Parker, William Henry

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Connah's Quay

Name / Enw: Parker, William Henry

Regiment/Catrawd: 5th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Corporal 74 (on Flintshire WW1 Index Card, 94 on Medal Card.) (Formerly 3rd Bn R.W.F. 3334 and 5th Bn R.W.F. 941)

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Queens South African Medal, Kings Medal – Clasp, Victory & British Medals 15 Star

William’s father Frederick J. Parker had married in Staines, Middlesex (Vol.3a Page 10) to Harriet Alice Appleton in the September Qtr. of 1873 (Staines Vol. 3a, Page 6)     However William Henry’s mother Harriet Alice died  in the September Qtr of 1887 (Staines Vol. 3a, Page 6). Frederick married again in the September Qtr. of 1889 to Elizabeth Eliza LAWRENCE (Uxbridge Vol. 3a, Page 41)

The 1881 census shows the family were living at Lyne Cottage, Chertsey, Surrey, Frederick J. Parker, 29, a Carman?, born  Berkshire, was head of the household, his wife Harriet A.. 26, , son William H., 6, had been born in Middlesex and son Harry Thomas, 4 was born in Uxbridge,, their daughter, Ada A.C. age 1 had been born in Thorpe, Surrey.

Was this William’s Family on the 1891 census?   I believe his family, with new mother Elizabeth was living at School Road, Lyne, Chertsey, Botleys & Lyne, Surrey.    Frederick, 38 and an Agricultural Labourer, states he was born in Newbury, Berkshire, was still head of the household  and Elizabeth E., 33 had been born in Hayes, Middlesex.    The childrem Harry T., 14 and a Farm Lad had been born in Hillingdon, Middlesex, daughter Ada A., 11, along with son Alexander G. , 9 were scholars and both born in Chertsey, Surrey.   Baby Emily, 11 months old had also been born there.   William was not on this census which was taken on the 5th April 1891, he hadn’t joined the Army then, he joined in September 1891, so where was he?

The intervening years he was in the Army.  However, I believe William Henry’s father, Frederick J. died in the March Qtr of 1898 (Uxbridge, Middlesex.  Vol.3a, Page 29), age 45.   If this is the right death Certificate, his 2nd name was John.

William Henry’s step-mother Elizabeth Eliza and his siblings were living at Pottery’s ? Cutt (or Cott), Southall, Norwood, on the 1901 census.   Elizabeth Parker, 43, was a widow, Work Monthly? Parish? (Worker) born Hayes, Middlesex, sons Albert F., 9, John L. 8, Charles F.7 had been born in Lyne, Surrey and son Arthur E., 5 had been born in Hillingdon, Middlesex.

William aged 36 and an ironworker was living in Connah’s Quay on the 1911 census. He and his wife of 17 years, Alice 36, were at 75 Church Street.  He had been born in  Middlesex and she in Aldershot. They had been married for 17 years. Alice had given birth to 10 children, but sadly 5 had died. The children listed at home were Thomas 12, Alice  4, and baby daughter Ada was 2.They had all been born in Wrexham.

Ten years previously, in the 1901 census, the family was living at 61 Nelson Street in Wrexham. William was 27 and his place of birth was listed as Uxbridge Surrey. Alice was 26 and it says she was born in Preston  (wrong?). The children listed were Fred 7 who had been born in Aldershot. William was 6 and had been born in Salford Manchester and Thomas 1yr had been born in Wrexham. There was no trade or profession listed for William.

In fact his Army Service Records show that he had enlisted in the army on the 12th September 1891. William was a professional soldier. He had enlisted in Guldford, Surrey when he was 18 years and 2 months old. His trade at that time was ‘labourer’. He requested that he be placed in The Royal Welsh Fusiliers, where he was posted “Drummer” in 1895 in the 3rd Bn..

There is a physical description of William from that time. His height: was 5 feet and 5 and 1/2 inches and he weighed 119 lbs. His Chest measurement: was mimimum – 33 inches, maximum expansion – 35 inches. His  complexion was dark and his eyes and hair were brown.  He had a distinctive scar on the front of his right shin.  His religion was C of E.

The records show that his Next of Kin was his father Frederick Parker of Lyne nr Chertsey Surrey.

There is a record too, of William Henry’s marriage to  Alice McMahon at  St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Aldershot on the 4th December 1893.

William was  appointed ‘drummer’ on the 20th October 1892 and became a Lance Corporal on the 19th December 1896. He served  in South Africa on two tours of duty 1899 -1900. He served in the army for the 12 years he had signed up for and was discharged in 1903.

He rejoined however,  in 1908. The form was signed on the 11th day of July 1908 at Hawarden.  The medical form was signed by Chas. Hurlbutt, Lt. Colonel at Hawarden. His service between 1908 and 1913 was all in Wales. From the 5th August 1914 he was regularly promoted moving from Lance Corporal through the ranks to Sergeant by August 1915. He was part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and went to Gallipoli where he was taken ill with dysentry. He was admitted to a hospital ship on the 3rd October 1915 and invalided back to ‘England’ on the 6th October 1915 on the hospital ship ‘Dunluce Castle’*

On the 1st April 1916 he was reverted to Corporal and on the 1st June 1916 he was discharged from the army in consequence of being ‘No longer physically fit for war service’.  His period of  service this time  had been 7 years and 327 days.

William Henry Parker served for nearly twenty years in the British Army.

There is an index card for William Parker in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Record Office in Hawarden.  (Flintshire WW1 Index Card  Connah’s Quay L295 – Parker, William). The address quoted is 75, Church Street, Connah’s Quay. It says that he served from  August 1914 to 1st June 1916 and that he was part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in 1915. The word Gallipoli  was written in pencil.

It may be that William died after the War finished and therefore was not included on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database, but if he was within the limits of their cut-off time which was August 1921, he should have been included.

However someone put his name forward and must have thought that he died from the effects of his war service for they honoured him by putting his name on the Cenotaph.

This could be a red herring, but there is a marriage in St. Mark’s Church of a William Henry PARKER and Annie Lydia POVEY* on the 30th March 1918 (C104/02/E73).  The father of the groom was Willam Parker, perhaps he’s “our” soldier.

* Her father was Robert Povey, was he the father of George POVEY, who is on the Connah’s Quay and Shotton Cenotaph, he had died in 1908, however, the fact that he was deceased was not always put on marriage certificates.    That information would have to have been volunteered by the bride or family.

I found this Death Certificate for 1920 : – PARKER, William Henry  –  Flint Flintshire (Mold) FLNT/33/33 however this certificate is for a child 25 days old, so will have to keep looking.

If someone in the Family have any proof, or if the Death Certificate can be found and it shows he died from the effects of the war then they can apply to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and see if they will “bring him in from the cold” and add him to the database.   He would then be properly honoured.

William’s medal card  accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk , records his medal details and also tells us that his Cause of Discharge was sickness and the date was 1st June 1916.  His Service Records also states-  Discharge in consequence of being  “No longer physically fit for War Service”.

*Dunluce Castle – Australian – Started off as a troopship but converted to a hospital ship. – Arrived at Mudros 5th August 1915 with Australian nurses after setting sail from London 2nd August.   Made a number of trips from Gallipoli to the Central Mediterranean during 1915, with sick and wounded troops.   According to Plumridge, “Hospital ships and Ambulance Trains”, the Dunluce Castle was in service 6 July 1915-2 Apr 1919.    –   Scrapped in 1939 but sold to the Admiralty as an accomodation ship.  –   Dunluce Castle (2)         8,114 Tons        In Service 1904–1939