Frank Parker (1888-1916)
Frank Parker was born in the late spring of 1888, the son of Henry Parker and Elizabeth Maloney, a widowed cotton worker originally from Newcastle-upon-Tyne who lived in Lockwood. The couple married in the summer of 1881; Elizabeth already had an eight-year-old son Joseph and took in lodgers at her home in Spring Field Place. Henry Parker was a street sweeper.
Ten years later they were living in Upper Mount Street just off Victoria Road. The couple and their four children — Joe, who worked for a railway company, had been joined by, Francis in 1888, Agnes in 1890 and Nora in 1895 — shared four rooms. Norah, and Francis after her, no doubt attended the nearby Mount Pleasant School. When they moved to Lindley Frank was enrolled in Oakes Council School.
By 1901 the family were living at 8 Thomas Street, Lindley. Joe had died in 1894 at the age of only 21. Norah was by now aged 16 and worked as a tailoress; Henry now described himself as a "Labourer—General", which may mean his job had not in fact changed since 1891.
Ten years later the family were still living at 8 Thomas Street although Norah had married in early 1908 and moved out. Frank, now aged 23, worked as a worsted cloth finisher and Agnes aged 21, worked in Litho-printing.
When the war began, Frank was working for at the Sykes factory on Acre Street so may no longer have been a cloth finisher. He was in the choir at St. Patrick's, West Vale, which suggests the family may have been Catholics.
Frank enlisted in March 1915 and he arrived in France on 29 June 1915. The 2/5th were a "Home Service" battalion, which never arrived in France until early 1917. Frank must therefore have served in another battalion, probably the 1/5th and the C.W.G.C. has the details wrong. He must have had home leave because in June 1916, in Halifax, he married Ellen Agnes Connolly, probably like Frank, a Catholic.
His employers at Acre Street mill made up the wages of employees serving in the Forces.
Frank was killed in action when the battalion was involved in the attack on the Pope's Nose, a strong German Redoubt, on the Somme, which went wrong with disastrous consequences. A number of local men were killed including Llewellyn Brick and Fred Durrans, who like Frank, both worked at the Acre Street Mills, in card making. They must have known each other and probably all enlisted on the same day in September 1914.
Initially, Frank was only reported missing and his death was not presumed until 23 June the following year. His widow would have received the standard 12/9d pension.
Frank's body was originally buried in another cemetery and not moved to the Mill Road cemetery until May 1919, having first not been identified, which may explain the "missing" status. A number of other Dukes men were re-buried "unknown" at the same time. Frank is remembered in St. Stephen's church.
After the war, Ellen Parker seems to have moved to Providence Hill, Stainland, probably where her family lived.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Private F PARKER (4005)
- regiment: Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding)
- died: Sunday, September 3, 1916
- age: 28 years
- record ID: 544344
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission (ID #544344)