Mr Charles Valentine Clarke was born in Cosham, Hampshire, England on 14 February 1883 and was aptly named for that day.
He was the son of Harry Clark (b. 1857) and Jane Emma Hall (b. 1859). His father, a brewer and dairyman, was also born in Cosham whilst his mother was from Emsworth, Sussex; they had married in 1880 and went on to have four children: Harry Leonard (b. 1882), Charles (b. 1883) and Edith Kate (b. 1885). Another child, George, was lost in infancy.
The family appeared on the 1891 census living in High Street, Cosham at the King and Queen Inn which his father ran. Still present at this address on the 1901 census, Charles was listed elsewhere as a boarder at 2 Hill Side, New Haven, Sussex, the home of a Mr and Mrs John Gay who were seamen missionaries with Charles apparently their clerk. Charles later followed in his father's footsteps and became a dairy vendor.
He was married on 29 June 1908 to Ada Maria Winfield (b. 14 December 1883), a resident of Netley, Hampshire. The couple would have no children and appeared on the 1911 census living at Sea View on Solent Road, Drayton, Hampshire.
Charles and his wife boarded the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912 as second class passengers (ticket number 2003 which cost £26) and their last address was Colaba, Grange Lane, Netley, the home of his wife's parents. They were destined for San Francisco, California.
April 10, 1912; On board R. M. S. Titanic.
Dear father and mother,
Just a line to let you know we are both well and are doing justice to what we have paid for. I hope everything in the business is going on all right. What sort of time did you have at Easter – plenty to do, as you had the races extra?
We are well on the way to Queenstown, which we expect to reach about noon tomorrow. We spent quite a long time at Cherbourg. A tender brought all the passengers to our ship. We nearly had a collision on leaving Southampton, which I will tell you about in my next letter if we reach New York.1 We had a roll before we got into Cherbourg. We are just going to bed now, as the time is getting on.
Kind regards from us both, I remain your loving son, Charl.
Charles died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
A memorial service was later held for him in his native Hampshire:
COSHAM MEMORIAL SERVICE
THE LATE MR C. V. CLARKE
Though a general memorial service for those who lost their lives in the Titanic disaster was held in the Wymering Church on Sunday, a special service was held on Thursday evening in the Chapelon Ease, High-street, Cosham, to mark the deep sense of regret at the tragic end of Mr Charles Valentine Clarke of Cosham, who was one of the victims of the awful catastrophe. Mr Clarke was a member of the Cosham Church of England Men's Society, and it was in connection with this organisation that the service was held. Canon Scott, M.A., Rector of Havant and Rural Dean, conducted the sad service, assisted by the Rev. J. W. Fell-Middlehurst, curate-in-charge. The hymns "God moves in a Mysterious Way," "Nearer, My God, to Thee," and "On the Resurrection Morn" were sung, Mrs Daysh presiding at the organ. In the course of a touching address Canon Scott said that Mr Clarke was only enrolled a member of the Society on Good Friday Morning, and sailed with his wife on the following Wednesday. He helped the women and children into the boats after the collision. Mrs Clarke was saved.
(Portsmouth Evening News, 26 April 1912)
Mr and Mrs Harry Clarke wish to thank all kind friends for letters and messages of condolence in their sad bereavement in the loss of their dear son, Charles Valentine, in RMS Titanic.
(Portsmouth Evening News, 9 May 1912)
CLARKE--In loving memory of our dearly-beloved son, Charles Valentine, who lost his life on the ill-fated RMS Titanic on April 15th, "In the midst of life we are in death."
(Portsmouth Evening News, 8 and 10 May 1912)
His wife Ada survived and returned to England where she remained for the rest of her life; she died in 1953 and her late husband is commemorated on her grave.
ECHO OF THE TITANIC DISASTER
MRS C. CLARKE, of Cosham, wishes to place a brass plate on the north wall of St Peter and Paul's Church in memory of her husband, Charles Valentine, who went down on the ill-fated Titanic.
(Hampshire Telegraph, 28 March 1913)