William Riley's Story.
William Riley Parkinson was born in the September Quarter of 1898 and his birth was registered in Chester (Volume: 8a Page: 453) I believe that his parents Samuel Parkinson and Mary Ann Massey had married in the March Quarter of 1891 at St. Paul’s Church, Chester.
The census of 1891 records that they began their married life at 1, West View, Saltney, in the household of Mary Makin and her two children. She was a widow and Dressmaker, taking in Boarders. Samuel was 20, a Railway Engine Stoker. He and Mary, 24, had both been born in Chester.
By the 1901 census they were living at 86, Ewart St., Mold Junction, Saltney. Samuel, 30 was a Railway Engine Driver he and his wife Mary A had a family. Their listed children were Agnes A 9, Alice 8, Mary 6, William R 2 and Edith age 6 months. There were 2 boarders, Robert E. Birch, 23, a Railway Goods Guard, with his wife Margaret, 24.
The 1911 census sees them all living at 70, Ewart Street, Mold Junction,Saltney. Samuel, 41 was still a Locomotive Engine Driver. His wife of 20 years, Mary Ann was 44. She had given birth to 10 children, all of whom were still living. Those listed were Mary 16, Gladys 14, William R 12, Edith 10, Evelyn, 8, Frederick, 4 and Elizabeth, 1.
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms William’s regimental details as above tells us that his birth place was Mold, Flintshire. ( I suspect this was meant to be Mold Junction, Saltney, Flintshire). He enlisted in Chester. His medal card also on ‘Ancestry’, tells us that he was awarded the Victory & British War Medals.
His Army Service Records have survived and are on ‘Ancestry’. Some pages are very faded but we can glean some of his story.
He attested and was embodied into the Cheshire Regiment on the 22nd May 1915. His address was written as 70 ‘Hewit’ Street Mold Junction. (Should have been Ewart Street). His occupation was general Labourer at the Loco Department at Mold Junction, Flintshire. He was allocated the number 3905. He signed the army conditions of service form which included agreeing to serve outside the UK if called upon. His mother was named as his next of kin.
He was medically examined on the same day and the report tells us he was 19 years and 2 months old, was 5 feet 6 1/2 inches tall. His chest measured 34 inches with a 2 inch range of expansion. His physical development was good and his vision was good.
Colourful Conduct Forms show that he gave the army quite a lot of trouble throughout 1915, 1916 and 1917. His list of offences included being absent from tattoo, striking a Comrade, Not complying with an order, Creating a disturbance in billet, Hesitating to obey an order, Being in illegal possession of Government rations, Giving food to an unauthorised person, Being absent off defaulter’s roll call and not Complying with an order. For these offences he was generally punished by being confined to barracks or being deprived of pay.
His army career was a little chequered to say the least. He was employed by the Garrison Military Police for a period and was appointed to unpaid Lance Corporal but then he reverted to the role of Rifleman upon ‘ceasing to be employed’ with the Garrison MP.
There is a letter from his concerned mother in the records. There is no date and no evidence of a reply.
Would you mind letting me know what sickness it is that No.3905 Private Parkinson, ?? 5th Cheshire Regiments has got and if it is anything serious as his mother is very anxious about him could you let me know by return of post and oblige.
The records don’t really explain where he was posted to but we know he was posted in September 1917 and that he seems to have been attached to the South Wales Borderers at that point . Presumably it was France because he was killed in action there on the 25th November 1917. He had served a total of 2 years and 189 days.
There is correspondence in the Records between the army and his mother concerning William’s personal effects (Seems to have comprised of his ID Disc) and the receipt of a commemorative plaque and scroll and his medals.
William’s mother completed a form for the army in July 1919 on which she listed his living relatives. It’s very faded but I believe this is what it says.
Father – None.
Mother – Mary Ann PARKINSON
Brothers Frederick PARKINSON age 12 yrs and Laurence? PARKINSON age 6 years
Sisters Agnes WAKEFIELD age 28, 52 Walter St., Manchester?
Alice PARKINSON age 26 70, Ewart St. Saltney
Pollie EDWARDS age 24 19? George St., Chester
Gladys PARKINSON age 22 ( I cannot make out the other addresses, but they don’t look all the same and do not look like William’s home address, 70, Ewart St.)
Edith PARKINSON age 18
Eva PARKINSON age 16
Ann M.? PARKINSON age 14
Elizabeth PARKINSON age 9
The Declaration was signed at St. Mathew’s Vestry on the 4th of July 1919 by Mrs. Mary Ann PARKINSON and witnessed by J.P.NILLY?, Clerk in Holy Orders, St. Mark’s Vicarage, Chester.
There is an index card for William in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County record office in Hawarden. (Cards Saltney Ferry F 25) . It was probably filled in by the E.L. Roberts, who, I think was the man given the task of distributing and collecting the cards in the Saltney Ferry area. He certainly signed it. He stated that William was Killed in Action on the 27th November 1917, but the official papers all give the date of the 25th November. The card says that his period of service was 2 years.
William is remembered on the Plaque that was formerly sited in St. Mathew’s Church in Saltney Ferry (which was as destroyed by fire in 2008), are now in St Mark’s Church in High Street, Saltney.
Researched and compiled by Mavis Williams.