Walter Archer Clark (1911-2002)
Born on the 12th of May 1911, both his chemistry teacher George Beckwith Walsh (1880-1957 see Portrait of a Naturalist No. 2 in the SFNS Annual Report for 2002) and his headmaster David William Bevan (1860-1944) were members of the Society
Walter himself was introduced to the Society by a founder member William James Clarke (1871-1945) who was a friend of his father. Walter was elected as a member on the 14th of February 1929 at the age of 17 years.
Walter had left school at the age of 15 years to join his father’s undertaking and joinery business, later and as business and family involvement increased, his membership of the Society lapsed for a time.
As early as 1934 Walter was addressing members of the Society as the speaker for the evening, with such subjects as, “Bird recognition by Sight and sound” and “Some aspects of Bird Life” in 1936. These lectures were often illustrated by charcoal sketches with which Walter would illustrate the various characteristics of the birds of which he spoke.
During the Second World War, Walter served with the Royal Navy, this experience fuelled many tales to be later shared with his sea-watching friends at Filey Brigg during the quieter periods of passage migration. He rejoined the Society in January 1968.
Walter was a founder member of Filey Brigg Ornithological Group and was elected their first Honorary Life Member at their AGM in 1994 having variously served as trustee and treasurer during the previous 23 years.
Walter served on the committee of the Scarborough Field Naturalist’s Society during the years of 1971 to 1973 and 1977 to 1979.
Walter will always be affectionately remembered, by those who were privileged to know him, largely for his light-hearted quips and sense of humour but also as a man non-the-less serious about his interest in natural history and bird-watching in particular.
Walter passed away peacefully in St. Catherine’s Hospice, Scarborough on Saturday the 16th of March 2002 – 91 years young.