Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Albert Parker

Albert Parker :

Albert Parker : 1914-15 Star

1914-15 Star

Albert was born between April and June 1895 in Wandsworth, South London. His father was called William and his mother was Theresa. He had 3 older siblings, Harold, William and Agnes, and a younger sister called Letitia.

The family moved to Manchester between 1895 and 1897. William had worked as a horsekeeper and groom. He died between 1897 and 1901. In this year Theresa and her children lived at 7 Meredith Street in Chorlton, Manchester. She worked as a cook in a restaurant.

Ten years later the family had moved to 8 Priory Street in Greenheys, Manchester. Theresa was now a cook in a warehouse. All of her children also had jobs. Albert was an apprentice packer for a costume manufacturer.

The First World War broke out in August 1914, and in late November or early December Albert left his job and joined the Army. He enlisted in Manchester's 5th City Battalion. The City Battalions were 'Pals' units, formed to allow men from the same area and background to serve together. The 5th City Battalion became the 20th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and Albert was assigned to XV Platoon in D Company. His service number was 18006.

The 20th Battalion began life at Belle Vue in Manchester. They soon moved to nearby Heaton Park, then to Morecambe on the Lancashire coast in April 1915. They spent 17 weeks there before moving again to Belton Park near Grantham in Lincolnshire. By September they were at Larkhill in Wiltshire. On the 9th November Albert and the 20th Battalion crossed to France.

Later in November Albert served in the trenches for the first time. In February 1916 the battalion moved to the Fricourt area. They spent time in the front line at Fricourt and in the rear around Morlancourt. During June they began training to take part in the Somme Offensive.

The Somme Offensive began on the 1st July. Albert and the 20th Battalion attacked towards Fricourt during the afternoon. The attack was unsuccessful and the 20th Battalion lost around 140 men, with another 171 wounded. The battalion was pulled out of the front line on the 3rd July.

We can't be sure about Albert's service after this. At some point he was transferred to the 11th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This could have been because he was wounded or taken ill. Once he recovered he could be sent to any unit that needed men.

Both the 20th and the 11th Battalions fought on the Somme until the end of the offensive in November, although not side by side. They took part in operations around Arras and the Ancre in the spring of 1917, and then both battalions were sent north into Belgium during the summer.

The Passchendaele Offensive began on the 31st July around Ypres, now called Ieper. Both units took part in the Battles of Polygon Wood and Broodseinde during late September and early October.

Albert was a member of the 11th Battalion when he died from his wounds on the 7th October 1917. He was 22 years old. He died at a Casualty Clearing Station, where injured soldiers were taken for initial treatment, near Poperinge. There were 3 Casualty Clearing Stations close together. Soldiers light-heartedly named them Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem. Alfred died at Dozinghem.

This suggests he could have been wounded during the Battle of Broodseinde 3 days earlier on the 4th. The 11th Battalion's attack that day had been successful. They had reached the village of Poelcappelle and successfully defeated a German counterattack. Their attack had been supported by 10 tanks.

Men who died at Dozinghem were buried in a cemetery constructed near the Casualty Clearing Station. This is now Dozinghem Military Cemetery and it contains 3240 graves. Alfred's modern grave reference is VIII. I. 2.

Alfred's medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in February 1989. As well as his 1914-15 Star, he was also awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf

Telephone: 0161 342 5480
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Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund logo
Army Museums Ogilby Trust logo
Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council