Lance Sergeant Frederick Stephen Parker

Date of Birth c. 1889
Age at Death 25
Date of Death 26 January1915
Service Number 11758
Military Service 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
Merton Address 9 Century Road, Mitcham
Local Memorial Mitcham Parish Church

Additional Information

Born in Croydon in 1889, Frederick was the son of William and Ellen Parker. We think that the couple married in Clapham c.1877. Certainly by the time Frederick was born, they already had five older children – William Jnr, Nellie, Harry, Bessie and Phoebe. A younger son, Walter, was born in 1890. The Parker family was then living at 41 Clarendon Road, Croydon - sadly Ellen seems to have been widowed at around this time.

In 1891, she married Police constable Albert Bowels and by 1901 they had moved to 80 Fairview, Mitcham, together with their younger children, Arthur, Sarah, Catherine and Albert Bowels.

Frederick was already serving an as army Private by 1911 and living in barracks on the Isle of Wight. The rest of his family had moved to 9 Century Road, Mitcham (near Phipps Bridge). His step-father, Albert, was now an Acting Police Sergeant and only Frederick’s younger siblings and half-siblings remained at the parental home.

During the Great War, Lance Sergeant Frederick Parker fought in the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. He had already spent two years serving in Egypt and after a brief return to England, his battalion departed for France in November 1914.

The unit joined the fighting in an area known as ‘Port Arthur’ near Neuve Chapelle. Their position was uncomfortable and dangerous as they did not have the protection of proper trenches and were forced to lie down and fire from the sloping side of a ten-foot road embankment. This provided little cover from shells or enemy gun fire.

By December 1914 the Worcester’s base at Neuve Chapelle had been gradually entrenched. The battalion had lost half its men, with over one hundred killed or wounded and four hundred suffering from severe frostbite. By 19 December they were transferred to better- situated trenches with greater protection from the elements and losses decreased. Records show that between 31 December 1914 and the end of January 1915, 28 men were killed and 1 officer and 60 other ranks were wounded.

The battalion managed to hold its line of trenches, but on 26 January 1915 twenty-five year old Frederick Parker was killed. He is buried in the Royal Irish Rifles Graveyard, Laventie, in the Pas de Calais region. His headstone simply reads ‘RIP’. A commemorative brass plaque bearing his name was also installed at Mitcham Parish Church. The inscription reads:
“This tablet is erected as a token of the respect felt for him as a soldier and a man by his Company Commander.’ Killed in Action near Neuve Chapelle”

At the time of Frederick’s death his parents were living at Wandle Villa, a fine property in the Phipps Bridge area of Mitcham. His mother, Ellen died two years later in 1917 but his step-father lived on until 1931.


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