Serjeant S/1471 William Parkes

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 8th May 1918, age 26.
Commemorated on Panel 81 to 84 of Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.

13th Bn., Rifle Brigade. 11th Brigade of 37th Division.

Son of Mr William E. Parkes, of 96 Ledsam Road, Ladywood, Birmingham.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Birmingham.

First landed France & Flanders, 22nd July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1586444/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
5 Tibbington Terrace, Tipton, Staffs.
William E. Parkes (36, General Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Mary (37, born Bradley), and their 3 children: Mary Jane (12, born Tipton), William (9, born Tipton), and Albert Thomas (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
5 Tibbington Terrace, Tipton, Staffs.
William E. Parkes (46, Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Mary (48, born Tipton), and their 3 children: Mary Jane (22, File Cutter, born Tipton), William (19, Carter, born Tipton), and Albert Thomas (11, School, born Tipton).

Son of Mr William E. Parkes, of 96 Ledsam Road, Ladywood, Birmingham. Brother Albert and sister Mary, his mother had died.

Personal Data

William Parkes attested on 4th September 1914 at Birmingham Town Hall for service with the Rifle Brigade. He was 22 years 8 months old, single, 5 feet 3½ inches tall with a 33½-inch chest, and weighed 128 pounds. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, was Wesleyan and was employed as a Collier. On the 20th September 1914 he was posted to the 10th Battalion, Rifle Brigade, in the 20th (Light) Division.

During initial training in the Salisbury Plain area, William had a few disciplinary problems: absent without leave for 2 days in December 1914, not complying with an order in February 1915, irregular conduct in the dining hall in June 1915, and absent without leave for 2 days in July 1915 just before embarkation.

The 10th Rifle Brigade left Folkestone on 21st July 1915, landing at Boulogne on the next day. They moved via St. Omer to the Fleurbaix area for trench familiarisation. William had a number of promotions, to Lance Corporal on 14th January 1917, to Corporal on 7th April 1917, to Lance Sergeant on 27th November 1917, and to Acting Sergeant on 9th December 1917, then finally to Sergeant on 7th May 1918.

After William's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £7/12/2d (7 pounds, 12 shillings and 2 pence); this was paid to his father, William E., in July 1919. His War Gratuity was £25/0/0d (25 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in July 1919. William had enlisted in September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

In 1916 the 10th Rifle Brigade in action at the Battle of Mount Sorrel, in which the Division, along with the Canadians, recaptured the heights. They were in action on the Somme in the Battle of Delville Wood, the Battle of Guillemont, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, the Battle of Morval and the Battle of Le Transloy.

In 1917 they were in action during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, the Battle of Langemarck, the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, the Battle of Polygon Wood and the Cambrai Operations.

The 10th Battalion Rifle Brigade was disbanded in February 1918 and William was transferred to the 13th Battalion, Rifle Brigade in 37th Division. In April 1918 they fought in The Battle of the Ancre during the German Spring Offensive, and remained in the Somme area.

There is nothing in William's Service Papers which suggests that he had received any previous wounds during his 3 years in France and Belgium, during which time he had fought in some of the major actions of the Great War. Sadly on 8th May 1918, the day after his promotion to Sergeant, William was killed in action near Bucquoy. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings