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John Ernest Parkinson (known in the family as Ernest) was born in Bamber Bridge in June 1894.  His father was Henry Rawcliffe Parkinson (b. 1867 in Kirkham), who was a manager of a Cooperative Store.  His mother was Mary Jane Yates (b. 1867 in Walton Le Dale).  Henry and Mary Jane were married in 1888 and they had 4 children: Thomas Herbert (b. 1889), John Ernest (same name, a brother born in 1892 but died within the year), then John Ernest, and Ethel (b. 1897).  Mary Jane died shortly after Ethel was born, perhaps as a result of complications.  Henry remarried in 1901 to Margery Jane Sparling (b. 1877 in Bamber Bridge) and in 1905, they had a daughter, Margery.  But Margery Jane died in 1905, again possibly as a result of complications in childbirth, and later that year Henry married for a 3rd time, to Esther Blackburn (b. 1865 in Penwortham).

In 1911 Ernest was living with his father and second step-mother and three siblings at 194 Station Road, Bamber Bridge.  Ernest at the time was working as an assistant warehouse man in a mill but he would soon start to work for the Yorks and Lancs Railway in Lostock Hall, first as an engine cleaner and then as a fireman.

Ernest enlisted on 1 September 1914 and was assigned service number 12782 and posted to 7Bn of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (which Bn included the Preston Pals).  He was 5’ 5½” tall and weighed 105lbs.  He landed with his Battalion in France on 17 July 1915.  The last significant action of the 7Bn in 1916 was near Aveluy on the River Ancre, from 13-17 November and it was almost certainly during this action that Ernest showed the bravery (described in the article) for which he was awarded the Military Medal.  After this point, the major fighting on the Somme was over, but the weather and conditions for the troops deteriorated badly.  The War Diary for that month complains that 128 men from the battalion had had no leave since July 1915 (when they arrived in France), and 160 had had no leave for over a year.  Ernest’s health took the toll as his record shows that on 20 November 1916 he was briefly in a field hospital suffering from laryngitis, but on 2 December he was evacuated back to England suffering from shell shock.

He rejoined his company on 18 December and was actually awarded his MM by his commanding officer on Christmas Eve 1916 but it seems his general health did not recover.  In early June 1917 he was transferred first to the reserve then on 16 June 1917, to the Labour Corps, with a new service number 241136, and assigned to 436 Agricultural Company.   On 29 July 1918, Ernest was back in Bamber Bridge and signed off as suffering from DAH (Disorderly Action of the Heart) and nerve tension.  However, he attempted to re-enlist in the Loyals in May 1919.  I have no further information as to whether he was accepted back into the Loyals or not, or what happened to him after that.

Bill Brierley

Bill Brierley

Before taking early retirement in 2007 and returning to his native Lancashire in 2009, Bill Brierley was head of the School of Languages and Area Studies at the University of Portsmouth.Bill has researched his own family history and has developed a further interest in World War 1 especially as it impacted on the villages of Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge, where his family originates from.Bill has also displayed his work at Lostock Hall library and contributed to other displays at Leyland Library and South Ribble Museum.
Bill Brierley

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