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MParckar

1/8th Middlesex Battalion - further help needed please (scroll to bottom post 19/8)

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MParckar

I'm currently researching my Great Grandfather, Edward William Parckar of the 1/8th Middlesex Battalion.  I have been sent this photo from a distant cousin, who said it was taken 'while billeted in France'.  The family in the photo, supposedly being the hosts of the billet.

I am curious to ascertain if the 'while billeted in France' is true.  I have my reservations and would love any feedback or thoughts as to why it would have been taken and where?

 

My thoughts/queries:

 

  • From research I've completed so far, it appears that the 1/8th upon arrival in Le Havre on the 9/3/1915 were moved to rest camp and entrained the next day to Bailleul, where they were billeted in large numbers at an old school.  
  • Further mention in newspaper articles and from a book on the Middlesex Regiment (E. Wyrall) of billets over the remainder of the war are either in rest camps or in farmhouse sheds on straw.  
  • The background of the photo appears to be a trompe l'oeil screen, rather an actual room in a house.  A lot of effort has been taken in getting this photo. A photographers studio perhaps?  
  • If it was taken in France while serving (often on or near the front line), why a photo with just 1 Officer and 2 Privates?
  • I wonder if it was from the billets of the 1/8th in Sittingbourne, Kent (training camp) in the 3 months prior to leaving for Gibraltar. I have found personal accounts from men of this Battalion who said they were taken in 2 to 4 per house/business along the streets of Sittingbourne.  Some were even billeted in a furniture shop and made use of the furniture!
  • Or maybe even a billet in Gibraltar?

 

Anyway, I am curious to know other people's view on it's significance as a photo etc. and whether anyone else has anything similar.

Many thanks in advance.

Mandie

Edward William Parckar WW1 France.jpg

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Steven Broomfield

I'd say it's a family group, formal photo in the UK.

 

There's no officer in the group - there is a sergeant (the one behind te small boy) - a non commissioned officer (NCO). The sergeant appears to have medal ribbons so is an old soldier - possibly South African War medals.

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MParckar
1 hour ago, Steven Broomfield said:

I'd say it's a family group, formal photo in the UK.

 

There's no officer in the group - there is a sergeant (the one behind te small boy) - a non commissioned officer (NCO). The sergeant appears to have medal ribbons so is an old soldier - possibly South African War medals.

Hi Steven, thanks for your reply....it's got my brain thinking!

My Great Grandfather was the only one in our family that served in the Middlesex Regiment, so I am assuming he is not related to the much taller men in the photo.  If it was say the Sergeant's family group, why would my Great Grandfather be there?  I find it really odd.  

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Michelle Young

There appears to be a resemblance between the three men sporting moustaches. Brothers? Was your grandfather a family friend? Godfather to one of the children? 

 

Michelle 

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MParckar
12 minutes ago, Michelle Young said:

There appears to be a resemblance between the three men sporting moustaches. Brothers? Was your grandfather a family friend? Godfather to one of the children? 

 

Michelle 

Yes, I wonder if it's the Sergeant's family grouping and my Edward is a 'special' guest for some reason.  He was an active member of his Territorial unit before the outbreak of war and also a well known footballer and wrestler locally.  I can imagine he would have a few close pals in the Regiment.

 

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Neale1961

I think the 3 women are closely related - all very similar looking.

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MParckar

Does anyone know how I would go about trying to find the names of all the Sergeant's that served in the 1/8th Middlesex Battalion.  Is it even possible to do so?

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johnboy

Is there anything on the back of the pic?

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MParckar
Just now, johnboy said:

Is there anything on the back of the pic?

Good point, thanks.... I've just emailed my cousin in the UK who has the original to see if there is any writing on the front or back.  Also, I've enquired as to who told her it was while 'billeted in France.'

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johnboy

If it was printed as a postcard it might show printers/ photographers name and address.

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RobertBr

The 1/8th joined 167th Infantry Brigade of the 56th London Division in Febuary 1916 and remained with  them throught the war.

 

"The History Of the 56th Division" by Major Dudley-Ward gives a good account of the actions they were involved in.

 

I daresay one of the Forums Middlesex Regiment experts will be able to point you at other information sources.

 

Bob

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Steven Broomfield
1 hour ago, MParckar said:

Does anyone know how I would go about trying to find the names of all the Sergeant's that served in the 1/8th Middlesex Battalion.  Is it even possible to do so?

 

Unless a complete roll of personnel was kept and has survived (both extremely unlikely), I fear the answer is 'No'. I believe the records of the Middlesex were all lodged with the National Army Museum and Lord alone knows what they have.

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Keith Brannen

Mandie, was your great-grandfather married at the time (possibly with a son)?

 

I, too, think it is a family photo. I think the two tall men are brothers (one with a wife?), and their two sisters have their husbands standing behind them.

