If you love Boys’ Own tales of adventure and death-defying feats of bravery you may enjoy my latest historical article, out now in the Spring 2013 issue of ‘The Blackcountryman’ – the magazine of The Black Country Society.
‘Captain Clarke: The Leamore Lion Tamer’ is all about Bert Clarke, an ordinary lad born in Reading, Berkshire in 1883, who ran away to the circus when he was just 12 years of age.
In the following years, through hard work, daring and fearless determination he became a famous animal trainer in England and Europe (with Bostock’s) and America (with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey), travelling the world and then the UK (latterly with Pat Collins), before leaving Collins in 1936 to run a newsagents shop and work as a cinema commissionaire in Leamore, Staffordshire until 1955, passing away in Brownhills in 1965.
As if this adventure were not enough, in between animal training and bringing animals from Africa to England, Bert was also a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery during the Boer War and the Great War – and his wife ‘Mademoiselle Louise’ also trained panthers!
Now, his amazing yet long-forgotten story has been revealed to the world once more, exclusively by yours truly.
To find out all about the Captain and his remarkable escapades, you can buy this magazine at WH Smith and other major newsagents, or subscribe to it via The Black Country Society:
Individual magazines cost £2.75.