Name: James Dowell Parkin
DoB: March 11 1895
Regt: 2nd Lieut., Durham L.I., 1917, attached Wilts. Regt.
DoD: Died of wounds received near Beuffignereux, France, Mar. 31, 1918. Other sources report death as May27 1918.*
Academic Career: CGS 1907-10 County Council Minor Scholar. George Moore Scholar.
Biographical Information: son of Richard Parkin, 74 Goodwin Terrace.
Parents Richard (born West Ward) and Mary (born Wigton). Richard was an elementary school teacher. James had two older sisters, Mary and Jane – the latter working as a student teacher in 1911. 1911 living at 74 Blackwell Road. 1901 Census, younger sister Edith Annie, recorded, but she died in 1910. Richard’s mother Jane, a needlewoman, was recorded as married but head of the family in 1861 and 1871 census.
James won a scholarship to the grammar school. He attended CGS from 1907 to 1910. In the school Christmas concert of 1908 he sang a solo ‘Where the bee sucks’,Ariel’s song, from William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” .
2nd Lieut., Durham L.I., 1917, attached Wilts. Regt.
*CGS Memorial Register reports he died of wounds received near Beuffignereux,France, Mar 31, 1918. This is perhaps not entirely accurate. The Probate Document on Ancestry reports he died May 27 1918 leaving his effects (£43 5s 5d) to his father. If it was the latter date then there was fierce fighting in the area nechar Soissons (James is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial) on May 27 (the Battle of the Aisne) in which the 1st Wiltshire Battalion, as part of the 25th Division (7th Brigade) was involved. The place of death appears to be Bouffignereux (an ‘o’, not an ‘e’) which is a small village some 2.2 miles due west of Cormicy or 3.2 miles south-west of Berry-au-Bac in the area of the 3rd Battle of the Aisne of May 1918. The 19th (Western Division) which also comprised of the 6th Battalion Wiltshires was also involved in this Battle.
The Wiltshires War Diary states that the enemy started a heavy gas bombardment at 1am which lasted until 5am. At 7.30am the Wiltshires advanced; held the line; and advanced again at 10.15am. The line held from 11.30am until 3.30pm, despite being under continuous gun fire. Messages were sent back and forth to the commanding officers behind the lines. At 5.30pm the enemy launched a counter attack with a superior force and the battalion was compelled to retire, the troops splitting up into smaller parties as they retreated. The retreat continued the following day. Many men died that day.
Durham Light Infantry attached Wiltshire Regiment.
a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
b) Census: 1911 RG14/31315; 1901 RG13/ 4865; 1871 RG10/5233; 1861 RG 9/3926;
c) www.ancestry,co,ok Probate records
d) FreeBMD Death Index 1837-1915
e) War Diary Wiltshire Regiment WO95/2243/3