Edited by Keith Brannen

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brianmorris547

The War Diary of 1/8 Middlesex Regt when they landed in France on 09/03/1915 with 85 Infantry Brigade of 28 Div can be found on Ancestry under Various Infantry Brigades - 28 Div - Piece 2279. It starts on p 334/693 and there are some Field Returns naming Other Ranks including Sergeants from pages 492 to 530. There are also some casualty lists naming other ranks. No Nominal Rolls but a good starting point.

Brian

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MParckar
7 hours ago, Keith Brannen said:

Mandie, was your great-grandfather married at the time (possibly with a son)?

 

I, too, think it is a family photo. I think the two tall men are brothers (one with a wife?), and their two sisters have their husbands standing behind them.

My Great Grandfather was married in 1912, but his wife does not feature in this photo.  He only had a baby by the start of the war.  Looking closer at the photo, the Sergeant has his hand on the chair in front, suggesting to me the woman in front is his wife and child.  I agree the 2 tall men look related.  Could be as simple as a family group shot of the Sergeant and his brother with their wives and my Great Grandfather is a really good family friend.  I am pretty convinced now though, it is not taken while billeted in France.

2 hours ago, brianmorris547 said:

The War Diary of 1/8 Middlesex Regt when they landed in France on 09/03/1915 with 85 Infantry Brigade of 28 Div can be found on Ancestry under Various Infantry Brigades - 28 Div - Piece 2279. It starts on p 334/693 and there are some Field Returns naming Other Ranks including Sergeants from pages 492 to 530. There are also some casualty lists naming other ranks. No Nominal Rolls but a good starting point.

Brian

Thank you! I will go and have a look now. 

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Keith Brannen
18 hours ago, MParckar said:

My Great Grandfather was married in 1912, but his wife does not feature in this photo.  He only had a baby by the start of the war.  Looking closer at the photo, the Sergeant has his hand on the chair in front, suggesting to me the woman in front is his wife and child.  I agree the 2 tall men look related.  Could be as simple as a family group shot of the Sergeant and his brother with their wives and my Great Grandfather is a really good family friend.  I am pretty convinced now though, it is not taken while billeted in France.

 

 

I see what you mean, the Sergeant does appears to the husband (and, of course, the fact you know your great-grandmother is not in the photo!). Still suggests a family group photo (rather than him just being a close/good friend). Could be cousins?

Edited by Keith Brannen

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travers61

I don't know when the photo was taken or when your grandfather married, but could he be in it because at the time he was the fiancee of one of the ladies ?

 

To me the three ladies are related & the one in the dark dress seems older, so maybe their mother ?

 

 

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charlie962
19 hours ago, sadbrewer said:

He was gassed in the Great Gas Battle of Ypres, Whit Monday 1915, according to this article below,

to avoid danger of duplicating effort for what is already on another thread I post link.

Edited by charlie962

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MParckar

With all your helpful comments pointing me in the right direction, I think I have made some progress in identifying the people in my photo!  But, I still need some help please.

I struggled to comprehend what everyone was saying 'this is a family group photo', as my Great Grandfather, Edward Parckar, on the far right looks nothing like the taller, older Gentlemen.  Plus also, family 'legend' is that it was taken while billeted in France. However, I have since received a known photo of one of his Uncles (also in Middlesex Uniform) and he looks just like those taller men.

 

So, I am now thinking that the Sergeant is actually my Great Great Grandfather, Edward Parker, which for me is super exciting!  The woman in front of him is possibly my Great Grandmother, Mary Ann (Maggie Collier) and the small child would then be my Great Grandfather's youngest brother, Jesse, born 1902. Looking at the age of Jesse, I believe this photo may have been taken between 1908 (when my Great Grandfather first enlisted in the 1/8th Middx) and 1910.  Maybe to commemorate Edward joining a line of Middlesex soldiers in the family?

 

I believe the back row of men (including my Great Grandfather) are three brothers.  Far left being George Parker (315244).  The women in the front are all sisters as two of the brothers (George and Edward), married two of the sisters (Mary Ann and Amelia Collier).  I can find the 3 sisters all living with the family unit on the 1901 census.

 

Where I need help is how I go about proving my theory?  I've found records for George Parker (315244).  His service records survive.  What I can't find is anything to prove the Sergeant is my Great Great Grandfather, Edward Parker. 

 

Please can someone tell me what site/s is the best for trying to find records (without a soldier number), particularly when it is such a common name of Parker.  Please note, the unusual spelling of Parckar is the way my Great Grandfather spelt it.  Only he did this.  I've spent days and no luck pinpointing anything on Edward.

 

If anyone would like to assist by having a look with me (for which I would be grateful), I know the following:

 

Edward Parker (no middle name on birth certificate).

Born 1868, Barrack Road, Heston (Hounslow)

Parents: Edward Kilby (changed his name to Parker in the 1860's) and Elizabeth Sophia (nee Tapping). 

