Alexander Doctor Clark AM

b. 15/09/1897 Sunderland, County Durham.  d. 24/06/1929 Sunderland, County Durham.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 24/06/1929 Sunderland, County Durham.

Alexander D Clark AM

Alexander Doctor Clark was the son of Alexander Doctor and Margaret Jane Clark. Sadly his father had died two months before he was born, so he was raised by his mother along with his three elder sisters. He was educated at Hylton Road School, and became an errand boy. He then took up employment in 1914 as an apprentice plater at Messrs William Doxford & Co, a shipbuilders of Pallion Shipyard. On 8th October 1914, he enlisted in the 7th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, but didnt see action overseas, becoming a PT Instructor in May 1915. Unable to complete his apprenticeship due to the war, he was unemployed for a time after demobilisation in 1918, before becoming a labourer with Sunderland Gas Company.

He married Isabella Botcherby in November 1918 and they had two sons and a daughter. Sadly one of his sons would be lost at sea in the Merchant Navy in WWII. After his death, his Albert Medal was presented to his widow by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 4th March 1930. It is still in the Clark family.



The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Albert Medal in recognition of the gallant conduct of Mr. Alexander Doctor Clark in endeavouring to save life at Sunderland at the cost of his own life on the 24th June, 1929. On the 24th June, 1929, at about 11.30 p.m., a fire broke out in the premises at 89, Hylton Road, Sunderland, in which three children had been left alone by their parents. On hearing that children were in the building, Mr. Clark, although he knew that previous attempts to effect the rescue had failed, broke a staircase window at the back of the premises, climbed through and in spite of the intense heat and flames made his way to the assistance of the children. From the position in which the bodies were subsequently found it appears that Mr. Clark, on gaining entry, rushed up the burning stairway to an upper room and brought the youngest child down to the first floor where unfortunately their escape must have been cut off. It must have been plain to Mr. Clark that in attempting the rescue of the children he was placing his life in the gravest peril. Both the Coroner and the Jury expressed high commendation of Mr. Clark’s heroic conduct. Mr. Clark leaves a widow and three children.