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Charles Edward Parkinson was born in Preston on the 22nd December 1894 the son of James and Jane Parkinson (nee Cragg). His parents married at Emmanuel Church in Preston on the 4th  December, 1889 and Charles Edward was one of eight siblings, the others being Emily (1891), Dorothy (1892), Enoch Southworth (1893), Walter (1899), James (1901), Frank (1905) and Alan (1907). In 1901 the family home was at 100 Friargate in Preston where Charles` father was a butcher by trade and his mother was a clothes dealer. Charles initially attended St. Matthew`s Church of England School; 2/4/1906 – 23/12/1908 and then on the 20th January 1909 he enrolled at Preston Grammar School, leaving on the 20th December 1910 to work as an apprentice hosier with Messrs. Lawson & Sons on Fishergate in Preston.

When the 1911 Census was recorded Charles was living at home with his parents and seven siblings at their new address of 13 Balfour Road, Preston. Charles`s father was no longer a butcher and was now a clothing dealer (employer) and Charles was working as a hosiery shop assistant, his brother Enoch was assisting his father in the family business and his sister Dorothy was employed as a school teacher in a local council school.

Charles enlisted at Preston on the 7th September 1914 agreeing to serve a term of 3 years with the Colours. His medical inspection report describes him as being 5`4” tall with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. He weighed 110lbs and had a chest measurement of 34”. Charles was allocated the service number 13097 and posted to the 7th Battalion “D” Coy” (Preston Pals) of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

“D” Company, 7th Battalion LNL in training at Tidworth – photo dated 21st November 1914

On the 17 July, 1915 the 7th Battalion embarked for France, coming under the Command of 56th Brigade of the 19th Division. After landing the Battalion spent a fairly quiet period where the men received intensive instruction in all forms of trench warfare, employment of trench weapons and instruction in the use of trench mortars and gas helmets.

According to his service record Charles was wounded in action on the 4th July, 1916 when the Battalion was in action at La Boisselle on the Somme. He was admitted to 70 Field Ambulance with a gunshot wound to his right foot and then later despatched to 13 General Hospital in Boulogne. By the 6th July he had been transferred to the `HS St. Denis` for the journey back to England for further treatment. After landing in England Charles was sent North up to Wharncliffe War Hospital in Sheffield where he spent 68 days recovering from his wounds. He was discharged from hospital on the 12th September 1916 and then had a two week furlough, presumably returning to his home in Preston.

On 22 September, 1916 after returning from leave Charles was posted to the 3rd Reserve Battalion where he would have received further training in readiness for his return to the front. He embarked for France for the second time on the 2nd February 1917, sailing from Folkestone to Boulogne. On the 20th February, 1917 he was despatched to a training camp where he spent eight days with the 1st Battalion LNL and then on the 1st March he was posted to the 1/5th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Sadly, just four months later Charles was posted missing on the 31st July 1917 at the start of the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) and it was later confirmed that he had died on this date. His papers record that his burial was reported by the XIX Corps Burial Officer on the 17 August, 1917.

Charles` family were informed and then the following article appeared in the Preston Guardian in September 1917.

The only personal effects sent back to Charles` family was a purse and his Identity Disc, the items signed for by his mother Jane. After the war his mother also took receipt of her sons` 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals and she would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

Although his burial was reported on in his service papers his burial place was never discovered and so Charles` name was added to the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the Missing. He is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum in Preston and his name was added to the Preston Grammar School Roll of Honour displayed in St. John`s Parish Church in Preston (pictured below).

Preston Grammar School Roll of Honour – St. John`s Parish Church, Preston

Rank: Private
Service No: 13097
Date of Death: 31/07/1917
Age: 22
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.

Additional Family Information

The elder brother referred to in the newspaper article was 202001 Private Enoch Parkinson, initially 2/4th LNL Battalion and then later 15th Battalion LNL. Enoch survived the war and was awarded the British War and Victory Medals. In 1922 he married Martha Louise Melling in Preston. Enoch died on the 29th January 1982 in the nursing home of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 228 Garstang Road, Fulwood in Preston.

Janet Davis
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