Parkinson, Horace James Ankers. Died 1st Jul 1917

Horace James Ankers PARKINSON’s birth was registered in Q1 1892 in Rugby. He was the son of Samuel Parkinson, b.c.1866 at Forge Mills, Warwickshire, and Amy née Flavell Parkinson b.c.1858 in Rugby. Their children were all born in Rugby.

Horace was baptised at St Matthew’s, Rugby on 31 January 1892, when his father was recorded as a ‘bank clerk’. In 1901 the family were living at 15 Arnold Street, Rugby.   Horace attended the ‘Lower School’, Rugby (Lawrence Sheriff School).

By 1911, his father, Samuel Parkinson, had become a ‘Bank Accountant’ and the family had moved to 281 Clifton Road, Rugby – an eight room house. Horace and his elder brother, Samuel, had both started working and were now ‘Bank Clerks’. After Horace left school he worked for the Parrs Bank,[1] Leicester, and for some time at the Lutterworth Branch. His sister, Amy, was not listed with an occupation.

It is assumed that his father was at Lloyds Bank, as when the congregation of Holy Trinity Church became interested in a scheme for providing hospitality for a number of Belgian refugees, it was decided to open an account with Lloyds Bank, and to ask Mr Parkinson to act as Treasurer.[2]

Horace joined up as a Private in June 1916 in the 10th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, as indicated by a later report.

H J A Parkinson, youngest son of Mr and Mrs Parkinson, of Clifton Road, Rugby, who joined the 10th Leicester Regiment in June last, has been granted a commission as Second-Lieutenant in the 3/4th Leicesters.[3] He holds a first-class certificate as a hand-grenade specialist, and he is now with his regiment in England. The elder son is now in the Motor Red Cross Ambulance in France.[4]

By April 1915, the 10th (Reserve) Battalion had converted into a Reserve battalion and became the 1st Reserve Brigade. It became the 5th Training Reserve Battalion of 1st Reserve Brigade on 1 September 1916. After training, Horace was commissioned into the 1/4th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. This Battalion had been formed in Leicester and had landed at Le Havre as part of the Lincoln and Leicester Brigade in the North Midland Division on 3 March 1915, and on 12 May 1915, the Battalion became part of the 138th Brigade, 46th (North Midland) Division. The Battalion saw action in the German liquid fire attack at Hooge and the action at the Hohenzollern Redoubt in October 1915. The Battalion embarked for Egypt at Marseilles on 21 January 1916, but was disembarked the next day when the move was cancelled and the Battalion was then again engaged in actions on the Western Front.

After being commissioned in early 1916, Horace’s Medal Card shows that he went to France on 9 May 1916, where he would have joined his Battalion.

Horace would most likely have been involved with the 4th Battalion in the attack at Gommecourt in July 1916 as part of the Somme offensive, and then in 1917, with the operations on the Ancre, the occupation of the Gommecourt defences, the attack on Rettemoy Graben on 12 March 1917 and the actions during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and finally with the attack on Lievin in June 1917.[5]

The War Diary of the 1/4th Battalion provides information on the Battalion’s positions and actions in early June, when they had four days of practice for an attack, on 1 & 2 June by Battalion and then on 3 & 4 June in Brigade strength:[6]

5th – Rest day for the Brigade. Plans for the attack changed. The operation is to be a raid on a large scale.

6th – Went up to the trenches, the companies billeted in cellars in Lievin.[7] Quiet night except for our own guns. …

7th – Day spent issuing bombs etc and making final preparations for the raid. Very hot day.

8th – Heavy artillery bombardment of enemy positions commencing at 5am and continuing until zero hour (8.30pm) + 3 minutes. … The assembly was complete at 7.45pm, and at 8pm the enemy barraged the position of assembly though fortunately little harm resulted. … They found a large number of enemy in Fosse 3 where there were 11 buildings with many dugouts.   These were dealt with with bombs and mobile charges. Heavy casualties were inflicted upon the enemy and two officers & 12 OR taken prisoner. … The whole operation was a great success. … The withdrawal commenced at 1am on 9th June and all companies were back in cellars by 3am. … 2/Lieut E C Doudney, 2/Lieut J Douglas, 2/Lt D T Soper, 2/Lt H J A Parkinson were wounded and there were 70 OR killed & wounded.

