Frank Robert Parker (1889-1918)
Labourer, The Regent's Park
Frank Robert Parker was born in 1889 to William, a gardener, and Jane Parker. In 1891 they were living at 6 John Street, St John’s Wood, with their three sons and four daughters. Frank grew up in St John’s Wood and by 1901 was living with his mother, father and family at 45 Townshend Cottage, St John’s Wood Terrace. On 30 August 1909, he married Gertrude Maud Watkins at Marylebone Register Office. By 1911 Frank was employed by the Office of Works as a labourer at The Regent’s Park and living with his wife at 114 Albert Street, Camden Town with their son Reginald aged one. Before the outbreak of war Frank and Gertrude went on to have a daughter, Violet Gertrude.
In November 1915 Frank, then living at 124 Bravington Road, Paddington received his call up papers and was attested on 10 November and moved to the Army Reserve. On 5 May 1916, he was posted to 14th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade. This was a reserve battalion based at that time firstly at Purfleet and then a month later at Belhus Park, both in Essex. On 28 August 1916, Frank was posted to France to the regiment’s Base Depot at Le Havre and from there one week later to 16th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps (The Churchmen’s Battalion). Frank stayed with this battalion during 1917 fighting in the Battles of Pilkem Ridge and of the Menin Road Ridge. On 22 February 1918, the battalion took over positions near Seine and Thames, just to the north east of Zonnebeke, Belgium. The battalion continued to hold these positions under regular shell and gas attack with occasional rest periods in Ypres. Records from 32 Casualty Clearing Station, 89 miles due south of Zonnebeke, show that Rifleman 18229 Frank Robert Parker “died of wounds received in action” on 21 March. The battalion war diary for this period describes only one reference to a wounded casualty with gunshot wounds. This was recorded on 26 February when a member of a working party was wounded by machine gun fire.
His body is interred at Roye New British Cemetery, with a grave reference of Marchelepot British Cemetery MEM III.