Private 8069 George Parkes

Parkes George 96 420x600

Killed in Action on Sunday, 16th May 1915, age 45.
Buried in Grave VI. C. 4. at Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 5th Brigade of 2nd Division.

Born: Oldbury, Enlisted: Worcester, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 19th September 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/195266/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
Cannot trace with any certainty.

1911 Census
12 Hall Street, Tipton, Staffs.
George Parkes (41, Labourer in Grease Works, born Dudley), his wife Phoebe Ann (42, born Tipton); his step children: James Smith (22, Hawking, born Tipton), Bessie Smith (16, Domestic Service, born Tipton), Edward (14, Labourer, born Tipton), and their 3 surviving children of 5: Phoebe (8, School, born Tipton), Clara (6, born Tipton) and John (3, born Tipton).

This ties in with an article in the Tipton Herald of 6th February 1915 about Mrs Parkes of Hall Street having her husband and 5 sons with the colours; no further article was found at the time of his death. George Parkes would have been 44 or 45 years old at the time of his death in 1915, this is significantly older than the majority of private soldiers.

Personal Data

As George landed in France on 19th September 1914 when around 45 years of age, it is likely that he was a Reservist and called up at the outbreak of war.

After George's death his outstanding Army pay and allowances amounted to £10/0/9d (10 pounds and 9 pence); this was paid to his widow,Phoebe, in May 1916. His War Gratuity amounted to £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his widow in August 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that George enlisted in the 12 months prior to his death.

Action resulting in his death

Battle of Festubert 16th May 1915, from "The History of the Worcesterhire Regiment" by Stacke.
The Worcestershire Companies rose to their feet and plunged forward through the mud. Surprise was now impossible; the German flares lit up the scene and the companies had some 200 yards to traverse before they could close with the enemy.

In the changing light of the flares, control was difficult - companies and platoons became disordered; officers and men fell in rapid succession under a hail of bullets. The survivors rushed on in little groups up to the German wire entanglements. The majority of the attackers were either shot down or driven by the fire to shelter in such cover as was afforded by shell holes or small folds in the ground.

The Worcestershire platoons made their way back as best they could to billets behind the line. When all were collected it was found that over 250 of all ranks had been lost. This included 4 Tipton men who were to lose their lives: Parkes, Griffiths, Southall and Taylor. George Parkes and George Taylor are buried in Guards Cemetery, at Windy Corner, Cuinchy.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 6th February 1915
Mrs George (Phoebe Ann) Parkes of Hall Street, Tipton, is able to rejoice in the fact that her husband and five sons are serving with the colours. Four of them have been at the front since commencement. Their names are:
- George Parkes, William Smith, Robert Smith, Ezekial Smith all of the Worcesters, James Smith, Edward Smith in the South Staffs.