9th – Battalion in support in Lievin …

For an operation that was ‘a great success’ there were significant losses.   The news of Horace’s wounding was reported on 23 June 1917.

Mr & Mrs Parkinson, of Old Bank House, Southam, and formerly of Rugby, have been informed that their son, Second-Lieut Horace J A Parkinson, of the 4th Leicestershire Regiment, was seriously wounded in France on the 8th inst. He was educated at the Lower School, Rugby, and before joining the Army was in Parrs Bank, Leicester, and formerly at the Lutterworth Branch. He is making satisfactory progress.[8]

A later report in the Rugby Advertiser mentioned,

… in May, 1916 – he went out to France, where he took part in a lot of fighting. He received the wounds which ultimately resulted in his death while leading his men to attack a position at Lens about a month ago [c. June 1917]. He was 26 years of age, and being 6ft 5ins high and proportionately built, he was a fine looking officer.[9]

He was evacuated back to England and to the First Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge, where he died of his wounds. His home address was still given as 281 Clifton Road, Rugby, although at some date before mid 1917, his parents had moved to live in Southam at the Old Bank House.

A notice of his death was posted in the Rugby Advertiser.

PARKINSON. – On 1st inst., at the Military Hospital, Cambridge, of wounds received in action in France, Second-Lieut. Horace J A Parkinson, the dearly beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. S. Parkinson, of the Old Bank House, Southam.[10]

He was buried in the Clifton Road Cemetery (plot J258) and a detailed report was provided by the Rugby Advertiser, which provided further information on Horace’s life.

An Old Laurentian Dies From Wounds.

The death took place on Sunday Morning last, in the Military Hospital, Cambridge, of Second-Lieut H J A Parkinson, son of Mr & Mrs S Parkinson, of the Old Bank House, Southam and formerly of Rugby. … The funeral took place in Rugby on Wednesday, and was of a semi-military character. The cortege started from Clinton House, the residence of Mr W M Webb, an old friend of the family, … there were also present in Holy Trinity Church, where the first part of the service took place. … Eight sergeants of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment from Bugbroke acted as bearers, and the firing party was provided by the same regiment. … As the procession entered the church Mr W E Ellen (organist) played appropriate music, … The service at the graveside was witnessed by a large crowd of sympathisers.[11]

Some two weeks later the Parkinson family thanked their sympathisers and it was also reported that they had received a telegram from the King and Queen.

Mr and Mrs. Parkinson and family, of the Old Bank House, Southam, desire to give their sincere thanks to all those who hare so kindly sympathised with them in their great sorrow in the death their son, Second-Lieut. Horace J. A. Parkinson.[12]

Mr. and Mrs. Parkinson, of the Old Bank House, Southam, have received the following telegram from Buckingham Palace:- ‘The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the Army have sustained by the death of your son in the service of his country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow.’[13]

Probate was granted on 23 August 1917 at the London Registry to his father ‘Samuel Parkinson, Bank Manager’, and his mother ‘Amy Parkinson (wife of the said Samuel Parkinson)’. Horace’s effects were valued at £423-16-9d.

In September 1917, the Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects recorded payments of £5-5-1d and £4-2-2d. On the 17 September 1917, a payment – probably a gratuity – was made of £58-10-0d.

His Medal Card showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Horace Parkinson is commemorated on a pillar of the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby and on the Old Laurentians Memorial.



– – – – – –


This article on Horace James Ankers PARKINSON was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, June 2017.

[1]       Parr’s Bank Ltd (1788-1918), was established in Warrington, and was a past constituent of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

[2]       Information from Rugby Remembers [ ] – abstracted from Rugby Advertiser, 14 November 1914.

[3]       This is probably a misprint for the 1/4th Battalion.

[4]       Information from Rugby Remembers [ ] – abstracted from Rugby Advertiser, 19 February 1916.

[5]       Information in part from:

[6]       UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Leicestershire Regiment, 46th Division, Piece 2690/1: 1/4 Battalion Leicestershire Regiment (1915 Feb – 1919 Jun).

[7]       Lievin is about 5 miles west of Lens, and about 25 miles south-west of Lille.

[8]       Rugby Advertiser, 23 June 1917.

[9]       Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 7 July 1917.

[10]     Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 7 July 1917.

[11]     Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 7 July 1917.

[12]     Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 28 July 1917.

[13]     Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 28 July 1917.

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