Welcome to my blog......

The purpose of this blog is to remember the fallen heroes of the Great War, whose names are recorded on the memorial plaque situated in St Barnabas Church, New Whittington, Chesterfield.

To mark the centenary of World War 1 I aim to research all of the men on the memorial. I hope to ensure that the brave men who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago are remembered and each man's story told.

I would love to hear from anyone who may have information regarding the men; photos, letters or passed down memories. Any descendents are most welcome to contact me and I will provide copies of the research that I have undertaken.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left to grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them"

For The Fallen,
Laurence Binyon September 1914.

Saturday, 2 July 2016



Private 17681

1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment

Killed in action - 2nd July 1916

Walter Parkin was killed in action on 2nd July 1916, the first man named on the St Barnabas Memorial to have lost his life during the battle of the Somme.  The battle which at 57,470 British casualties were recorded in just one day; 1st July 1916.

Walter's early life has been difficult to piece together, his service records do exist but they are very feint and difficult to read.  He was the son of Charlotte Parkin who at the time of the outbreak of WW1 was living at New Whittington.  Walter was actually born in Wincobank near Sheffield around 1894.  

The Parkin family....

Without purchasing the relevant birth, marriage and death certificates I am limited to my success following any family.  As there are 85 soldiers named on the memorial I am unable to do this due to financial constraints.  Therefore what I write below may or may not be correct as due to lack of census returns and the poor legibility of Walter's service records my research has not been as conclusive as I would like it to be. If anyone reads this and is connected to the Parkin family or can confirm or add to this remembrance blog then please do add your comments or email me directly.  

Charlotte is recorded on census returns as being born around 1862 at Aldershot Barracks.  On the 1881 census she was living alone, but described as married at 37A School Lane, Sheffield.  

I can find the same Charlotte Parkin born at Aldershot on the 1891 census, married to an Edward Parkin a "pen and pocket blade grinder" aged 29 years old.  The couple have 3 children at this time; Edward aged 6, John aged 3 and Susannah aged 10 months, all born in Sheffield.  It may well be that Edward snr was a retired soldier as on the 1881 census an Edward Parkin was a soldier, born in Sheffield in 1862 he was based at Pontefract.  He was a Private with the 3rd West Yorkshire Militia.  However, he was described as unmarried at that time.

By 1901 Charlotte and Edward had 3 more children; Walter, William and Annie.  The family lived at 61 Carver Street, Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield. Edward was still employed in steel trade as a "grinder cutler".  

After the 1901 census the family seem to disappear.  I have found no likely death for either Edward or Charlotte Parkin.  On Walter's service records the mother is given as Charlotte Parkin living at 25 London Street, New Whittington.  None of the family other than Walter appear on the 1911 census.  Walter was living at 1 Barrow Road, Wincobank and worked as a trammer underground at the colliery. Described as "nephew" to Joseph and Elizabeth Brookes (however I have been unable to clarify this relationship).

Walter's war....

Walter enlisted at Attercliffe recruiting office in Sheffield on 9th April 1915.  He was aged 21 years and 5 months (making his birth date sometime in November 1894).  His occupation at the time of enlisting was coal miner and he lived at 25 London Street, New Whittington.  

The medical form tells us that Walter was born in Wincobank, Sheffield and that he was 5ft 7 1/4 inches tall.  He was 140lbs and his physical development was described as "good".

Walter was soon mobilised and joined the East Yorkshire Regiment at Beverley on 13th April 1915.  He was now known as Private 17681.  It looks likely that Walter did not take to army life as on 31st July 1915 he is recorded as being absent without leave until 5th August 1915.  He as fined 6 days pay for this unauthorised leave.  Only days after his return to barracks, on 18th August 1915 Walter and his fellow comrades of the 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment were sent overseas to join the British Expeditionary Force in France.  Walter had received only 4 months training prior to this.

