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In Memory of
ARTHUR HENRY PARKER
Gunner 202068
'A' Battery/30th Brigade Royal Field Artillery
Who Died of Wounds on Sunday 12th August 1917
Age 34

Buried Row A Grave 24
Adinkerke Military Cemetery, Belgium

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
&
Remembered with Honour
Adinkerke Military Cemetery

Adinkerke Military Cemetery

Arthur Henry Parker was born in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire in 1883, the son of William J, a brewer's wagoner, and Sarah Elizabeth (née Hickinbotham) Parker2. By 1901 the family were living at 232 Wetmoor Road, Burton-on-Trent and Arthur, like almost everyone else in that area, worked in the brewery trade - in his case, as a labourer3. In 1907, Arthur married Mary Elizabeth Wright and their son, Edward, was born in 1909 4. By 1911 the family was living at 201 Wetmoor Road5.

When Arthur attested for the Army on 6 December 19156, he would have done so under the 'Derby Scheme' which provided voluntary attestation and to be held in reserve, with an obligation to join the Army when later required. In Arthur's case, he was mobilised on 1 June 1916 with the Royal Garrison Artillery. By 4 March 1917, when he landed in France, he had been transferred to the Royal Field Artillery, attached to 'A' Battery, 330th Brigade. By this time, following the sobering experiences of the earlier Somme battles, it had been realised that the tactic of saturation shelling the trenches was not the complete solution that had been expected. Tragically, attacking infantry had found the enemy and barbed wire still in place despite extensive shelling. That realisation had led to much more effective use of the 'creeping barrage' - a wall of shellfire, aimed just in front of the advancing Allied infantry - and the development of much more accurate targeting of enemy artillery positions - which were often hidden from direct sight. These new tactics, together with improved guns and shells, meant that the Artillery units played a vital part in the remainder of the war and the eventual allied victory7.

In the main, artillery brigades came under the command of army Brigades and the 330th were attached to 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division which had moved to France after 25 February 1917 with all units having arrived by 16 March and concentrated under XI Corps8. Between 26 June and 25 September 1917 it was assigned to operations on the Flanders Coast - known as Operation Hush - in preparation for planned Allied landings on German-held territory along the Belgian coast. In the event, German marines launched a pre-emptive attack against the British forces on the river Yser in July and the landings were never to take place. By the beginning of August, the British units were facing heavy shelling and suffered a high level of casualties. At some point during this period, Gunner Parker was severely wounded and was transferred through the medical evacuation chain. Sadly, he was found to be dead on arrival at the 1st Canadian Casualty Clearing Station at Adinkerke9. He was buried in Adinkerke Military Cemetery9.

Adinkerke Military Cemetery is located 6 km west of Veurne, 3 km inland from the coastal town of Koksijde and 20 km east of Dunkirk.†From June to November 1917 the Commonwealth XV Corps held the front from the Belgian coast to St. Georges. The 24th and 39th Casualty Clearing Stations were posted at Oosthoek (between Adinkerke and Furnes) from July to November, and the 1st Canadian Casualty Clearing Station was at Adinkerke for some of that time. The Cemetery contains 168 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, and 55 from the Second World War. There are also 142 Czech and German war graves.10.

Gunner Parker was posthumously awaited the Victory Medal and the British Medal11. His Army financial effects of £4 14s 10d were pad to his widow, as sole legatee, on 21 January 1918 and she received his War Gratuity of £4 10s on 7 November 191912. She was also awarded a pension of 18/9d a week for herself and their child.13.

By about October 1917, Mary and their son had moved to Beeston and were living at 4 Clinton Street. The only clue to the reason for this move from Burton-on-Trent is that a couple with the same name as her parents - Arthur & Sarah Ann Wright - are recorded at that address in 192014. By that time, however, Mary and her son appear to have moved on. Although Mary has not been positively located after 1919, Edward is known to have married Florence A Standley in 1930 and they were living in Nottingham with their family in 1939. Edward died on 24 November 1988 in Nottingham15.


Footnotes
1The photograph of Adinkerke Military Cemetery is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2His birth was registered in Burton upon Trent Registration District in Q2 1883 (Ref 6b 420). He was baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Burton-on-Trent on 9 May 1883
31901 Census, Piece 2645 Folio 144.
4They married at St Marys Church, Stretton, Burton-on-Trent Staffordshire on 6 November 1907. Mary Elizabeth Wright was born in Draycott in the Clay, Staffordshire in Q3/1886 (Uttoxeter Registration District 6b 146), but had been working in service in Burton-on-Trent since at least 1901.
51911 Census - Piece 16819 RD365 SD4 ED32 Sched 173
6Details of his attestation date and subsequent deployment are from his Army Service Record at ancestry.com.
7This summary of the development of artillery warfare during World War 1 is based on a fuller account on The Long Long Trail website (www.longlongtrail.co.uk/how-the-british-artillery-developed-and-became-a-war-winning-factor-in-1914-1918/)
8This account of 66th Division action in France and Belgium during 1917 is based on that on The Long Long Train website (www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/66th-2nd-east-lancashire-division/).
9There is a copy of the telegram from the casualty clearing station recording his death in his Army Service Record.
10This description of Adinkerke Military Cemetery is based on that included in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.
11Gunner Parker's medal awards are recorded on his Medal Card and in the Medal Rolls, available on ancestry.com. A receipt for the medals is in his Army Service Record.
12Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929, available on ancestry.com.
13Details of the pension award are in his Army Service Record.
14A letter from Mary, notifying the Army authorities of her change of address is in his Army Service Record. The date of 19th October 1917 appears on its reverse side. Two persons with the same names as her parents appear on the 1921 Electoral Roll at this address. No other evidence has been found to connect Arthur with Beeston.
15Edward's marriage to Florence is recorded in Basford Registration District in Q1/1930 (Ref 7b 383). His death was registered in Nottingham Registration Distinct in Nov/1988 (Ref 8 803)

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