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Walter Parker VC
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Walter Parker spent his early years in London and moved to Stapleford to begin work at the Stanton Ironworks as a coremaker. At the outbreak of the first World War (1914), Walter Parker enlisted into the Royal Marines Light Infantry Division and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery and gallentry while under enemy fire at Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli, Turkey on the 1st May 1915. The story is as follows:

On the night of 30th April 1915, Lieutenant Empson, RMLI who was in command of an Isolated fire trench at Gaba Tepe sent a message asking for ammunition, water and medical stores; in the trench there were also 40 men and a number of wounded.

The message was received by Captain Syson, RMLI Officer Commanding `C' Company, Portsmouth Battalion, who detailed a party of Non-Commissioned Officers and men to carry water and ammunition and called for a volunteer among the stretcher bearers. Lance Corporal Parker of the same battalion at once volunteered to go.

There were no communication trenches, and in attempting to emerge from the nearest trench one of the party was wounded. Lance Corporal Parker thereupon organised a stretcher party to take this man back and then started off for the trench which Lieutenant Empson occupied.

It was now daylight. The intervening space was at least 400 yards and was completely exposed and swept by Turkish rifle fire; several Australians had already been killed while endeavouring to convey ammunition to Lieutenant Empson.

Parker alone succeeded in reaching the trench: all the remaining Non-Commissioned Officers and men in his party were either killed or wounded. After his arrival he rendered assistance to the wounded, displaying extreme courage and remaining cool and collected in very trying circumstances.

In the early morning of the following day the trench had to be evacuated and Parker helped to remove and attend to the wounded, although during this operation he was seriously wounded.
Parker had during the three previous days displayed consistent bravery and energy whilst in charge of the battalion stretcher bearers during a very trying time, as in nearly every case the wounded had to be evacuated over exposed ground and under fire.

Owing to the fact that the Commanding Officer, Adjutant, Sergeant Major and the Company Commander were all wounded at this juncture the recommendations for gallantry etc. for the Portsmouth battalion were much delayed. The Brigadier General Commanding the Royal Navy Division at the time, however, considers this man should be awarded the Victoria Cross. London Gazette _ 22nd June 1917

Severely wounded during the operation Parker was eventually invalided from the service in june 1916. Beside his VC he was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War and Victory Medals and a war gratuity of œ10. The men of the Division presented him with an inscribed marble and gilt clock.He never fully recovered from his injuries and died, aged 55, at Stapleford, on 28th November 1936 and was buried in Stapleford cemetery. A Memorial Service, in his honour, is held annually at St Helens Church Stapleford on the Sunday nearest 30th April by the local RMA.

Further information about Walter Parker can be found here >

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