Alfred Hazelby Parkin

royal garrison artillery badgeGunner 346226, 261st Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, killed in action, 16th December 1917, aged 36

Born at Eastoft on 25th September 1881, Alfred was one of nine children of William and Elizabeth Parkin (nee Hague). His mother was from Eastoft and his father from Crowle. Formerly a traction engine driver, his father was running a small farm in Windsor in 1901, whilst Alfred and his younger brother Walter worked as labourers on the Peat Moors.

On 12 June 1910 Alfred married Annie Eliza Allen. The wedding appears to have taken place in Crowle, although Annie was from Darfield near Barnsley. The couple lived on Commonside and went on to have four children. In 1911 Alfred was working as a platelayer on the Grand Central Railway.

Although Alfred’s army record has not survived much can be deduced about his early service from his service number and the fact his name appears on the Scottish National Roll of Honour in Edinburgh Castle. He attested for the army at Crowle sometime after September 1916 and was mobilised around October 1916, reporting to No. 4 Depot, Clipstone Camp, Mansfield. From Clipston it seems he was posted for initial training to the Forth (City of Edinburgh) Fortress Royal Garrison Artillery, a Territorial Force unit based in the Edinburgh area.

After completing his training Alfred was probably then posted to 373rd Siege Battery RGA which was formed at Prees Heath, Shropshire, on the 12th February 1917 where he would have served with William Oughtibridge. The battery left Folkestone on the 26th June 1917 and disembarked the same day at Bolougne. They saw very little action as the battery was broken up around 9th July 1917 with Alfred and William both among the section posted to 261st Siege Battery RGA.

On 16th December 1917, Alfred was with the 261st Siege Battery on the outskirts on Vaulx when they came under an enemy artillery bombardment. A high explosive shell exploded within a few yards of Alfred causing him extensive injuries. Within a short while Alfred Parkin had died of those injuries. He is buried in Vaulx Australian Field Ambulance Cemetery.

The officer in charge of Alfred’s section, Captain Stones, wrote to his widow:
‘It is a terrible blow and your only solace can be that he has given his life for his country. No one wishes more than all of us for a speedy end to this bloodshed’.

With four children to support, Annie remarried in 1922. This probably accounts for the note written that year on the reverse of his medal card asking for permission to dispose of his medals, as there was no-one to send them too.

Alfred is commemorated on the plaque to former members of the congregation and Sunday School in Crowle Methodist Chapel.