18982 PTE. J. PARKER. K.L.R.
John Parker was born in the first quarter of 1887 in Higher Walton. His parents were John Parker (b. 1839 in Walton Le Dale) and Mary Ann Westby (b. 1845 in Higher Walton). Westby was Mary Ann’s married name from her first marriage, by which she had 3 children. She married John Parker at All Saints Church, Higher Walton on 27 January 1883 and they went on to have three children together: Margaret Hannah (b. 1884), John and Nathaniel (b. 1889). John Parker Snr died in 1905.
John Parker is listed on the Lostock Hall War Memorial, but it’s not clear when he moved to the village or where he lived, but it must have been after 1911. John was a cotton weaver so he would have moved to work in one of the mills. He enlisted with the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) at the outset of the War and was posted to 14 Battalion. He embarked with 14Bn for France, arriving on 4 September 1915. This Battalion formed part of the 65th Brigade in the 22nd Division. Soon after their arrival in France, however, the Division was moved to Salonika (modern-day Thessaloniki) in northern Greece.
In October 1915 a combined Franco-British force of some two large brigades was landed at Salonika at the request of the Greek Prime Minister. The objective was to help the Serbs in their fight against Bulgarian aggression, but the expedition arrived too late, the Serbs having been beaten before they landed. Nevertheless, it was decided to keep the force in place for future operations, even against Greek opposition (some elements of the Greek government supported the Germans). The troops spent the early months of 1916 reinforcing the defences along the border with miles and miles of barbed wire. The Salonika Force dug-in until the summer of 1916, by which time the international force had been reinforced and joined by Serbian, Russian and Italian units. A Bulgarian attempted invasion of Greece in July was repulsed near Lake Doiran. (The map shows the front in 1916.)
According to his military records, John died of pneumonia on 25 October 1916. He was 29 years old. He is buried at Salonika, Lembet Road Anglo-French Cemetery. His mother died shortly after, in December 1916. John’s effects (£12 12s 10d) and War Gratuity (£9) were forwarded to his executor, Richard H Batty.
Service No: 18982
Date of Death: 25/10/1916
Regiment/Service: The King's (Liverpool Regiment), 14th Bn.
Grave Reference: 627.
Cemetery: SALONIKA (LEMBET ROAD) MILITARY CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of John and Mary Ann Parker, of Higher
Walton, Preston, Lancs
John’s brother Nathaniel joined the West Lancs Brigade of the Royal
Field Artillery, and was Driver 681006. Nathaniel married Martha Margison
in 1917 and they had a daughter Gladys. Some time after the War the
family moved to Derby where Nathaniel died in 1953.