Carlos Bertram Clarke, known to his many friends as “Bertie”, was born in Barbados, in 1918. He was educated at Harrison College, where his love of cricket was born. He played for his school in 1936, Spartan Cricket Club and Barbados from 1937, before being selected for the West Indies team in 1939.This team included Learie Constantine and George Headley and came on tour to England in April 1939.The tour was interrupted by the outbreak of war. Bertie, then aged 21, was offered a place to read medicine by Guy’s Hospital in London and he returned to take up his place in October 1939. First class cricket was suspended during the war but a team, called the British Empire XI, was created. Bertie’s performance for this team was spectacular, he took over 100 wickets every season and was celebrated as their star player. He also began broadcasting for the BBC World Service covering a range of topics from sport to current affairs until 1980.
He qualified in medicine in 1946 and began a career in general practice. In 1946 he was selected to play cricket for Northamptonshire. He remained with this team for three years, declining the offer of its captaincy due to his medical responsibilities. In 1948 he married Elma Addison and they had a daughter Madeleine, in 1954. In 1960, although aged 42, he played for Essex for two seasons. He also had a long and close association with the BBC Sports Club whose cricket team he captained for nearly thirty years.
Bertie was very close to his parents and sister and he returned to visit Barbados as often as possible. He maintained many long term friendships with people of all ages and from all walks of life. He loved music and parties and attended the carnival in Trinidad whenever he could. Following the deaths of their parents, Bertie and his sister converted their former family home in Barbados into a small hotel and he often spoke of the responsibility of retiring to the island. However, he was a great man of great drive and energy and he never actually did retire, continuing to work until his last illness.
After the death of his first wife, Elma, Bertie married Glenis Kenny and they had two children: Natalie in 1982 and Juliet in 1984.
Throughout his medical career he went out of his way to offer help, support and friendship to West Indians living in England, particularly those in London. In recognition of his work he was made an OBE in 1983. He died of cancer in 1993 aged 75.