Regiment : 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
Service number : 9578
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : 28th May 1915 aged 27
Buried : Stourbridge (Lye and Wollescote) Cemetery, Worcestershire, England, Grave K. B. 48.
Relatives : Son of Lucy Brettle, 49 Park St., Wollescote, Lye, and William Brettle (stepfather)
Memorial : Wollescote School
Also appears on : Lye Christ Church Window. Lye and Wollescote War Memorial.
Credits : Memorial transcribed by John Hale. Researched by The Black Country Society.
John Parkes was the son of Lucy Parkes (later Brettle of 49 Park Road, Wollaston) and he attended Wollescote school. He was a regular soldier in the Worcesters who had served in the 2nd Battalion. After joining his battalion from the Reserve in August 1914 he was probably involved in the Retreat from Mons, the Battle of the Aisne and the First Battle of Ypres. In the Spring of 1915 the Worcesters took part in the attacks in Artois. The second battle at Festubert opened on the 15th May and at some point Private John Parkes was wounded. He was sent home for recovery but died on the 28th May.
The following extract is taken from the WW1 Commemorative Book, ‘The Lost Twenty Nine’ by Jean Weston and Marlene Price and is courtesy and copyright of West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust 2014:
The funeral of Private John Parkes was the first public and military funeral to be held at the Cemetery and almost the whole population of Lye and Wollescote, along with large numbers of people from neighbouring parishes, turned out to see him laid to rest.
John Parkes was born in 1887, the eldest son of Lucy Parkes who later became Lucy Brettle. In October 1905 at the age of eighteen John Parkes enlisted at Dudley in the 6th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. He served in South Africa and, on completing his regular service with the Colours, returned home as a Reservist and was employed at Messrs. Eveson Bros in Lye. On mobilisation of the reserves in August of 1914, Private Parkes rejoined the Worcestershire Regiment, this time serving in the 2nd Battalion, and went to France with the first Expeditionary Force.
On the night of 15th May 1915, Private Parkes fell with his leg shattered by a gunshot wound. He was taken to the base hospital where his left leg was amputated, following which he returned to England and was admitted to Birmingham University Military Hospital where he died on 28th May.
Greater detail on Private John Parkes, his family, his military service including an extract from the last letter he wrote home can be found in The Lost Twenty Nine, available to purchase from from the authors, Waterstones and W.H. Smith at Merry Hill Shopping Centre, Ashwood Nurseries and The Black Country Museum.