Saltaire Village, World Heritage Site
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Second Boar War

 

 

 

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The Second Boar War
Parker, Emmanuel
1875 – 18 August 1921

Emmanuel Parker was the son of Thomas Rushworth Parker.
Thomas was born 1834 in Kettlesing (near Harrogate). He married Elizabeth Blythe, eight years younger than him, 25 December 1864, at Bradford Cathedral. They had a daughter, Frances Mary Eveline, born 1866. By 1871 they were living at 23 Mary Street in Saltaire (next door to Elizabeth’s parents). Thomas was working as a weaver. By 1881 they were living at 23 Shirley Street in Saltaire, where they remained until they died, with Thomas working as a draper assisted by his children. Thomas died 21 January 1900 and he was buried at Nab Wood Cemetery in Shipley. His widow was buried alongside him when she died, 19 February 1925. Frances never married and she joined her parents when she died, 1 March 1942.

Emmanuel was born 1875 in Saltaire. In 1891 he was assisting his father in his drapery business. Emmanuel joined the army, 28 April 1893. He served with The Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) and he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant before he was discharged, 1 May 1920. He saw action in both the Second Boer War and the First World War serving in South Africa, India, France and the Persian Gulf, and he was injured on more than one occasion. In December 1901 he was mentioned in despatches for distinguished conduct in the field.

Whilst serving in India Emmanuel married Elizabeth Georgina Burgess (born Inverness, Scotland 1873). They had four daughters all born in India:-
Evelyn Elizabeth (born 5 December 1903)
Norma Elaine (23 April 1905)
Nelly (16 October 1906)
Kathleen (16 March 1908)

Sadly Emmanuel died 18 August 1921, less than a year after leaving the army. He was buried in Nab Wood Cemetery, Shipley alongside his father. His widow, Elizabeth, was living at 78 Grosvenor Road, Shipley, when she died 21 November 1952.

Shipley Times and Express – Saturday 27 January 1900
A SALTAIRE SOLDIER AT THE FRONT
WOUNDED AT MAGERSFONTEIN
RECOVERS AND REJOINS HIS REGIMENT
The following letters have been received from Sergeant E Parker, of Saltaire, who is attached to the 42nd (“Black Watch”) B Company. The first arrived on the 17th and the second on the 22nd instants.
Considerable uneasiness was felt when the name of Sergeant Parker appeared among the wounded after Magersfontein, but fortunately his wound was not serious, and by this time he has in all probability re-joined his regiment.

Orange River, 10 a.m. 20 December 1899

Dear Parents and Sister, - Our force, under Lord Methuen, is at Modder River, about 50 miles further north; but, I, along with others who have been wounded, have been sent here until we get better, out of the way of the Boer bullets. We had a big battle at Magersfontein on the 11th December (Monday). It commenced at 4 a.m. and went on all day. We could not get near enough to take the position at the bayonet’s point. Our force suffered heavily. The Highland Brigade got the worst of it by far, as you will see by the papers. General Wauchope was killed, and six officers of the Black Watch, or about half of my company, being left. I was wounded, but I am glad to say it was only a flesh wound through the back of hip. I am almost better now, and I have only had ten days’ rest.

The position we attacked is not taken yet. The Boers are holding on to it, for it is their last strong position between here and the diamond mines of Kimberley. We, that is, our forces at the front, are only 20 miles from Kimberley, so I suppose there will be a grand triumphal march into that place one of these days. We get almost anything we want in the hospital here – cigarettes, jam, apricots, etc., all sent us by the people in Britain and elsewhere. The principal hospital is at Wynberg – all the bad cases are sent there – and is about 600 miles from here.

I got your box and letter this morning, and am smoking some of your tobacco at the present moment, and have the tam o’ shanter on my head. The weather here is very hot during the day and cold during the night. There have been a lot of men in the hospital with sunstroke. There will be no more fighting for about a month – there are a lot more troops coming out and we are waiting for them. I am lucky to escape with a slight wound, when I see some of the poor fellows, maimed and disfigured for life, who have gone to Wynberg. Everyone here seems cheerful. There are about 40 Boer wounded prisoners here. One of them fought at Majuba Hill.

Orange River, 9 a.m. 29 December 1899

I am almost ready to re-join my regiment again at the front, for my wound is almost better, gives me little or no trouble. We are expecting Lord Roberts have shortly. His son was killed in Natal a few days ago, so I suppose he will try to give the Boers a severe dusting.

There has been no other battle here; everything is quiet for Christmas. Our fellows at Medder River are entrenching round the enemy’s position, for it is too strong for infantry to take in the ordinary way, for we are fully exposed to their fire for two miles before we can get to close quarters, so they are going to make a siege of it – I believe another Sebastopol – working nearer each night, and when the enemy look next morning they will find us a hundred years nearer. The Boers are entrenched for six miles, so you can imagine the strength of the position. We are waiting for another division to come up this way – what we want is more artillery and cavalry. There are two infantry regiments here – the Cornwall Light Infantry and Shropshire Light Infantry. The Scots Greys, the famous cavalry regiment, is here, and there is a battery of artillery.

I cannot say that I have enjoyed myself much this Christmas, for, as your Christmas card sent to me says, memory of bygone Christmastides when I have not enjoyed myself very much, is different to being in a tent, wounded; but under the circumstances I have not done badly, for we have cards, and many a game of whist I have played. We get an awful lot of things from the good people – fruit, jams, milk, sponge cake, etc.

Sunday and Monday, the 24th and 25th, were two awfully hot days. I laid in my tent with my hospital clothes on, which are very thin, and with my sleeves rolled up, and even then I perspired. I suppose there will be skating at home just now. If you had been this morning you would have seen hundreds of millions of locusts. They are of a light colour, and look very pretty in the sun. They did not alight here, for there is no cultivation, and they like a nice green, fertile spot. They went to Kimberley.

We got a pound box of tobacco given to us at Christmas. I have nothing else to do but eat, sleep, and smoke, play cards, draughts, read papers, etc. I don’t leave my tent much during the day, for it is too hot, but in the evening I stretch myself and take a short walk.

When we are better we are marched out of hospital, and continue down here for a week to get stronger, then we are sent up to the front again. I expect to be up there in another fortnight. You wish me luck? Well, that is the only thing here to pull one through, for the bullets fly about in rather large numbers.

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