Sergeant Charles Parker VC

Charles Edward Haydon Parker was born in Birmingham on 10 Mar 1870. His family had a long tradition of army service and his father, George Parker, was a veteran of the Crimean War. He entered the army as a gunner in the RHA in Feb 1885. He served in India from 1889 to 1895 and in South Africa throughout the Boer War. It was at Koorn Spruit on 31 Mar 1900 that he and the officers and men of Q Battery RHA distinguished themselves when they withdrew four of the guns, without the help of horses, from a dangerous situation and made many attempts to retrieve some abandoned limbers and a fifth gun. This was particularly hard and hazardous work for which the whole battery and some other men were highly praised by Lord Roberts, himself a former gunner and VC winner. Roberts regarded every man to be worthy of the VC but made the extraordinary decision to confine the awards to 4 men and let their comrades decide among themselves who should receive the medal. Of the two unwounded officers Major Phipps-Hornby and Captain Humphreys decided on the former. Sgt Parker was chosen by his fellow NCOs, and Gunner Lodge and Driver Glassock were chosen by the other ranks. Sergeant Charles Parker also served throughout the First World War, reaching the rank of Battery Sergeant-Major, and died of wounds on 5 December 1918. He was buried in Coventry Cemetery. He had two children and his descendants now live in Australia. Many of the details of Sergeant Parker’s life and service are gleaned from The Australian Boer War Memorial, particularly the contribution by Katrina Lynch, great great granddaughter of Sgt Parker, who lives in Brisbane, Queensland.

Regimental Details | Soldiers

Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames

by Stephen Luscombe