Soldier switched regiments and died in Belgium

George Charles Parker and his "death penny" and the letter sent from King George

The 38-year-old Somerset-born man had joined up with the Monmouthshire Regiment, but due to huge losses, soldiers from different depleted regiments found themselves transferred to others to make up the numbers.

This is what happened to 11 men out of 26 who died alongside George that day at Lys in Flanders. They were defending a small hill, Kemmel, a strategic viewpoint above marshland, and faced a German offensive which was different to those previously experienced. There were no big guns to start with but a "surprise" lightly armed attack which caught the British unawares. It signalled the start of some fierce battles over the next few months, with hand to hand fighting. It is likely George was buried by the Germans before being re-buried later after British advances.

As to his family history, he was born in 1880 in Bridgewater, a stableman, son of George and Elizabeth Parker; he was husband to Sarah Ann Parker, of 63 Kent St., Grangetown, Cardiff. They married in 1902, by 1911, they had three young children. His brother Ernest, serving with the Somerset Light Infantry, died in India in October 1918

Thanks to David Thompson

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