Other addresses: 1871 - Tivoli Road, Hounslow; 1881 - Providence Place, Hounslow; 1891 - Workman's Club on Hanworth Road, Hounslow; 1901 - 35 Kingsley Road, Hounslow; 1911 - 75 Hanworth Road, Hounslow.

Died: 1922 after accidentally falling from the railings of a motor bus in Isleworth, Middlesex.

 

My Great Grandfather was in the 1/8th Territorial Middlesex Regiment.  HQ was a few doors down from their family house.

 

 

 

Edited by MParckar

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charlie962

MParckar,

 

Findmypast is pretty good for pre WW1 military records, I find. But each of the genealogical sites has its ++ and -- . A search shows a Boer War record for an E Parker 242 of 6th Middlesex but nothing more to go on.

 

Your GGGF Edward might have served, you say. It would be worth checking his marriage cert and the birth certs of his children to see if they show him in the Army.

 

The 1891 and 1901 census show him as packer or labourer.  (as you say, Parker). ie nothing military.

 

The Sergeant in the photo has 2 medal ribbons , I think, as pointed out in post2 above. Can we get a clearer view ? Whilst they could be South Africa (QSA and KSA) the 1901 Census gave no hint of this for Edward.

 

Charlie

 

 

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travers61

The photograph could have been taken in 1908 or just after when the 8th Battalion Middlesex Regiment was founded & they had their new TF uniforms. It is possible that your gt-grandfathers enlistment in 1908 was prompted by the founding on the 8th Middlesexes as part of the creation of the TF from the old volunteer forces.

 

It looks pre war or very early war as none of the soldiers are wearing the Imperial Service Badge.  This was a  small metal badge worn over the top left pocket, indicating they had volunteered to serve overseas, as certainly your Gt-Grandfather had. Not all TF men volunteered for overseas service or if they did may have been retained at home for a training role, so if you are unable to find records for your Gt Gt grandfather in may mean he did not earn any medals due to his home service.

 

If you are able to access either the inquest papers  or a newspaper report of your Gt-Gt granfathers 1922 death some times they mention war service.

 

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MParckar
13 hours ago, charlie962 said:

MParckar,

 

Findmypast is pretty good for pre WW1 military records, I find. But each of the genealogical sites has its ++ and -- . A search shows a Boer War record for an E Parker 242 of 6th Middlesex but nothing more to go on.

 

Your GGGF Edward might have served, you say. It would be worth checking his marriage cert and the birth certs of his children to see if they show him in the Army.

 

The 1891 and 1901 census show him as packer or labourer.  (as you say, Parker). ie nothing military.

 

The Sergeant in the photo has 2 medal ribbons , I think, as pointed out in post2 above. Can we get a clearer view ? Whilst they could be South Africa (QSA and KSA) the 1901 Census gave no hint of this for Edward.

 

Charlie

 

 

Thanks Charlie.  I have uploaded a photo for closer look at the ribbons.  As you quite rightly state, he is at home on the Census in 1901.  Does that rule out overseas service in SA? Could he have earned medals elsewhere and still be home for 1901? 

 

8A6F6BD7-E2EB-49F0-9446-20E4223A1015.jpeg

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MParckar
10 hours ago, travers61 said:

The photograph could have been taken in 1908 or just after when the 8th Battalion Middlesex Regiment was founded & they had their new TF uniforms. It is possible that your gt-grandfathers enlistment in 1908 was prompted by the founding on the 8th Middlesexes as part of the creation of the TF from the old volunteer forces.

 

It looks pre war or very early war as none of the soldiers are wearing the Imperial Service Badge.  This was a  small metal badge worn over the top left pocket, indicating they had volunteered to serve overseas, as certainly your Gt-Grandfather had. Not all TF men volunteered for overseas service or if they did may have been retained at home for a training role, so if you are unable to find records for your Gt Gt grandfather in may mean he did not earn any medals due to his home service.

 

If you are able to access either the inquest papers  or a newspaper report of your Gt-Gt granfathers 1922 death some times they mention war service.

 

Thank you for your reply.

Were there other volunteer battalions before the TA started in 1908?  I’m wondering if he wasn’t full time army, but part time volunteer, hence not mentioned on birth certificates of his children or census returns. 

Maybe, the photo was taken to celebrate his promotion to Sergeant? Would a Private have to serve for many years before being made a Sergeant in the TA do you think? 

 

I also wonder the meaning of the badge in the Sergeant’s hat?

 

I have a newspaper report of the inquest and no mention of his potential military past.  Only his current employment at a Brewery. 

 

One curious aspect that that has made me wonder for years.  He married his wife on 15/2/1890 and 15 days later she gives birth to my Great Grandfather.  We always wondered if he was illegitimate, but been able to dispel that theory with a positive DNA test with a distant cousin.

Could he have been anywhere military wise, action or away compulsory training, which would account for this very last minute marriage to legitimise their son do you think? 

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