The 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment were originally part of the 6th Division, 18th Brigade until on 1st December 1915 they joined with the 21st Division, 64th Brigade.  On that day it was recorded in the dairy what a wet day it was, rain was heavy and the trenches were full of water.  In fact December remained a very wet month, Walter and his fellow soldiers were based near to Armentieres and Pont Du Nieppe, south of Ypres.

On 1st January 1916 the war diary recorded their being in billets in reserve at Houplines "fighting strength 26 Officers, 789 other ranks"  In the middle of March 1916 the men marched to billets in Steentje and on to Outtersteene.  The battalion continued to make their way southwards, by the middle of April they would find themselves in the trenches at Fricourt; they had arrived at the area known as Somme. They were east of Albert, the capital of the area.  Little did they know of what was planned ahead for them and how infamous this area of France would become.

The months of May and June were spent in and out of trenches in the area of Meaulte, south of Albert.  With a steady flow of enemy engagement, casualties and loss of men.  The weather was fine and sunny in May but turned cloudy and showery in June.  On 28th June the war diary reads "Heavy rain, conditions in camp bad......parade ordered for 8.15pm to march to assembly trenches preparatory to taking the offensive against the German line on morning of 29th......At 4pm however orders were received that the operations of the British 4th Army were postponed for 48 hrs".

The war diary then documents the events of 1st to 4th July 1916, the men set out for the assembly trenches on the night of 30th July 1916. They arrived in position at 3.30am but had already lost one officer and three other ranks were wounded, whilst in the communication trenches. The 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment went into battle alongside the 9th & 10th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and the 15th Durham Light Infantry.  

At the end of the report the scribe has recorded the figures of casualties;
Other ranks; 441 men (35 killed, 239 wounded, 9 wounded & missing and 158 missing)
Officers; 19 men.

Extract from service records Walter Parkin

Walter was wounded in action on the first day of the battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916.  He received gunshot wounds to his arms, thigh, shoulder and head.  Sadly Walter died of his wounds the next day on 2nd July 1916.  He was fortunate to have been removed from the battlefield and taken to No3 casualty clearing station where we can at least hope that he died in peace, with caring medical staff at his side.  

Walter is buried at Puchevillers British Cemetery on the Somme, his grave reference is 1 A 19.  He has the sign of the cross on the gravestone.

Walter was awarded the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.

Life went on....

Charlotte Parkin Walter's mother was living at 23 Cross London Street New Whittington after the death of her beloved son.  Later documents give her address as 63 London Street.  The service record states that Walter's father was deceased.

Walter's siblings....

Edward Arthur was born around 1885 on the 1911 census he was boarding with Sarah Ellen Smith at 48 Trafalger Street, Sheffield.  He was employed as a grinder of pen and pocket knife's, as his father had been.  Edward may have been known by his middle name of Arthur.  On Walters service records it states his brother "Arthur" was serving with the East Yorkshire Regiment also.

John was born around 1888 no further information is known at this time.

Susannah was born in 1891 no further information is known at this time.

William Henry was born in 1895.  He may well have served in the Navy during WW1, enlisting on 24th January 1914 until 15th November 1916. The date of birth for this person is 1st November 1895, purchase of the birth certificate for William Henry Parkin would prove or disprove this information.

Annie E was born in 1898 no further information is known at this time.  

There are only two brothers and two sisters named on the service records for Walter.  


If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Walter Parkin or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon below or drop me an email.

If you are descendant of the Parkin family and would like to add your own family "story" then please do feel free to contact me.

I hope that I have not given details of living persons, if so please advise and I will remove immediately.

Please note all information has been taken from online indexes and sources.  Due to the sheer numbers of people to be researched I am unable to purchase vital event certificates to confirm my research.


Ref and further reading  -
Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects

War diaries - Piece WO95 / 2161 / 2 The National Archives 

East Yorkshire Regiment http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/east-yorkshire-regiment/

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