George Richard Parker was born in Normanton in the autumn of 1887, the youngest of two sons of George Robert Parker and his wife Frances. The extended Parker family had been farming around Empingham since the mid 18th century. But by the time of the 1901 census George Senior had moved his family to Walton near Peterborough where he worked as a farm labourer. When the First World War broke out, George Junior enlisted in Peterborough with the Northamptonshire Regiment and served with the 1st Battalion. He was killed on 23 July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. The Northamptonshires were to support the King's Royal Rifle Corps in an attack on German-held Munster trench near Pozieres. They were to assemble in a communication trench known as Gloster Avenue. According to the battalion war diary the attack did not start well: "All units late at forming up. Great congestion in Gloster Alley." At 12.30am on 23 July the men went forward: "B Coy 1st Northamptonsire advanced close behind KRR and got into German trench with them, bombing to both flanks, about 300 feet of trench held... the German trench to the right and left had not been taken and the Germans were bombing from both flanks. Therefore, as his supply of bombs was exhausted, Captain Chisholm withdrew his party back to Lancashire trench." The attack had been a costly failure. The war diary recorded that since 12 July, "when the Bttn was in Becourt, 8 Officers and 260 Other Ranks have been killed and wounded. Big draft badly wanted." George Parker was one of those killed. His body was never recovered and so he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier 11D. He is sadly not remembered anywhere in Rutland, but is remembered on Peterborough's war memorial. His cousin Claude Crowson of Ketton was also killed during the War.
See where all our Rutland soldiers died during the Battle of the Somme on our interactive map.
We discovered George's story after being given a copy of Rutland and the Great War in which a relative had handwritten that a Parker had been omitted from the Normanton and Empingham page of the book.
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