who had just moved to Castle Dale from Kanab. Roger had left the area during the war, been stationed in England, met his bride, and moved back to the States.

His brother, John Wesley "Jack" had made it home from the war and settled in California. Jack had married Fay Johnson from Cleveland, who was working in California. Due to some complications from the after effects of the war, Jack died in 1964 at the age of 45, never having been able to return to New Zealand.

Roger said, "I have to thank the Emery County Progress for enabling this story to happen. Without the ad, we never would have been able to recover Jack's canteen. He was one of only 12 men who returned from his unit. He died young due to what had happened to him."

Roger and Adams began to correspond and try to figure out the story of the canteen. Roger remembered that during the war a girl in New Zealand had written to their mother. She said Jack and her had intended to be married and was introducing herself to the family. "I seem to remember a little about the letters from what my mother said, but all the personal effects were destroyed when the family home in Emery burned down," said Roger.

Many etchings are on the canteen including a cowboy hat, saddle, cowboy with a horse, a fence, the date, his name and a Maori symbol from the New Zealand people. His military ID number is also on the canteen.

Adams and Roger came to the conclusion that Jack had left his canteen with this girl in New Zealand while intending to return and marry. That did not happen and Adams came into possession of it and decided to find the owner.

Following the return of the canteen to Roger, he sent Adams photos of his brother to put a face to the owner of the canteen. Roger is very happy to have the memento of his brother's service in the Marines.

Jack Clark was a part of a very patriotic family who all served in the armed forces for the US. All three of his brothers served. One in the Army, one in the Navy and Roger in the Air Force. While Roger was serving in England, he married his wife Pauline, who was serving in the Royal Air Force for England.

Because of the adverse effects the war had on Jack, he never had any children of his own. But the tradition of service was carried on with Roger and Pauline's family. Their family of four sons served in the Army, Navy and Coast Guard.

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